Deutsche Welle – ILO – Discussion of Sustainable Practices in International Companies

During the launch of the debate among delegates in the International Labor Organization, the conversation leaned heavily towards each country’s opinion on the implementation of sustainable practices to combat climate change. As a country, Germany has been a leader in sustainable practices, with plans to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045, and laws enforcing sustainable practices by fining companies that do not comply with the guidelines. Because it is so sustainable, companies in Germany are as equally productive and affordable as countries employing less sustainable practices. In this committee, the focus of future sustainability initiatives was on international businesses. Some countries, including the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Luxemburg, were in favor of allowing businesses to control the regulations. Methods included producing international surveys in which each business could list the sustainable practices which they could reasonably implement, creating educational programs to convince companies of the monetary gain of going green, and funding sustainability efforts while not restricting corporations. Other countries, including Argentina, Venezuela, and China, believe in a more aggressive approach. Mainly, these countries were interested in creating fines for companies that refuse to comply with sustainability and forcing companies that have historically benefited from unsustainable practices to pay for sustainability initiatives moving forward. Germany has benefited by employing a combination of these approaches, both by funding companies and initiatives which support sustainable practices and by punishing companies that have chosen not to comply. 

The press in Germany found some inconsistencies between the actions of countries and their promises in committee. Mainly, these irregularities came from countries such as China, which, for example, promised to significantly punish companies that do not comply with their sustainability guidelines through fines and taxation. Our question is how can China afford such optimistic goals while producing twice as much CO2 emissions as any other country, and relying on these companies as a significant source of national income. According to Germany, it is possible to switch to sustainable practices without harming the national economy long-term, however, China will have to significantly reduce what is already a much larger carbon footprint.