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environment’ terms.

The genesis of WICE, on the other hand, lies in the In- ternational Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which boasts more than 7000 member companies in over 130 countries. In 1990 an ICC Working Party for Sustainable Develop- ment, led by Peter Scupholme of British Petroleum and W. Ross Stevens III of Du Pont, produced a Business Charter for Sustainable Development. This Charter was launched in 1991 at the Second World Industry Conference on En- vironmental Management at Rotterdam, and was followed soon afterwards by the report From Ideas to Action, which also outlined cases of positive industry response to envi- ronmental issues.8 In 1993 the ICC reconfigured its Envi- ronmental Bureau into an expanded WICE to serve as an industry voice in the follow-up to UNCED. The Charter’s 16 principles—ranging from recognizing environmental management as a corporate priority to affirming the pre- cautionary principle—became the guiding foundation for WICE.9

Each of the two parents had already established itself as a credible representative of international business on issues of the environment. The BCSD had been a forceful pres- ence at UNCED and had begun to develop links with in- ternational NGOs and governments. The ICC, which had long and deep relationships with international business federations and IGOs, ensured an equally prominent po- sition for WICE. The high degree of similarity in goals, overlap in membership, and complementarity in concep- tual principles led to their merger into a single entity, the WBCSD, which immediately became the most authorita-

Box 1: The WBCSD Story


The World Industry Council for Environment (WICE) is founded as an initiative of the In- ternational Chamber of Commerce (ICC).


A number of regional and national BCSDs are formed. BCSD sets up a Sustainable Project Management in partnership with UNDP.


The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is created through a merger of BCSD and WICE.


WBCSD, UNEP, and the Ceres Initiative launch programme on financial indicators of sustainable development. Financing Change is published.

WBCSD launches its International Business Action Plan on Climate Change (IBAPCC).

The Foundation for Business and Sustainable Development (FBSD) is established.


WBCSD co-hosts a high-level round table of government, NGO, and business leaders on business and environment as part of the Rio+5 celebrations. WBCSD releases its report on the progress since Rio, Signals of Change. It also releases a new book, Eco-Efficiency, and a re- port on Environmental Performance and Shareholder Value.

WBCSD launches the Sustainable Business Challenge, an Internet-based environmental exam for students preparing for careers in business, finance, and government.


UNCED Secretary-General Maurice Strong asks the industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny to be his advisor on business and environment. This leads to the creation of the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD).


The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) develops a Business Charter for Sustain- able Development, which is launched in April 1991 at the Second World Industry Confer- ence on Environmental Management in Rot- terdam.


BCSD represents business at the Rio Earth Summit (UNCED) and releases its report Changing Course: A Global Business Perspec- tive on Development and the Environment.

ICC releases its report From Ideas to Action.


WBCSD signs a memorandum of understand- ing with UNDP to improve environmental performance of companies in developing countries.

The WBCSD Virtual University is founded in collaboration with the University of Cam- bridge and the Norwegian School of Manage- ment. The Sustainable Business Challenge is published.

WBCSD holds a series of Stakeholder Dia- logues on Sustainable Consumption, Corpo- rate Social Responsibility, and Sustainable Business.

WBCSD releases its Survey on Corporate En- vironmental Reports and the results of its Glo- bal Scenarios project.



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