More than 2,000 corporate leaders from around the world are set to embrace sustainable development at an upcoming forum here on the sidelines of the UN Rio+20 conference.
"Industrialists have decided to embark on this road because for them this is an issue of managing long-term risks such as water shortage" that threaten the planet, Yolande Cerqueira Leite, the Brazil executive secretary for the UN Global Compact.
The Compact is a UN initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.
"Corporate leaders are getting involved because their interests depend on it. They want action to control these environmental assets," Cerqueira noted.
By adopting the Global Compact launched in 2000, corporations pledged to respect 10 universally accepted principles dealing with human rights, work standards, environment and the fight against corruption to ensure fair trade.
The scheme has received 7,000 signatures from 135 countries but the aim is to collect 20,000 by 2020, according to Cerqueira.
The business forum will showcase practices that contribute to the sustainable development that will be debated at the Rio+20 summit here next week along with innovation and job creations.
It will feature 120 thematic workshops on the summit agenda, addressing energy and climate, water and ecosystems, agriculture and food, social development, urbanization and cities, economy and financing.
One of the forum organizers, Matthias Stausberg, told AFP that the role of governments was "fundamental" to spur "green" production.
"A company which has higher costs because of sustainability can become less competitive on the market and it is up to the government to give it incentives," Cerqueira said.
Forum participants will produce a document listing company commitments, which will be handed over to world leaders at the June 20-22 summit.