Economy Doesn't Dampen Clinton Initiative Commitments

Economy Doesn't Dampen Clinton Initiative Commitments

Image courtesy of Clinton Global Initiative

The high-profile, big-ticket corporate commitments addressing a range of environmental and social challenges started rollling in at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting Tuesday, despite the economic downturn.

Morgan Stanley, Procter and Gamble (P&G) and GreenTech Automotive announced plans that promise to reduce emissions, speed deployment of electric vehicles and expand access to clean drinking water in developing countries. This follows a similarly ambitious commitment from Donlen, Environmental Defense Fund and GreenDriver to reduce commercial fleet emissions by 20 percent over five years.

The CGI expects nearly 300 commitments -- more than ever before -- to be made at its annual meeting that kicked off Tuesday.

"CGI members come from 90 different countries, speak many languages, work in all sectors, and approach problems in unique ways," President Bill Clinton said Tuesday. "But together, their desire and capacity to build a better world for our children and grandchildren has resulted in 1,946 commitments, valued at $63 billion dollars, which have already improved nearly 300 million lives."

One notable commitment announced Tuesday involves Morgan Stanley, Shell and a slew of governments, which will work to bring clean cooking stoves to 100 million households in developing countries by 2020. Clean and efficient cookstoves produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional models, while the use of biomass in conventional stoves can place pressure on surrounding forests and habitats.

Meanwhile, GreenTech Automotive Chairman Terence McAuliffe revealed his company will sell 100,000 neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV) to the public for $10,000 each in a bid to make electric cars more affordable. The company plans to employ between 3,000 and 5,000 workers to produce the MyCar model in economically depressed areas. GreenTech bought China-based MyCar with plans to move production to the U.S. Manufacturing in the U.S. will begin in mid-2011. The company already sells MyCar models in Europe.

"Green technology cannot be truly green unless it is affordable," McAuliffe said. "We believe that our MyCar pricing will offer tremendous potential to introduce consumers to electric vehicles."

P&G said Tuesday it would build a new manufacturing facility in Singapore that will produce PUR packets, which can each turn 10 liters of dirty water into drinkable water. The company will partner with humanitarian organizations to distribute enough PUR packets to clean more than two billion liters of drinking water annually by 2020, which it said will save an estimated 10,000 lives each year.

Image courtesy of Clinton Global Initiative.