Reflecting experience in corporate leadership, international development, and diplomacy, the new members include:
“These are directors with deep knowledge of how the world works and a broad range of experience,” said James Harmon, chairman of the WRI board.
Jonathan Lash, WRI president, added, “Our efforts to bring practical solutions to the problems surrounding poverty and the environment will receive great guidance from what these new board members bring to us.”
Harriet “Hattie” Babbitt has spent a distinguished career advancing humanitarian and environmental causes in public service and as a practicing attorney. She served as deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1997 to 2001, where she oversaw programs in the fields of democratization, humanitarian relief, women’s empowerment, economic growth, education, health, and the environment.
From 1993 to 1997 she served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, where she led the U.S. negotiating effort for the world’s first anti-corruption convention and helped strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.
Babbitt serves on numerous boards of directors, including the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, and Population Action International. She serves as vice chair of the board of the American Bar Association-Central Europe and Eurasia Legal Initiative and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She recently joined the advisory board of the Circle of Blue to assist in its global clean water efforts.
Antony Burgmans’ affinity for wildlife has led him to champion environmental issues at Unilever and beyond. Burgmans joined Unilever in 1972 as a marketing assistant. In 1998, he was appointed vice chairman of Unilever NV and became chairman and CEO in 1999. In 2005, he became chairman of Unilever NV and PLC.
His environmental efforts include his role in the 1997 founding of the Marine Stewardship Council, a joint initiative by Unilever and World Wildlife Fund to promote responsible fishing practices worldwide. He also chaired CEO panels at the World Water Forum in The Hague in 2000 and in Kyoto in 2003.
Burgmans is also a member of the supervisory board of Akzo Nobel, and a non-executive director of BP. He is also chairman of the supervisory board of the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague.
Before entering his current position in February 2004, Jim Owens spent 33 years with Caterpillar in numerous management roles including chief economist, managing director of the company’s joint venture in Indonesia, president of Caterpillar subsidiary Solar Turbines Incorporated, and vice president and chief financial officer with responsibility for the Corporate Services Division. He also served as a group president and member of Caterpillar’s Executive Office.
In addition to his duties at Caterpillar, he is on the board of the Institute for International Economics; Alcoa, Inc.; and IBM. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Business Council, the Business Roundtable, the Manufacturing Council, the Global Advisory Council, and the Conference Board in New York. He has served on the Commission on Capital Flows to Africa, a partnership of the Corporate Council of America; the Institute for International Economics, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
Alison Sander has traveled the globe working on sustainability issues and other complex strategic challenges. She serves as globalization topic advisor for the Boston Consulting Group, and has worked with a diverse set of clients, including CEOs, prime ministers, board directors, public agencies, top global foundations, and organizations seeking to manage global complexity. She works with large multi-party stakeholder groups and recently completed a study looking at best practices in public-private partnerships.
Sander’s work in sustainability includes founding the AltWheels Festival - the largest alternative transportation showcase on the East Coast, which attracted over 6,000 participants last year. She has also served on the secretariat team for the Sustainable Food Lab.
Sander is a member of the Asia Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow at the Fetzer Institute, the President’s Council at the State of the World Forum, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and is a frequent speaker on topics related to globalization.
These four members join a board that also includes: Chairman James A. Harmon, Vice-Chair Alice F. Emerson, Chairman Emeritus William D. Ruckelshaus, Gay Barclay, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jessica Catto, Leslie Dach, José Maria Figueres, David Gergen, Al Gore, Denis Hayes, Aditi Kapoor, Jonathan Lash, Gretchen Long, Preston R. Miller, Jr., Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Michael Polsky, C.K. Prahalad, Qian Yi, Peter H. Raven, Theodore Roosevelt IV, José Sarukhan, Scott M. Spangler, James Gustave Speth, Ralph Taylor, Lee M. Thomas, Todd S. Thomson, Diana H. Wall, and Wren Wirth.