This week I'm blogging from the Clinton Global Initiative 2010 Annual Meeting. In this post I go back in time to highlight the presentations on Strengthening Market-Based Solutions from Day 2. For links to all my CGI coverage click here.
The "Action Area" focus for the first half of Day 2 was "Strengthening Market-Based Solutions." There were three excellent breakout sessions that made me wish I could be many places at once:
Design and technological innovation are two of the core drivers of global development. Over the past decade new and unexpected collaborations have set off an explosion of novel design and social innovation concepts—from footpumps that have increased incomes for millions of small farmers to plans for carbon-neutral construction at the scale of an entire city. In this panel several contributors to the revolution in design for development discuss how to approach the design of new products and services in a way that turns customers into partners and challenges into opportunities.
Earth's natural infrastructure provides truly essential services on which life depends. When human activity degrades ecosystems, human societies must rely on their own imperfect and costly substitutes for essentials such as clean water, breathable air, and healthy food. People in the poorest places are the ones least able to make such substitutions, and thus the most dependent on ecosystem services. Market-oriented pioneers are introducing innovations to ensure the provision of ecosystem services by inducing investment in the environment. This panel will explore the most inventive and effective market-based solutions for protecting the environment.
Large corporations can no longer afford to extract resources and source inputs without concern for the people and places to which they are connected via global supply chains. Risks of unexpected disruptions and adverse publicity are only two of the motivations for this shift. Increasingly, global corporations are also realizing that 21st century competitiveness requires success in strengthening relationships and expanding opportunities along supply chains. This panel will explore how corporations can increase profits and build better products by improving the lives of people and enhancing the sustainability of places along their supply chains.
On stage at the "Plenary: Strengthening Market-Based Solutions": Thomas L. Friedman, Foreign Affairs Columnist, The New York Times; Iqbal Quadir, Founder and Director, Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. (via Flickr / Clinton Global Initiative)
Alex beat me to the punch on Wednesday by noting Thomas Friedman's remark about the importance of scale in creating solutions to global problems. Friedman made this remark during the "Plenary: Strengthening Market-Based Solutions" that kicked-off all the other breakouts.
I think a larger quotation of his comments is worth presenting. To start off the Plenary, Friedman told a story about how he was talking to some African leaders the night before about the $30 billion in promised money they had been pledged in Copenhagen, but have yet to receive. Essentially he said they're not going to get it, which is very unfortunate for many reasons, particularly because:
"the needs are more manifest than ever, and more urgent than ever. And therefore, the necessity of forging market-based initiatives and solutions that start from the ground up [is great]. And that have two critical factors to them. These are the two most important words when you're talking about health, or energy, or education: that they have scale, and that they be self-sustaining. If you don't have scale, you have a hobby. I like hobbies...I wouldn't try to change the climate, or health, or education as a hobby. And if it isn't self-sustaining - if it's going to depend on a government budget - then it isn't going to work."
It was with these ideas of scale and self-sufficiency that Friedman asked the panel to discuss their market-based approaches to business and sustainability. The panel included:
Below is the full video of the proceedings. If you'd like to skip the commitment announcements at the beginning of the video and start at the plenary session, then begin viewing at 20:41 (Friedman's remarks quoted above occur between 22:45 - 23:58).
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