The BCSDZ – actively promoting awareness, knowledge and practical expertise in Sustainable Development in business.
The Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ) was previously known as the Environmental Forum of Zimbabwe.
It was formed 22 years ago by a group of leading business people in Zimbabwe who shared common concerns over environmental issues and who wished to make and encourage a commitment by business to the phased implementation of environmental management programmes, and assist in enhancing appropriate knowledge. The founding members’ companies have continued to be actively involved, and have been joined by many others over the years.
While the original focus was on environmental management, in subsequent years it steadily broadened its agenda in line with international thinking to encompass Sustainable Development, involving the three interlinked pillars of economic growth, ecological balance and social progress. The change of name was therefore a logical progression. While the BCSDZ has always been and still is entirely autonomous, it also more clearly aligned the BCSDZ with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), of which it is a long-standing globalal network partner.
The BCSDZ is founded on a Constitution, Mission Statement and Code of Conduct with a Board of Trustees. The Council, which is the policy-making body, can have up to twelve elected representatives from the membership and meets quarterly. A Management Committee oversees the implementation of the BCSDZ’s objectives.
There is a Branch in Bulawayo, and a recently restructured Branch in Mutare.
The BCSDZ has six Technical Committees on: Climate Change & Emissions; Energy; Environmental Management Act (EMA); Water; Waste; and Sustainability Reporting. A Technical Committee on Biodiversity & Business is being resuscitated.
Achieving its role
In achieving its role as a catalyst in the bringing together and sharing of knowledge and helping to build capacity on a broad range of Sustainable Development topics the BCSDZ arranges popular seminars, technical workshops, field days, training and an annual two-day conference. At the conclusion of each annual conference a CD of the Presentations is produced and these CD’s now constitute a formidable body of knowledge.
The BCSDZ also produces a quarterly electronic newsletter “BCSDZ Update” which is emailed to all members, as well as Bulletins and Guidance Notes as required.
A feature of the BCSDZ’s activities is that many are carried out in close liaison with member organisations that host various events, provide speakers on their respective experiences and give generous sponsorship in various forms. Members who serve on the BCSDZ’s structure of various Committees do so out of personal commitment and as a community service, giving freely of their time.
Liaison with other bodies
The BCSDZ enjoys appreciated liaison with numerous relevant public, private and civil society sector bodies in Zimbabwe that are involved in related fields.
Over the years the BCSDZ has greatly valued the many benefits derived from its global networking partnership with the WBCSD. The WBCSD is a coalition of some 200 international companies united by a shared commitment to Sustainable Development. Members are drawn from over 36 countries and 22 major industrial sectors. The global network comprises 60 national and regional business councils and partner organisations. Global Network and Liaison Delegates meetings are held twice each year in different countries. The BCSDZ is therefore able to keep in touch with the latest issues, thinking and best practice on sustainable development in business.
The BCSDZ is currently actively involved in the WBCSD/WRI ‘Action 2020’ project. This is a critical global Sustainable Development venture based on scientific evidence about the state of and outlook for Planet Earth, and the need for additional urgent scaling-up of measurable remedial targets that also generate bottom-line results. 9 priorities have been established for Action 2020, together with a number of business solutions for each.
The BCSDZ has a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding with Environment Africa and, together with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation in Zimbabwe, and with the support of the Ford Foundation, the Inclusive Business Forum of Zimbabwe was established in 2012 and is administered by the BCSDZ.
The BCSDZ is also the implementing partner in a phased project initiated by UNIDO in Zimbabwe, known as the Green Industry Initiative. This is a Public Private Partnership in which the BCSDZ is collaborating with UNIDO, three Government Ministries and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe.