Working toward what is described
as a net benefit for both the global environment and
for business, Conservation International (CI) and Ford Motor Co.
have launched the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business.
Made possible through a five-year, $25 million contribution from
the Ford Motor Co. Fund, the centers goal is to engage the
private sector in creating solutions to critical global environmental
problems. It intends to work in partnership with a wide range of
companies and environmental organizations to promote business practices
that reduce industrys environmental effects and contribute
to conservation. These practices also benefit business by cutting
the costs associated with environmental impact and by enhancing
a companys reputation with communities, customers, employees
Solving the planets most pressing environmental problems
requires the ingenuity of the private sector, said Peter Seligmann,
chairman and CEO of CI. Leading corporations like Ford are
recognizing that their effect on the environment is a core business
issue. We believe that the next industrial revolution
will be a move by corporations to direct their entrepreneurial energy
toward solving environmental problems.
The center concentrates on those industries with the greatest environmental
effect on critical ecosystems and those with the potential to bring
about positive environmental change, including agriculture and fisheries,
forestry, energy and mining, travel and leisure, transportation,
manufacturing and financial services. The center provides an open
forum where business leaders, environmentalists and academics can
work together to create innovative solutions.
Once new business practices have been developed and tested in the
field, the center will share its results. The ultimate goal is to
have industry replicate these proven best practices around the globe.
Initial projects include the following:
Water ConservationBeginning in Sonora, Mexico,
the site of a Ford Motor Co. manufacturing plant, the center is
working with Ford and other large water users to promote business
practices and public policies that help to conserve scarce freshwater
resources, enhance water quality and protect watersheds in critical
Natural Resource DevelopmentThe
center is working with industry and environmental leaders to integrate
conservation and environmental protection into the exploration and
development of oil, gas and minerals. Priorities include best practices
to reduce the ecological footprint of operations and to support
conservation, metrics to measure the industrys net impact
and criteria for deciding whether to undertake activities in sensitive
Food and AgricultureMeeting humanitys
growing demand for food and fiber without sacrificing natural ecosystems
will be a major challenge in the decades ahead. In partnership with
leaders in the food and beverage industry, the center is developing
sourcing guidelines that help to conserve critical ecosystems affected
by global agriculture. The projects will work with the companys
supply chains to reduce the ecological impacts of major farm and
the worlds largest business, the center is working with tour
operators to integrate conservation principles into their day-to-day
operations and to influence the planning and management of key tourist
destinations to ensure their environmental sustainability. Projects
will also engage leading travel companies to develop environmental
criteria for their suppliers.
Were at a crucial point in our ability to address environmental
issues, said Martin Zimmerman, Ford Motor Co. vice president
of government affairs. Through our involvement, we intend
to act in the interests of both our shareholders and society. Beginning
with our project on water conservation, Ford will work to create
innovative solutions to critical environmental problems.
As business acquires more influence worldwide, and public
support for conservation grows, companies face new incentives to
demonstrate environmental leadership, said Glenn Prickett,
a senior vice president at CI who serves as the centers executive
director. The center will partner with a wide range of businesses
and environmental organizations to create a net benefit for the
environment and the economy.
Detailed information is available on-line at www.celb.org.
Operating as a division of CI, the center is headquartered in
It is governed by an executive board of business and environment
Peter Seligmann, chairman
and CEO of CI
Joan Bavaria, president
of Trillium Asset Management Corp.
Frances G. Beinecke, executive
director of the Natural Resources Defense Council
Sir John Browne, group
chief executive of BP p.l.c.
William Clay Ford, Jr.,
chairman of Ford Motor Co.
H. Fisk Johnson, Ph.D.,
chairman of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
Roger W. Sant, chairman
of AES Corp.