• Date submitted: 28 Oct 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: GDF SUEZ
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Finance (4 hits),

Full Submission

GDF SUEZ?s contribution to Rio+20

As a leading company in the energy and environmental services sectors, GDF SUEZ wishes to offer all its expertise to contribute to the Rio+20 preparations. In particular, GDF SUEZ develops its businesses around a model based on responsible growth to respond to today and tomorrow?s major economic, societal and environmental challenges: meeting energy needs, ensuring the security of supply, fighting against climate change and optimising the use of natural resources. Based on this experience, GDF SUEZ would like to make the following proposals with regard to the main expectations for this Summit.


-Rio+20 deliverables should be concrete and focus on efficient and credible commitments and solutions, supported by alliances of stakeholders, including governments, business and civil society. As the business sector plays a major role in the success of the implementation of international commit-ments, it must be recognized as a key player capable of articulating and applying new and complex busi-ness models aligned with sustainable development goals.

-As business requires predictability and regulatory certainty, stable legislative contexts and market mechanisms have to be set up appropriately in order to support the sustainable business development. For GDF SUEZ, these are more specifically related to mitigating the GHG emissions through energy effi-ciency and the development of low carbon energies (e.g. natural gas) and free carbon energies (renew-able energies), circular economy, the city of tomorrow, preserving biodiversity, and, on the societal side, ensuring the access to energy for all.

-In order to promote the sustainable economical growth, new financing models will be required. Open rules, based on trade and investment, are critical enablers to achieve the objectives in the most effective and efficient way. Investment in infrastructure projects (energy, water, waste, transport) is an important instrument for the support of sustained economic growth. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) can provide effective ways to deliver infrastructure projects, to provide public services and to carry large-scale innovation as well as supporting the deployment of clean technologies.

-GDF SUEZ?s contribution to Rio +20 has been set up in accordance with the ONU guidelines.



The Rio+20 summit should constitute a unique opportunity to:

- review progress achieved and renew political commitment on the principles agreed during the re-lated previous UN summits in Stockholm (1972), Rio de Janeiro (1992) and Johannesburg (2002),

- develop a common view on remaining gaps and identify emerging challenges, and

- take concrete actions to address these gaps and challenges.

Significant progress on sustainable development issues is essential to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. Global and substantial shift of developed, emerging and developing economies towards a more responsible, fair, inclusive and low-carbon economy is essential. Indeed, these are the pillars of the ?green? growth concept. A major issue is the establishment of global governance which allows discuss-ing, and dealing with, this global concern. The implementation of sustainable development, as a human development goal, requires moving from a major item on the political and business agenda into large-scale concrete, workable and affordable solutions accessible to all. Rio+20 deliverables should be concrete and focused on efficient and credible commitments and so-lutions, supported by alliances of stakeholders, including governments, business and civil society:

1. energy efficiency, cleaner energy mix, circular economy are topics on which long-term com-mitments from all stakeholders can build a major milestone for future work on achieving sus-tainability;

2. research and innovation need to be reinforced on topics such as smart grids / networks, CCS, renewable energy, fuel cells, power storage?

3. concrete solutions to provide universal access to essential services (energy, water, mobil-ity, ...) and to reduce poverty must be embedded in workable sustainable development road-maps. Social and economic development must be a key objective on the path towards responsi-ble growth;

4. globally, our economies require more visibility, transparency and a supportive international framework for businesses and communities already engaged on the path towards workable sustainability;

5. effective, transparent and reliable market mechanisms that are capable of valuing and fi-nancing different dimensions (ecological and social externalities) of the green economy must be established to support sustainable business activities and to foster resource efficiency (in-cluding financial resources).

Rio+20 should engage stakeholders towards achieving global sustainability goals and accelerate the pace of the reorientation of our economies on the road to a greener and more responsible development model, with differentiated but shared responsibilities of mature, emerging and least developed coun-tries.


Sustainable growth roadmap

A clear, consensual, comprehensive regulatory framework should be established to shift the cur-rent economic paradigm of markets towards efficient, responsible and greener growth. Such a framework should combine several sets of regulatory incentives for smart greener investments, helping to establish an increasingly globalised and efficient carbon market as well as spurring smart and re-sponsible end-use of energy and resources.

In a context of fiscal efficiency, public spending should focus on supporting sustainable growth, without technological prejudices, notably by promoting a resource-sustainable economy and, more broadly, the circular economy. Inefficient and environmentally harmful subsidies should be abandoned in favour of promising low-carbon technologies and markets.

A greener growth should also be a responsible, socially inclusive growth. Local development, access to energy and poverty eradication programmes should combine human well-being, wealth and environ-ment protection, and economic and resource-use efficiency, with a long-term outlook.

