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4/4. Addressing environmental challenges through sustainable business practices*

The United Nations Environment Assembly

Recalling the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a global framework for regional, national and international efforts towards sustainable development,

Recognizing the commitment made under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to invest in promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development to effectively address major challenges such as growth and jobs, resources and energy efficiency, pollution and climate change, knowledge sharing, innovation and social inclusion,

Recognizing also the commitment made under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to craft policies that incentivize the creation of new technologies that incentivize research and that support innovation in developing countries,

Having considered the importance of fostering and enabling diverse local industries which create productive employment and strengthen local communities through sustainable livelihoods and the empowerment of women,

Acknowledging that sustainable business can increase productivity and technical capacity, attract investment, increase profitability along the value chain and is an innovative solution to address environmental challenges,

Noting that sustainable business development can enhance environmental sustainability while contributing to economic viability and social inclusion,

Mindful of the fact that enterprises can, through sustainable business practices, including the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources, help to achieve sustainable development,

Recognizing that women and youth play a particular role in the development of sustainable business and the need to foster incentives, planning, and policy-making that address their specific needs and challenges, in particular to support employment and business opportunities, as well as equal access to finance for women including in areas such as renewable energy and sustainable agriculture,

Recognizing also that sustainable business can enhance resource efficiency, create employment opportunities and promote sustainable manufacturing while reducing emissions and improving air quality and health,

Stressing that innovative sustainable business approaches, including but not limited to green business practices as appropriate, can contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and play a role in promoting sustainable livelihoods and contribute to the eradication of poverty,

Recognizing global, regional and national initiatives promoting sustainable business, including but not limited to green business practices, such as resource-efficient and cleaner production, SWITCH Africa Green, SwitchMed, SWITCH-Asia Programmes, among others,

1. Invites Member States to develop enabling macroeconomic and sectoral policies, that contribute to sustainable development including environmental policies and the use of lifecycle approaches, considering the administrative burden for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in order to stimulate investments in sustainable business practices;

2. Invites Member States, the international community, private sector, and other stakeholders to promote the development and strengthening of sustainable financing mechanisms, such as green bonds, to promote inclusion of sustainability in business for the uptake and upscaling of sustainable business approaches, including but not limited to green business practices as appropriate;

3. Requests the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with other UN bodies and UN partners, to continue to support the development of skills, especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, to promote sustainable production patterns, including cleaner production and industrial symbiosis in order to enhance their profitability, resource efficiency and productivity;

4. Invites Member States to create enabling conditions for policy reforms, as appropriate, innovative practices and technologies, economic instruments, investments and regional cooperation to encourage efficiency, reduce the carbon footprint and enhance sustainable manufacturing;

5. Encourages Member States, partners, private sector, research institutions, academia, and other stakeholders to intensify research and development and knowledge sharing for the uptake, upscale and replication of sustainable business practices moving towards sustainable consumption and production, such as resource efficiency, circular economy, sustainable materials management, 3Rs;

6. Requests the Executive Director, in collaboration with relevant UN entities, partners, stakeholders, and the private sector, to continue supporting countries, especially least developed countries, to collect and disseminate evidence and information on good practices to enable informed decision making, awareness, networking and knowledge sharing on green business development;

7. Also requests the Executive Director, in collaboration with relevant UN entities, partners, stakeholders and the private sector, to promote cooperation including partnerships and support incubation programs to conserve ecologically unique and biodiverse habitats while promoting sustainable livelihoods;

8. Further requests the Executive Director to develop and implement programmes that catalyze replication, upscale existing innovative solutions and technologies, and promote the uptake of sustainable business approaches, including but not limited to green business practices as appropriate;

9. Requests the Executive Director to develop guidance, tools and mechanisms to promote capacity building and awareness raising to support member states in advancing sustainable business practices, including but not limited to, through collaboration with the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns;

10. Invites the international community, regional bodies, the private sector and civil society to develop, adopt and implement effective measures to stimulate demand for sustainable products; 

11. Requests the Executive Director to report to the UN Environment Assembly at its fifth session on progress towards implementation of the present resolution.