CI at 25: Making Business a Positive Force for Conservation

Throughout 2012, as we celebrate CI’s 25 years of impact, Editorial Director Todd Christopher is recounting the ways CI has been changing the face of conservation. Today he discusses the role that businesses can — and must — play in conservation efforts.

Rainforest in Peru. In 2009, Disney made the largest-ever commitment by a single corporation to reducing emissions from deforestation by funding carbon projects in Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rainforest in Peru. In 2009, Disney made the largest-ever commitment by a single corporation to reducing emissions from deforestation by funding carbon projects in Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (© Art Wolfe/ www.artwolfe.com)

The challenges facing us today are as complex as they are enormous, making one thing certain: no one can solve them alone.

CI has always believed that when it comes to protecting the planet and the well-being of its people, there is room at the table for all of us. A few years after its founding, CI broke new ground by joining forces with McDonald’s to implement sustainable agriculture and conservation projects in Central America.

In 1996, CI partnered with Mobil Corporation to monitor the impact of oil exploration in the Peruvian Amazon, one of the first collaborations between a leading conservation group and a major energy company.

This commitment to engaging the business sector expanded in 2000 with the creation of the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB), made possible by support from the Ford Motor Company. CELB was launched with the key objective of making business a positive force for the conservation of nature.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, CI’s partnerships with some of the world’s most prominent corporations have delivered on-the-ground conservation successes, developed field models that improve both human livelihoods and transformed the environmental practices of industries.

Through corporate engagements, including Disney’s landmark commitment to tropical forest conservation projects in the Amazon and Congo Basins, CI has helped ensure protection or improved management of 6.9 million hectares (more than 17 million acres) — an area nearly the size of Ireland.

With longtime partner Starbucks, CI helped to develop global ethical sourcing guidelines that ensure coffee is responsibly grown and ethically traded, generating positive impacts for over 1 million workers on more than 100,000 participating farms.

Todd Christopher

Todd Christopher

And through our partnership with Walmart, CI is helping to green the supply chain of the world’s largest retailer — setting a precedent that’s good for both business and the future of life on Earth.

Todd Christopher is CI’s editorial director. Read other posts in our “CI at 25″ blog series.

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