This shift in the economic paradigm will have a positive effect on employment. Firstly, ?green jobs? spe-cifically to provide environmentally-friendly services and technologies, and secondly, jobs in any sector would indirectly be ?greened?. Therefore, the net job creation within sustainable growth strategies should remain positive. Continuous efforts in pedagogy, education and training are necessary to mobi-lise people in this direction within the public and private sectors, and in civil society.

Sustainable Development objectives

If we are to achieve a successful transition to a greener and more responsible economy, it is essential to build ambitious, comprehensive and differentiated objectives, on specific themes, shared among the business community, civil society and governments.

Possible themes might include : energy, water, food security, agriculture, sustainable cities, for-estry, biodiversity, social matters; as these are key areas for sustainable development.

With regard to the objectives, open dialogue, accountability and shared but differentiated responsibility between parties and stakeholders are key success factors. The "Energy for a Sustainable Future? report, prepared by the UN Secretary-General Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, provides interest-ing and concrete examples of objectives in the energy field that could be part of the Rio+20 agreement. E.g.: expanding energy access, scaling up efforts to increase energy efficiency and clean energy efforts to meet the climate challenge and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.


UN bodies and other Intergovernmental agencies are key players in this system. However, they need to better coordinate actions between themselves and with other external stakeholders. National and local governments, and local communities, must be involved in order to ensure synergy of policies and ac-tions and thus spur global sustainable development and integration.

The private sector must be recognized as a key player that is capable of articulating and imple-menting new and complex business models aligned with sustainable development goals. The pri-vate sector can make a substantial contribution in the design and implementation of actions by UNCSD and other UN entities if it is formally involved.

Informing, educating and involving the civil society in the definition and implementation of sustainabil-ity goals is key: changing consumer patterns, developing new solidarity mechanisms or making educa-tion the centrepiece in the global shift towards greener and more responsible societies. Individual re-sponsibility plays a major role in engaging on a more sustainable path and should be put forward as such in the process of change.

Finally, one possible deliverable of Rio+20 could be the establishment of a ?cooperative platform? allow-ing for the engagement of all stakeholders on relevant tools and instruments to support the transition to a responsible and sustainable economy, and allowing for reviewing progress.


The Sustainable Growth Roadmap (see answer to question B), focused on various specific themes, should include a set of targets and a timeline for the implementation for each target. Global sustain-able development objectives concerning, for example, energy efficiency or green house gas emissions should be envisaged in the long term (e.g. up to 2050), but the roadmap should also contain inter-mediate targets to be reached if we are to succeed with such major shifts in our economic development.

Especially in the short term, public financial resources are limited, therefore solutions that spur resource and economic efficiency and the engagement of the private sector based on market solu-tions and public-private partnerships are, more than ever, essential. The contribution of all stake-holders, including civil society, in this effort, is also necessary.



Among the items on which Rio+20 should focus, we would like to underline the following:

Sustainable business

? Development of Sustainable Business activities and, especially, resource efficiency (including financial resources) depend on an appropriate market design that allows the financing and valuing of different dimensions of sustainability and that are specific to each country and/or re-gion.

? Smart local solutions, savings in resources or energy efficiency measures, as well as projects that were implemented under the global carbon market, can illustrate the concept and show that effi-cient environmental markets are essential to sustainable development.

Renewable energies

? Renewable energy is a key driver for the achievement of a sustainable and low-carbon economy. Currently, the main requirements for the development of an efficient and affordable energy production from renewable sources are :

o R&D related to renewable technologies, in order to attain levels of competitiveness which can fairly compete with fossil fuel technologies.

o Stable legislative contexts and market mechanisms which allow developing and ex-tending further renewable technologies worldwide.

? The development of intermittent renewable energy capacities should be accompanied by meas-ures that guarantee the security of supply, e.g. natural gas backup and reserve capacities, for ex-ample via incentives such as capacity remuneration or capacity markets, without generating market distortions.

? The large deployment of renewable energy sources should be well integrated within the market functioning, with transparency of costs for consumers (including related grid and backup costs) and enough stability to foster investments, without compromising the profitability of non-subsidised sources of energy. Taking into account the maturity of the technology, a gradual decrease of financial support ? without retroactivity ? and a review of specific priority rules should be envisaged.

Energy efficiency

? Energy efficiency is one of the major tools towards a sustainable world. In preserving resources, it provides environmental benefits in lowering local pollutions as well as in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

? Energy efficiency also brings economical, technical and political benefits to governments by re-ducing the need for energy infrastructure, pushing towards innovation and decreasing depend-ence on imports.

? To achieve progress on this subject, governments should:

1. launch awareness campaigns and support capacity building of the necessary skills.

2. introduce legislations, regulations and mandatory codes to cost-efficiently phase out in-efficient technical solutions (buildings, devices, ?) and enforce them. These require-ments should also be tightened over time.

