The world's largest, most influential companies understand that as they enter developing nations' markets, their growth in the years ahead might overlap with issues and goals traditionally confined to the UN, national development agencies and NGOs.
Business wants two things from Rio: recognition for the efforts it has made in the 20 years since the 1992 UN Earth Summit -- and more business. The most sustainable among them know they can't address problems such as water scarcity on their own, and they want to play a role in solutions.
"The role of the private sector is likely to be much larger than it was [in 1992]," says William K. Reilly, Environmental Protection Agency administrator for President George H.W. Bush. "The most news probably will be made by corporations announcing commitments in various aspects of the environment and development."
As Bolivia's glaciers recede, the landlocked Andean nation's water supplies grow more endangered, a trend that may spread throughout South America, where global businesses otherwise see great growth potential.
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