However, some warned that private initiatives, while helpful, could not be responsible for the rulemaking and law enforcement necessary to ensure that wholesale changes take place.
“The private sector has an enormous and important role to play but not as a substitute to governments and international leadership,” said Malcolm Preston, who leads the sustainability and climate change practice at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Environmentalists remained angry that leaders failed to make commitments on two key issues: measures to protect the high seas and defining a process to stop subsidizing fossil fuels.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other leaders said the outcome of the summit reflected what was possible after more than a year of discussions among the 193 government delegations that attended the summit.
“From here we can only advance,” she said.