Natural disasters such as the tsunami in Asia and Hurricane Katrina in Americas Gulf Coast remind us of natures awesome power. Sadly, humanitys own power to transform nature left us even more vulnerable. In both parts of the world, poor communities suffered greater damage than would have been the case had coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands been maintained as natural barriers to the giant waves.
These tragic events brought into sharp focus the work that Conservation International (CI) does to protect and restore the critical ecosystems that provide food, medicines, fresh air, clean water, flood and climate control, minerals, energy and recreation. We are also more convinced than ever of the vital role that business can play. Just as the private sector helped to aid and rebuild damaged communities, so too can it help to restore degraded ecosystems.
Five years ago, CI partnered with the Ford Motor Company to launch The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB). This partnership has allowed CI to apply our innovations in ecological science and deliver conservation results in more than 40 countries, demonstrating that business can be a positive force for protecting biodiversity and therefore increasing human well being. We have engaged the industries with the greatest impact on ecosystemsagriculture, energy, fisheries, forestry, mining, and tourismand we have worked with industry leaders to protect biodiversity in ways that benefit their businesses.
Over the next five years, our work with the private sector, along with other key stakeholders, will be crucial component of CIs newly launched Future for Life campaign. Through this strategic plan, CI has ambitious goals to protect threatened ecosystems, to work with community and indigenous leaders to safeguard their lands and waters, and to help establish a new global agenda for conservation.
We will succeed only if business is our ally at the forefront of this effort. Effective conservation requires the ingenuity and resources of the private sector. Visionary companies see opportunities to grow and become more profitable by addressing the environmental concerns of the communities where they do business. CELB is bringing environmental and corporate leaders together to help achieve ambitious common goals. I hope you will join us in making this vision a reality.
Peter A. Seligmann
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer