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Integrating health in all policies makes business sense


11 Mar 2010


Health & Consumers

Parma, 11 March 2010 – At the Fifth WHO Ministerial Conference on Environment & Health this week - an event which sets Europe’s agenda on emerging environmental health challenges - Cefic presented the views of global industry to Ministers of Health and the Environment, international organisations and civil society representatives from 53 countries. Innovative partnerships and new roles for all parties were the focus of the business side event “Sustainable actions to master a changing environment.”

Joining forces with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to contribute to the European Environment and Health Process, Cefic shares the World Health Organization’s view that health should be taken into account in all policy areas.  

Addressing health within all policies makes business sense, because no business can succeed in ailing societies. “Successfully integrating health in all policies means going beyond traditional environment and health considerations,” said Gernot Klotz, Head of Cefic Research & Innovation and member of the European Environment and Health Committee which organised the Conference.  “Ministers with economic, finance or trade portfolios should also be consulted as to how their policies can result in real and equitable instruments with clear benefits to health.  Economic development is the most powerful driver when it comes to improving the status of health across Europe.” 

Many health-related partnerships and initiatives have emerged in the chemical sector which is a positive signal that environmental health is high on the corporate agenda.  However, innovative ways of collaboration are urgently needed as neither policymakers nor industry alone can solve today’s environment and health challenges. The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI), a multi-stakeholder programme that looks into the potential impact of chemicals on health and environment, or the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) are examples of how industry-based partnerships and coordination of efforts can contribute to increased sustainability and improved health in Europe. 

“A real shift in approach and mindset is occurring in all sectors.  If we are serious about delivering the solutions society needs, it is urgent that all stakeholders involved in this environment and health process move from diagnostic to concrete action,” explains Bjorn Stigson, President of WBCSD.  “The world already has the knowledge, science, technologies, skills and financial resources needed to tackle those challenges, but time is running out. Concerted action must be taken in the next decade to bring these capabilities and resources together for getting on the path to sustainability,” quoting from the WBCSD's recent publication, Vision 2050.

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Notes to the editor: The role of various stakeholders, including business, in the WHO process is outlined in a new video ‘Sustainable actions to master a changing environment’ presented today at the WHO conference. 

For further information: A

nnie Mutamba Tel:+32 2 6767337 

Kija Kummer      Tel:+41 22 839 3147