GENEVA--A group that has been described as the most influential business voice on sustainability has brought in Edelman to help raise its global profile.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led organization that counts such companies as Unilever, P&G, GM, Nestle, Coca-Cola, BP, Monsanto and Shell among its members. 

The Geneva-based group hired Edelman to the newly-created global PR mandate following  a recent pitch. Sophie Lambin, who heads communications for the WBCSD, told the Holmes Report that the firm's London office will lead the business.

"We needed a global firm as we appear in many countries and need background and understanding of local context," said Lambin. "All strategic comms are done in house and with our members."

A particular focus for the assignment will be the organization's flagship 'Action 2020' initiative, which aims to  ensure that specific sustainability goals are met by 2020.

Since being created in 1995 by a merger of two previous NGOs, the WBCSD has emerged as one of the  leading business advocates for sustainable development. However, the organization has been criticised by Greenpeace, because of the presence of so many 'carbon-intensive' companies among its membership.

It is understood that the WBCSD is aiming to elevate its global profile via a more dynamic media relations presence. 40 percent of its member companies hail from non-Western markets, including such major players as China's Sinopec; Indian giants Reliance Industries and Vedanta Resources; Vale and Petrobras from Brazil; and, Toyota, Toshiba, Honda and Nissan in Japan.