3. set up the necessary frameworks for an energy efficiency market with subsidies to in-clude externalities as required.

4. show the way in applying energy efficiency measures for their own operations (transport, buildings, etc.).


? Rio+20 should plead for the adoption of a process to develop agreed baselines and a commit-ment to adopt targets for resource mobilization at COP 11, provided that robust baselines have been identified and endorsed, and that an effective reporting framework has been implemented following COP 10 in Nagoya.

? Unfortunately, COP 10 in Nagoya failed to agree on targets for increased resources to implement CBD decisions (Strategic Plan 2011-2020). The necessity to mobilise financial resources, by in-novative financing for example, is a pending issue to be tackled at Rio+20.

? There is a need to integrate biodiversity policy into other sustainable development policies. For instance, a new level could be reached by setting up a global unifying framework for develop-ing joint activities, joint mechanisms among the three Rio Conventions. Circular economy: Reduce / Reuse / Recycle In order to facilitate the transition to a resource efficient green economy, governments should:

? Develop incentives to support the adaptation of business models for more resource-efficient societies and businesses.

? Lead extensive analysis and work on environmentally harmful subsidies.

? Set up regulatory frameworks that are conducive to investments in secondary raw materials use by industry and society.

? Elaborate a consistent reporting and benchmarking framework of environmental performance of the States, especially in the fields of resource efficiency (material recovery, efficient use of natural resources, particularly water, across key areas: agriculture, industry and urban water supply and the most sensitive raw materials : paper, metals, etc.).

The city of tomorrow

? Due to demographic evolution, the world will be sustainable if cities are.

? Responsible agriculture and sustainable rural development is fundamental to the sustainable development of cities.

? The discussion at Rio+20 largely evolves under the term ?green?. On our way to sustainable urbanisation, a broad and common understanding of ?green? is necessary, adequately ad-dressing social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability.

? Urban development requires an integrated approach, inviting all urban stakeholders at all stages, from conception to implementation.

? Improved technology and competitiveness are prerequisites for innovation for sustainable and greener cities. Governance and Finance priorities need to be set accordingly.

GHG emissions reduction

? The progressive development of a global carbon market based on an international framework is necessary, where all major GHG emitting countries take binding commitments, and other coun-tries make comparable efforts in reducing GHG emissions, following the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Continuous action to establish an efficient global carbon market, in combination with ambitious GHG reduction targets, must assure that mitigation is achieved at the least cost, that adequate technologies are developed and transferred, and that developing countries obtain adequate financial support for the imple-mentation of their mitigation policies. Under such premises, ambitious global GHG mitigation can be achieved and distortion of competitiveness or international carbon leakage, as well as global economic burden, can be minimised.

? When most competitive solutions are also the most emitting ones, we need an incentive to invest in cleaner technologies and sustainable solutions, and several tools could provide visibility to invest, such as the floor price of CO2, carbon taxes or sectorial regulations. Such so-lutions are capable of promoting global economic integration, trade and growth, while effec-tively combating climate change, and spurring the development of renewable energies, energy and resource use efficiency, new technologies and smart grid applications. They need to be based on global cooperation, a strong commitment on CO2 emissions and efficient and transpar-ent regulation which avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and arbitrariness. Access to energy for all

A call to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2015 is among the seven Millennium Devel-opment Goals (MDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2000. Eleven years later, this challenge, though well known and appreciated by all, remains intractable: in 2011, 1.4 billion people have no access to electricity; 2.7 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking; 880 million people are with-out access to drinking water, and nearly 2 billion individuals are without sanitation services. While gen-erally focused on developing countries, the question of access to energy also affects developed countries where it is cause for social concern and a question of poverty level. Meeting universal energy access targets will require economical growth, social development and mobili-sation of additional Finance. Business investment and private Finance can play a major role if the broader financing architecture is well-designed and appropriate consideration is given to the quality of the regu-latory and investment climate, which significantly drives the risks and returns associated with these in-vestments.

? Business has a role to play alongside public institutions and governments in meeting devel-opment challenges. While various major companies have already implemented such programs, they remain limited and generally deal with consumer goods only.

? We encourage the development of a 4P methodology for Participatory Public-Private Part-nerships and expertise in the so-called ?Base of Pyramid? (BOP) and Social Business projects in order to promote energy access for the very poor, as well as the development of innovative financial mechanisms in the private and public sectors.

? When it comes to basic goods such as energy, however, the issue is to build jointly sustainable businesses with high social impact rather than ?selling to the poor.? Suitable business models need to be promoted to support social entrepreneurs through investments and technical and managerial expertise.

? To be viable, this approach must encourage an innovative business model that could be inte-grated either in the core business of the company or as social business. Market-based solu-tions should be encouraged and also be in favour of the development of new energy sources and new technologies.


