WEC for the 2020s Glenn Prickett President & CEO
March 19, 2020
As we enter the 2020s, the private sector has become the most dynamic driver of action on climate change and sustainable development. Governments in too many countries are gridlocked by polarized politics and unable to take decisive action. As a result, public institutions are not able to drive change as they have in the past. Global companies, responding to demands from investors, customers, and employees, are stepping into the breach and taking action.
The World Environment Center has championed business leadership on sustainable development for over 45 years. We are redoubling our efforts to drive impact in a new decade, one that demands urgent progress on climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable development to meet agreed global goals.
We are especially focused on the “next tier” of sustainability leaders in business. Sustainability is no longer optional for companies doing business internationally. Capital markets, customers, and employees demand it. Until recently, companies, even large multinationals, could watch from the sidelines. Now they recognize that they need to get in the game, and they want to learn from leaders who have been at it longer. WEC, with our global membership of established sustainability leaders, will be the resource they can turn to for relevant knowledge and practical advice from peers.
We will continue to serve our global member companies by helping them tackle the issues they identify as their greatest challenges. These companies must lead the way, and WEC’s role is to help them succeed. This year, our priorities include climate change (decarbonization & resilience), circular economy & plastic waste, water resource management, and ESG investing. We will produce more roundtables, webinars, and digital resources for members to learn and share solutions with their peers and with specialized experts. We will adjust the issue focus of our thought leadership offerings in years ahead by staying alert to the evolving challenges our member companies face.
We will continue to build capacity in micro, small, and medium enterprises in the developing world. This is one of WEC’s longest standing commitments, and it’s more important than ever to address the global challenges of climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development. We will extend our flagship initiative in Latin America, La Red de Innovación e Impacto, which supports small entrepreneurs across 11 countries in that region. We will look to expand our presence in Africa and the Middle East beyond our current environmental governance programs in Morocco and Jordan, and we will explore opportunities in East and Southeast Asia. As we continue to partner with public development institutions, we will also engage our members and other companies to build sustainability performance in global supply chains.
Private-sector leadership for sustainable development is vital, but it is not sufficient. To achieve the global goals, and for companies to succeed in their own sustainability initiatives, the world needs more effective public policies and institutions. WEC is not an advocacy organization, and we won’t become one. But we will provide our member companies a forum to debate policy options and develop policy recommendations that can be taken up by other business associations and NGOs.
WEC will remain a lean and nimble organization. Our dedicated and active members and partners allow us to stay small and punch above our weight. This attribute is even more valuable today, as change and disruption seem to be constant and accelerating. Our small size allows us to assess trends and changing circumstances, adjust our focus, and redeploy our resources quickly. As we expand our programs, we will increase the size of our core staff and budget, but only modestly. We will continue to devote most of the funds we raise to our thought leadership and capacity building programs and partners.
Despite the global challenges we face, I am confident that WEC, with our members and partners, can drive strategic changes in business and the economy that lead the world to effective solutions for climate change, ecosystem conservation, and sustainable development for all, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. We have an exciting future ahead. Please join us!