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Press Relases June 11, 2001

Conservation International and Ford Motor Company Join Forces To Create the Center For Environmental Leadership in Business

WASHINGTON, DC—Conservation International and Ford Motor Company announced today the launch of the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB). Made possible through a five-year, $25 million contribution from the Ford Motor Company Fund, CELB engages the private sector in creating solutions to critical global environmental problems.

CELB works in partnership with a wide range of companies and environmental organizations to promote business practices that reduce industry's environmental effects and contribute to conservation. These practices also benefit business by cutting the costs associated with environmental impact and by enhancing a company's reputation with communities, customers, employees, and shareholders. The result is what CELB calls a "net benefit" for both the global environment and for business.

"Solving the planet's most pressing environmental problems requires the ingenuity of the private sector," said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International. "Leading corporations like Ford Motor Company 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."

CELB 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. CELB 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, CELB will share its results with a wide audience of business,environmental and government leaders. The ultimate goal is to have industry replicate these proven best practices around the globe. Initial CELB projects include:

  • Water Conservation—Beginning in Sonora, Mexico, the site of a Ford Motor Company manufacturing plant, CELB is working with Ford and other large water users to promote conservation of scarce freshwater resources. CELB's project will promote business practices and public policies that help to conserve water resources, enhance water quality, and protect watersheds in critical ecosystems.
  • Natural Resource Development—CELB 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 industry's net impact, and criteria for deciding whether to undertake activities in sensitive areas.
  • Food and Agriculture—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 company's supply chains to reduce the ecological impacts of major farm and fisheries commodities.
  • Tourism—CELB 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.

    "We're at a crucial point in our ability to address environmental issues," said Martin Zimmerman, Ford Motor Company Vice President of Government Affairs. "Through our involvement in the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business we intend to act in the interests of both our shareholders and society. Beginning with our project on water conservation, Ford will work with the Center to create innovative solutions to critical environmental problems."

    The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business operates as a division of Conservation International and is headquartered in Washington, DC. CELB is governed by an Executive Board of prestigious business and environment leaders including Joan Bavaria, President of Trillium Asset Management Corporation; 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 Company; H. Fisk Johnson, Ph.D., Chairman of SC Johnson & Son, Inc.; Roger W. Sant,Chairman of The AES Corporation; and Peter A. Seligmann, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Conservation International. Glenn Prickett, a senior vice president at Conservation International,serves as Executive Director.

    "As business acquires more influence worldwide and public support for conservation grows, companies face new incentives to demonstrate environmental leadership," said CELB's Executive Director, Glenn Prickett. "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 about the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business will be available online at in the coming weeks.

    About the organizations:
    Ford Motor Company is the world's second largest automotive company. Ford has manufacturing, assembly or sales operations in more than 30 countries worldwide. Ford brands include: Ford,Lincoln-Mercury, Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin, Land Rover and Mazda. Its cars and trucks are distributed through a network of more than 10,500 dealers in more than 200 countries and territories spanning six continents. Ford's international network of people and production facilities include more than 370,000 employees in plants, testing, research and development facilities and offices worldwide. One of the company's goals is to provide products and processes that are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable over time.

Jason W. Anderson
Conservation International
[email protected]
(202) 912-1464

Nicole Solomon or Ellen Dickson
Ford Motor Company
(202) 962-5366/(202) 962-5383
[email protected]

Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the hotspots, major tropical wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in almost 40 countries on four continents. For more information about CI's programs, visit

Jason W. Anderson
Media Manager, CELB
[email protected]
(202) 912-1462

 Photo credits for banner image: (Zebras in Botswana) © CI, Chris Brooks