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Bjorn Stigson

Bjorn Stigson: Long term profits drive 200 CEOs to sustainable development

Bjorn Stigson talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR

Written by Mary-Clare Liening

Bijorn Stigson is the president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a council of about 200 companies that are committed to sustainable global development.

“We are not a philanthropic organization; we are a business organization.  We are not a lobbying organization, we are a business advocate,” says Stigson.  “If we cannot help society to find solutions, we will suffer as global companies, and its finding what we can do…and how we create the sustainable world together, that’s what it’s all about.”

According to Stigson, there is expected to be a third more people on Earth in only 40 years, the majority in developing countries.  With so much global change, the organization aims to help businesses to adapt accordingly.
“If you look at the situation for global companies, if we cannot find solutions that work for this, we will have an unstable situation in the world, and we’re saying, we cannot succeed as a business in a society that fails.  The big question we have to ask ourselves is what is it that we can do, and must do, to help move the world in a sustainable direction,” says Stigson.
Moving the world in a sustainable direction is quite an undertaking when the countries involved have a wide array of needs and priorities.

“What we’re trying to always point out is where we get outside the comfort zone is when vulcanization becomes a real hindrance for us to do things.  But the fact that the world looks different in Japan, China, the U.S. and Europe, does not bother us, that is something that we are used to living with,” says Stigson.

With China’s recent push for sustainable activities, one may wonder what their intentions are for future development.

“China is very serious about this, and for very good business reasons.  China is driving energy efficiency because of national security concerns; they want to reduce their imports of fuel,” says Stigson.  “China is concerned about climate change because they are worried that climate change can destabilize agriculture in a number of areas in China.  That would mean social unrest and political problems.”

As far as competition among various nations, Stigson says, “I’m looking at a very interesting race, may the best man win as I say, in this green race.  But the U.S. really has to realize that China is investing a lot, and if the U.S. wants to be a winner, we have to mobilize all of your capabilities.”

Click on the arrow above to hear Stigson’s April 23 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk HeinzeGreening of the Great Lakes airs Friday evenings at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.

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