Sweden tops global responsibility health check

Sweden is a global leader for environment and social responsibility, according to a new report.

The State of Responsible Competitiveness 2007: Making Sustainability Count in Global Markets - published last week by not-for-profit organisation AccountAbility - performed 'a health check on responsible globalisation.'

The report evaluates the conduct of private and public businesses in
108 countries by examining achievements in what AccountAbility says is a 'progress report on countries' efforts in advancing competitiveness based on responsible business practices.'

Sweden ranked first in the report, followed by Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Britain. Australia came ninth followed by Canada, Germany and Holland. France finished in 17th place and the US ranked next at 18th, followed by Japan and Hong Kong.

At the bottom of the list were Bangladesh, Nepal and Chad.

The report, which includes a foreword from Al Gore, identifies what it says are major opportunities in more responsible markets in climate change, gender, human rights and anti-corruption.
AccountAbility estimates these markets will be worth at least $5 trillion by 2050.

AccountAbility CEO Dr. Simon Zadek said: "Governments have a massive role to play in reshaping global markets. If we don't act, markets will continue to damage people and the environment. The good news is that countries can compete responsibly and be successful, so long as Governments and policy makers put in place the right frameworks.
There needn't be a conflict between compassion and competitiveness."

The report indicates emerging economies like Chile, Malaysia and Rep.
of Korea perform within the top quartile, and somewhat better than a number of states that have recently joined the European Union. Among the low-income countries, Zambia and Uganda perform better than countries at comparable levels of development, while Cambodia, Morocco and Bangladesh have a lot of work to do in numerous sectors with regards to responsible competitiveness.

Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and former Commissioner for Trade for the European Commission says in his opening preface to the report:

"Until now, the debate has largely focused on what individual companies can do to enhance sustainable development goals...the role of partnerships between business, civil society and the public sector, and the contribution public policy could make to strengthening the links between corporate responsibility and competitiveness."

Dana Gornitzki



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