On November 15, 2011, Amy Fraenkel, the Director and Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), presented at a meeting organized by the Institute for Environmental Entrepreneurship and co-hosted by IEE partner ARUP at their San Francisco office. Ms. Fraenkel was there to engage with, and give information to, Bay Area businesses about the upcoming Rio+20 event.
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the historic 1992 Earth Summit. In light of this historic event, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) will take place in Rio de Janeiro next June. The Conference seeks to: 1) re-invigorate political support for sustainable development, 2) look back and assess the progress to date, and 3) tackle emerging issues that have reached their “tipping points” such as food security and water. The Conference is also particularly focused on the creation of a Green Economy.
Ed Church, Executive Director of IEE, and Aidan Hughes, a Principal at Arup, convened the meeting, attended by representatives from PG&E, financial services, the Sustainable Business Alliance, Sustainable Industries magazine, and others. Ms. Fraenkel was especially interested in connecting with Bay Area businesses since much innovative thinking begins in the Bay Area, and thus it is critical to include the West Coast in the discussion.
Overall, the meeting brought together a range of people engaged in sustainable business and built a potentially long-lasting connection between UNEP and Bay Area green business experts.
It was one outcome of the process begun last November when Ed chaired and IEE staffed a Working Group to give input to the Conference.