RELEASE: Hillary Rodham Clinton Headlines WRI’s 2014 Courage to Lead Event
June 12, 2014
Clinton joined by Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation, to honor Pamela Flaherty, Citi, and James Harmon, Caravel Fund
NEW YORK (June 12, 2014) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton headlined the World Resources Institute’s Courage to Lead luncheon, an event that honors leaders tackling today’s environmental and economic development challenges. The event celebrated the leadership and accomplishments of Pamela P. Flaherty, Director of Corporate Citizenship, Citi, and President & CEO, the Citi Foundation; and James A. Harmon, Chairman and CEO of Caravel Management LLC and Board Chairman, WRI.
“These are such consequential challenges: the focus on climate change, clean energy, on water and forests, and the increasing effects of urbanization are the heart and soul of what WRI has done,” said Secretary Clinton told the gathering in New York City. “So I am greatly appreciative of WRI’s work, pushing ahead, asking the tough questions, and influencing business and government. We’ve made some progress over the years, but we still have so much more to do.”
The Courage to Lead event raised $700,000 for WRI, bringing together nearly 400 leaders in business, public service and civil society at 583 Park Avenue in New York City.
Additional speakers included Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation; Daniel L. Doctoroff, President & CEO, Bloomberg LP and WRI Board Director; and Andrew Steer, President & CEO, WRI.
“We are extremely proud to honor two great leaders, Pam and Jim, who have influenced their peers and shifted entire industries toward sustainability. We are also lifted by the words and example set by Secretary Clinton and Judith Rodin,” said Steer. “For a third of a century, WRI has been working at the frontline of sustainability, but our issues are as pressing as ever. I hope that all of today’s attendees feel inspired to take action that will help create a more prosperous and sustainable world for all people.”
Both Flaherty and Harmon’s careers have been marked by their belief that economic growth can improve people’s lives and go hand-in-hand with sustaining natural resources.
In honoring Flaherty, Rodin said, “it is because of her deep understanding of social impact and business strategy that Pam has been so effective at both. She was early to see – and to make her colleagues see – that healthy, inclusive societies and robust, sustainable ecosystems to support them are not just philanthropic goals, they are critical to business success in the 21st century. That took both courage and leadership.”
Flaherty has been a driving force in guiding Citi’s sustainability strategy, including the company’s $50 billion Climate Initiative. She was a leader in developing industry guidelines, such as the Equator Principles, used to manage the environmental and social risks of global project financing.
Flaherty said, “Our partnership with WRI has helped Citi leverage its assets to promote environmental and economic sustainability both within our business and in the broader community. It’s an honor to receive this recognition today, and we look forward to many more years of successful collaboration.”
WRI, Citi, and C40 announced they are deepening their collaboration through a new effort to scale financing for sustainable urban infrastructure. WRI also recently announced the creation of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, made possible by a gift from Stephen M. Ross, Chairman and Founder, Related Companies and WRI Board Director. Through the new WRI Ross Center, WRI will bring together its global expertise and on the ground experience to create more smartly and sustainably designed cities.
The Courage to Lead event also honored James A. Harmon. Across all sectors, Harmon has used his remarkable financial and diplomatic skills to advance U.S. business interests, to expand opportunities for people living in the poorest countries, and to create a healthier and safer planet for all people.
In honoring Harmon, Secretary Clinton said, “it’s going to take the NGOs like WRI to be a bridge between governments and interest groups to try and keep charting a steady course in the right direction. That’s why the leadership of this organization is so important. You have been blessed, as I know so well, with a leader who has helped chart this dynamic path forward. And I am deeply grateful to Jim for his many contributions toward making the world a better place.”
During Harmon’s leadership over the past decade, WRI’s budget tripled from $21 million to $66 million, as its staff grew from 150 to more than 450 people.
“The challenges we face are urgent, yet I do believe we have good reason to be hopeful,” said Harmon. “WRI focuses on projects that make a real difference. We measure progress with specific metrics, but when we achieve our goals, we can literally see and feel the difference. I am grateful to be part of this organization which has changed my life.”
WRI’s Courage to Lead events raise critical funds to help the institute respond to emerging opportunities, seed new work and invest in innovation. All financial donations to the luncheon will support WRI’s mission and programs.
The event was co-chaired by Doctoroff, Ross, and Ed Skyler, Executive Vice President Global Public Affairs, Citi.
Major sponsors of the event include: Citi and the Citi Foundation, Afsaneh M. Beschloss, Daniel L. Doctoroff, James A. Harmon, Alcoa Foundation, Beth and David Blood, Caterpillar, and DuPont.
World Resources Institute is a global research organization spanning more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, China, India, Indonesia and Europe. WRI’s experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain natural resources as the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being. (www.wri.org)