Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Clinton project brings business on board

November 2005

Business is to play a central role in the Clinton Global Initiative, which aims to generate concerted worldwide action in four areas - poverty reduction, conflict resolution, climate change and improved country governance.

A number of businesses, including Citigroup, international law firm Fried Frank, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, US steel company Mittal, Nokia and Starbucks, have become inaugural partners of the initiative, which was set up in September by former US president Bill Clinton.

Corporate partners will be invited to take part in cross-sector partnerships and to make commitments on some of the initiative's goals. The first company to make a commitment is Starbucks, which according to the initiative's website has formally pledged to 'dramatically increase' the amount of coffee sourced in accordance with its environmental and social guidelines. However, it sets no definite target.

The members of an advisory board guiding work on climate change will include Linda Fisher, chief sustainability officer at Dupont, Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric, and Bjorn Stigson, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The initiative has been criticized in some circles as being over-ambitious. Clinton concedes it faces a 'daunting challenge' but says he is determined it will lead to practical programmes rather than just become a talking shop, and that business will play a key role. 'Ultimately, the private sector will be the most powerful engine for poverty reduction in the 21st century,' he said.

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