President Clinton and Leading CEOs Call on Private Sector to Develop Corporate Solutions to Global Challenges
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 13, 2009 — President Bill Clinton today joined the chief executives of The Coca-Cola Company and Archer Daniels Midland Company in a forum hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the Brookings Institution on creating value for business and society.
The forum explored ways that leading CEOs are successfully integrating corporate social responsibility and sustainability programs into their core business in ways that enhance the bottom line. The panelists called on other major CEOs to follow suit, and provided examples of how major multinational companies are utilizing innovative practices to increase profits, reduce costs, and simultaneously fight climate change, increase educational opportunities, and reduce poverty.
At the forum, Archer Daniels Midland Company Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz announced ADM Cares, a social investment program that targets up to one percent of pretax earnings to initiatives that advance societal improvements in areas that are related to the company's business.
Today, the Harvard Kennedy School and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation released a new study on The Coca-Cola Company's Manual Distribution Centers (MDCs). The study demonstrated "the potential of large corporations to build economically viable business linkages with small enterprises in their value chains, which can also have development benefits." The MDCs account for over 80 percent of the company's sales in East Africa while creating small-business ownership opportunities and jobs for an increasing number of first-time entrepreneurs and women. To date, the Coca-Cola system has created over 2,500 MDCs in Africa employing over 12,000 people and generating over $500 million in annual revenues.
"The perception that businesses must choose between turning a profit and improving the communities where they operate is outdated and irrelevant in our interdependent world," said President Clinton. "Through the Clinton Global Initiative, more than 1,400 commitments valued at $46 billion are improving more than 200 million lives in 150 countries. Hundreds of these commitments, made by some of the world's leading companies, are demonstrating that investments in social and environmental programs in local communities and on other continents benefit both society and the bottom line."