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Framing the Environmental Challenge

On February 13th, WRI celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a dinner in New York, underwritten by Citigroup Global Wealth Management. The dinner's theme was "the courage to lead" and honored Jeffrey Immelt, Elizabeth McCormack and The John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation, and the late Samuel C. Johnson for their commitment to sustainable development.

The evening's program featured many eloquent and passionate speakers, all of whom expressed a passion for the urgent environmental challenges ahead. The speakers included:

  • Tom Friedman, author and columnist for the New York Times
  • WRI Board Member Al Gore
  • Jeff Immelt, Chairman & CEO of GE

What made it interesting is that each speaker expressed a different approach for how to think about environmentalism: global economic, moral, and market opportunity.

Here is the original video footage from their speeches.

Thomas Friedman, Author and Columnist, New York Times

Environmental degradation threatens to affect our lives in unimaginable ways. Green power and technology will be the dominant geoeconomic and geopolitical issues in the 21st century. Will the U.S. be a leader or a laggard?

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WRI Board Member Al Gore

Global warming challenges our "moral imagination," just as the civil rights issue first did a generation ago. Business leaders must show the way forward by reconciling?ethical issues behind global warming with the need to generate profits.

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Jeff Immelt, Chairman & CEO of GE

Environmental issues are no longer a win-lose proposition for business. The opportunity to provide environmental solutions is one of the big themes of business leadership.

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