Sustainable development embraces three dimensions: social, economical and environmental, and none of these dimensions can supplant the others. Within the business context, we envisage sustainable de-velopment, on the one hand, as helping to reduce non-financial risks, and on the other hand, as creating value through the new opportunities of sustainable business. The green economy is based on this sus-tainable business, and efficiently developing the green economy is a means of achieving sustainable de-velopment.

Sustainable growth strategies and associated action plans should be based on a global sustainabil-ity policy framework, and be tailored to lead to a low-carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclu-sive economy. This framework should result from a consensus between stakeholders, and sustain-able growth policies should be backed by a pro-active financial engagement from governments. Cooperation between international organisations, governments, regulators and companies is cru-cial for the success of greener growth strategies and action plans. Both the public and the private sectors should clearly engage towards all other stakeholders (customers, shareholders, employees, civil society, the environment...) onto a more sustainable path, which would lead to green, economically effi-cient and socially responsible long-term growth. Concerning action plans for the energy, water and waste sectors, we would like to emphasise the crucial role of items such as end-use efficiency, the role of R&D in new, green technologies, and the need for a clear pro-investment regulatory framework to help these new technologies take off and eventually become economically viable. Within the energy sector, end-use efficiency measures are es-sential for the transition from volume to value, a requirement of the green economy. Also, definition of Global Public Goods, governing principles for Public-Private Partnerships, could be targeted at Rio+20.

Several in-depth studies on greening the energy sector and the economy as a whole have recently been released (IEA, OECD, UNEP). These analyses put forth propositions for concrete measures to be taken to curb climate change and to reorient the economy on a more sustainable path. Therefore, proposals for green strategies already exist and often result from international consensus between experts and stake-holders, and these could be considered by UNCSD. Our businesses are already advanced on many of the sectors of the green economy agenda: CCS, renew-able energy (notably hydroelectricity, photovoltaic, wind farms, biomass, geothermal, wave and tidal energy...), recycling and reducing resource use. A better coordination between market players, engaged in those sectors, and green policies promoters, is essential in order to ensure profitable growth for the sectors involved.


Sustainable development involves economic, social and environmental issues. There is, at present, an array of organisations within and outside the UN system working on the challenges of making sustain-able development and poverty eradication a foreseeable reality. Strong existing entities, such as the WTO, the World Bank, the OECD, the IMF etc., are capable of pushing the sustainable development agenda by systematically integrating social and environmental issues within their policies and their ac-tions.

However, such an approach could be leveraged by a more robust and active management of sustainable development issues and it appears that there is a global consensus on this analysis. There is a clear ne-cessity to better coordinate the international governance of major sustainable development mat-ters. Strengthening and consolidating UNEP, providing it with more financial and human re-sources, direct input from the civil society, in particular from the business community, with enlarged powers to enforce decisions and to shape policies and bring guidance would be an impor-tant step.

Finally, we support the empowerment of local governments for more sustainable development action.


In order to accelerate the development and deployment of key technologies, new financing models will be required. Carbon financing will bridge some of the gap, but multilateral development financing and other policy incentives will help accelerate deployment. Open rules, based on trade and investment, are critical enablers of the substantial increase in technological dissemination and financing that will be re-quired to move to more sustainable low-carbon, resource and energy-efficient pathways addressing en-vironmental responsibility while promoting economic growth and social development.

Investment in infrastructure projects (energy, water, waste, transport) is an important instrument to support sustained economic growth. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) can provide effective ways to deliver infrastructure projects, to provide public services and to carry large-scale innova-tion, as well as supporting deployment of clean technologies. At the same time, PPPs are effective ve-hicles for the long-term structural development of infrastructures and services, bringing together dis-tinct advantages of the private sector and the public sector, respectively. Financing the sustainable economy is a critical element and a prerequisite for long-term success. In or-der to make longer term investment decisions in this direction, business requires predictability and regulatory certainty. As long as these enabling conditions are directional only, and without regulatory and market certainty, investments in ?green economy initiatives? will be slow and compete with invest-ments for conventional activities.

It is important to establish workable solutions to Finance the huge expansion of the energy matrix in developing and emerging countries with clean or carbon efficient established technologies in the short term, complemented with more innovative, transformational technologies for cleaner energy solutions in the mid and long term. Given the large volume and the speed of the ongoing evolution, ef-fective solutions must be established in the short term. A combination of NAMAs with a revised CDM can allow an immediate start and help to minimize the installation of new fossil-fuelled infrastruc-ture.

The principles and rules for such a solution exist under the CDM, and if applied and expanded effec-tively, the private sector will be able to drive significant global mitigation. On the contrary, if such incentives are not provided in the short term, these countries will compromise their emission profile for decades, and the aggregate economic present and future cost of mitigation will obstruct sustainable global economic growth.
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