October 2, 2011
CEF Announces Major Commitment at Clinton Global Initiative: “The Business Logic of Investing in Natural Infrastructure”
Last week at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City, CEF announced a new initiative—the “The Business Logic of Investing in Natural Infrastructure.” The commitment—featured in this article on Forbes.com and in this CGI video—builds on member requests urging CEF to act on the “power of 3 trillion” represented by the collective membership and undertake actions big enough to move the needle on priority environmental issues.
The CEF initiative will work to seize the extraordinary opportunity at the June 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit to help a critical mass of global influencers grasp the true economic value of our planet’s natural assets and infrastructure. By providing a bridge between CEF members and the world’s foremost ecosystem experts, CEF aims to catalyze a globally significant set of private sector-led commitments to action that—in their aggregate—powerfully demonstrate the business logic of ramping up investments to safeguard critical “natural infrastructure” around the world. The initiative will focus on critical forest, freshwater and marine systems that produce goods and services pivotal to long-term business continuity and global economic growth.
Guiding this effort is a founding “Leaders’ Circle” of CEF companies that either took part in an inspiring trip to the Amazon in June or have expressed special interest in the topic of valuing ecosystem services: CA Technologies, CH2M Hill, Darden Restaurants, Dow Chemical, Hewlett Packard, Kimberly Clark, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Unilever, Xerox, The Walt Disney Company, and Weyerhaeuser. The initiative will also leverage a special relationship with The Nature Conservancy, and build on TNC’s highly complementary efforts to create an expanded community of practice around valuing and investing in nature, based on the pioneering work they have undertaken with the Dow Chemical Company to define and integrate the value of ecosystems into business decisions and processes, apply this on the ground, and to share tools, lessons learned and results publicly so that other companies, scientists, and interested parties can test and apply them.
As an early inspiration to action, we are pleased to highlight the work of Darden Restaurants, which helped us launch this initiative with the announcement of their new partnership with the Sustainability Fisheries Partnership and Publix Super Markets to rebuild troubled fisheries through Fishery Improvement Projects. We hope that their early leadership will motivate our members as they consider what their companies can do to demonstrate the logic of investing in natural infrastructure.
In the run-up to Rio+20, CEF will support a robust visioning and action-planning process to seed ideas for the commitments to action that will come to define this initiative. CEF envisions commitments from individual companies, groups of companies, and multi-stakeholder collaborations involving companies, governments and NGOs. The overarching goal is not only to galvanize much-needed action in the short-term: more importantly, it is to draw unprecedented attention to the business imperative of protecting natural infrastructure and thereby trigger exponentially greater levels of investment and catalytic action worldwide. Throughout the effort, CEF will conduct outreach and engagement efforts to ensure that its efforts are not duplicative, and where appropriate, leverage existing efforts to maximize impact.
We are thrilled that new CEF staffer Amy O’Meara will direct this effort and look forward to working with members in the months ahead so that CEF can truly exercise “the power of $3 trillion” in the run up to Rio+20 next June.