The Chinese coronavirus pandemic is “just a fire drill” for what is likely to follow from the climate crisis
“The overall problem is that we are not sustainable in the ways we are living and producing on the planet today,” said Lise Kingo, the executive director of the UN Global Compact, under which businesses sign up to principles of environmental protection and social justice. “The only way forward is to create a world that leaves no one behind.”
“We have seen illustrated to everyone that social inequality issues are part of the sustainable development agenda,” Kingo said.
Kingo ties Black Lives Matters protests and outrage to global warming.
Human rights were “inseparable” from dealing with climate breakdown, she told the Guardian in an interview. “This horrible racism [seen in the killing of George Floyd] is about human rights. We have to make sure that we give the social part of the agenda equal focus.”
Protesters were encouraged to join the fight against global warming, linking the movements together.
“We want all chief executives to become social activists – to understand social equality,” she said. Not only was this the right thing to do, but “it creates stable markets for companies around the world” and reflects the desires of young people.
“Young people are so engaged, so dedicated to this agenda, they don’t want to work for companies that do not have a solid responsibility strategy,” she said.
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Kingo is not alone, UN secretary general, António Guterres, said building a fairer society would be essential to the world’s health, as well as to saving the planet from climate breakdown and ecological destruction.
“Today, the fabric of society and the wellbeing of people hinge on our ability to build a fair globalisation,” Guterres told the two-day UN Global Compact virtual conference of business leaders, which started on Monday.
“Where once ‘do no harm’ was a common approach for the business community, today we are arriving at a new landscape of elevated expectations and responsibilities. But despite progress, serious threats would undermine our future, including climate change, poverty, loss of biodiversity and widening social inequalities. The pandemic has underscored the world’s fragilities, which extend far beyond the realm of global health.”
“The human community is completely interconnected and interdependent,” Kingo said. “Without solidarity, especially with those most vulnerable among us, we all lose. We are paying the price for turning a blind eye to obvious injustices in the world.”