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The private sector emerged as a global force in the 20th century, helping to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding human population. A century of economic progress, however, has extracted a steep price from the natural world. Plant and animal species are disappearing at an alarming rate; forests, wetlands, coral reefs and other vital ecosystems are in critical condition. Pollution, wasteful uses of natural resources, and climate change threaten natural habitats and human livelihoods.

To help address these threats, Conservation International and Ford Motor Company have created the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB). This program aims to engage the private sector worldwide in creating solutions to critical environmental problems.

The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business provides a new forum for promoting collaborative business practices that reduce industry's ecological footprint, contribute to conservation efforts, and create economic value for the companies that adopt them. The result is a net benefit for both the global environment and participating companies.

The Center engages industries that have the greatest impact on the world's critical ecosystems and those with the greatest potential to promote positive environmental change. These industries include agriculture, fisheries, forestry, energy, mining, travel and leisure, transportation, manufacturing, and financial services.

Agriculture and Fisheries
Meeting humanity's growing demand for food and fiber without sacrificing natural ecosystems will be a major challenge in the decades ahead. The Agriculture & Fisheries program is working in partnership with leading companies and conservation organizations to promote farming and fishing practices that limit conversion of natural habitats, prevent pollution, and help to strengthen parks and protected areas.

Energy and Mining
As global demand grows for energy and minerals, natural resource development is expanding into some of the world's most fragile ecosystems. The Center's Energy & Mining program works with industry and environmental leaders to integrate conservation and environmental protection into natural resource development. Priorities include best practices to reduce the footprint of resource development and to support conservation, metrics to measure industry's net impact, and criteria for deciding whether to undertake activities in sensitive areas.

Travel and Leisure
Tourism is arguably the world's largest business, and nature-based tourism is one of the industry's fastest growing segments. While increased tourism presents a threat to sensitive ecosystems, the industry shares an interest in protecting the natural attractions that tourists visit. The Travel & Leisure program is working with industry leaders to reduce tourism's ecological footprint and to promote conservation of environmentally sensitive tourism destinations.

Climate Change
Global climate change ranks with the loss of biodiversity and the depletion of freshwater resources as one of the 21st century's greatest environmental threats. While policies to control greenhouse gas emissions are being debated, many in industry are reducing and offsetting emissions on their own initiative. The Center works with other environmental organizations and industry leaders to promote cost-effective emissions reductions, with a special emphasis on the conservation and restoration of critical forest ecosystems.

The Earth's freshwater resources are under severe pressure from booming human populations and a growing global economy. The Center works with leading companies to promote business practices and public policies that help to conserve water resources, enhance water quality, and protect watersheds in critical ecosystems worldwide.

Scientific and public concern is mounting over rapid destruction of the Earth's remaining promary forests, which provide irreplaceable biodiversity values and many other vital ecological functions. Unchecked logging and road building are putting increased pressures on undisturbed forests throughout the world. The Center's Forestry program is working with leading timber and forest companies to develop global strategies for conserving primary forests while meeting society's wood fiber needs.

Resources and Links
CI Wide
Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB)
CELB: The Energy & Biodiversity Initiative
Partners: Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA)
Verde Ventures: www.conservation.org/xp/verdeventures
Frontlines: "Guinea RAP launches industry partnership"
Frontlines: "New coffee a boon for Colombian biodiversity"


© CI, Bill Konstant
Farm fields, Yunnan Province, China.

© CI, Jason Anderson
CELB works with leading corporations in the energy and mining sectors to minimize impacts on biodiversity.

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