BankAm Provides $1M Grant to Conservation International’s Efforts to Find Climate Change Solutions Through Businesses

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorCharlotte, N.C.–The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has announced a $1 million grant to Conservation International’s (CI) Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) to promote private-sector environmental stewardship. The grant is part of Bank of America’s $20 billion, 10-year environmental initiative to reduce climate change through lending, investing, creating new products and services, sponsoring philanthropy and reviewing operations.“We have been partnering with CI since the 1990s, either for philanthropic initiatives or in educating customers about environmental issues,” Kaj Jenson, vice president of public policy, Bank of America, tells MHN.Conservation International created CELB to engage the global business sector in creating solutions to critical global environmental problems in which industry plays a defining role. To achieve this vision, CELB and its small core staff of experts work to create partnerships with businesses, scientists, conservationists and local communities around the world with the goal of triggering widespread adoption of policies and practices that make the industry a positive force for conservation.“We believe focusing on the business side, encouraging engagement from the various sectors and bringing various voices to the table will speed up the process of finding solutions for the problem of climate change,” says Jensen. “CFLB’s mission aligns with our own: to promote business practices that reduce industry’s environmental footprint and contribute to conservation.”Recently, CELB identified a set of five-year goals. They include: spurring a minimum of 30 major companies to adopt, implement and communicate about environmental best-practice guidelines and supply-chain incentives; developing a robust market for carbon offsets from forestry-based sources such as forest preservation and reforestation; engaging leading businesses in at least 15 on-the-ground initiatives in key landscapes and marine regions where CI is working to conserve threatened biodiversity and improve human livelihoods; and leveraging $100 million from the private sector for investment in CI’s conservation efforts.“Our grant will go toward these goals as well as to provide general operational support to the organization,” adds Jensen.Peter Seligman, CEO of CI, says, “Companies with a global presence have an opportunity to shift the impact of their activities from environmental harm to ecological stewardship, and this partnership with Bank of America will help catalyze this transformation.”