NEW YORK (AFP) — US businesses have pledged to spend more than four billion dollars on environmental, educational and humanitarian projects a New York summit organized by former president Bill Clinton.
By Thursday, the second day of a three-day summit, several firms had stepped forward with pledges at the Clinton Global Initiative on a variety of pressing issues ranging from refugee aid to education to climate change efforts.
In the environmental arena, Florida Power and Light said it would spend 2.4 billion dollars over five years to build solar-energy plants in Florida and launch a public information campaign on renewable energy.
The company also said it would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, a main cause of global warming, by more than two million tons in the same period.
Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, said it would sell only concentrated detergents in the liquid-laundry detergent category, beginning in May 2008, in its US stores.
The firm estimated the switch would save more than 400 million gallons of water, more than 95 million pounds of plastic resin and more than 125 million tons of cardboard.
Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola unveiled a plan for its operations in Brazil that includes recycling used water and planting trees in the Amazon forest. It said it would plant 3.3 million trees in the 2008-2011 period, at a cost of 13.5 million dollars.
Nongovernmental organization Rainforest Alliance and Gibson Guitar Corp. plan to spend 480 million dollars over five years to promote better forest management in 60 countries.
Industrial group Pratt pledged up to one billion dollars over the next decade to build several "clean" plants, including three for paper production.
Among the projects aimed at helping disadvantaged populations, whether in countries in the developing world or at war, Intel, the world's leading computer chip maker, presented a computer training program for more than 1.5 million teachers in 15 countries. The project was valued at 300 million dollars over four years.
Procter & Gamble, the household goods maker, will spend 20 million dollars to provide water purification tablets.
Dow Chemical said it would furnish equipment to deliver drinking-quality water to some 11 million people in India.
And the GSMA, the global trade association of mobile phone operators, said it would provide mobile phone service in refugee camps in Uganda, in cooperation with the UN with mobile phone networks, in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The three-day Clinton Global Initiative, held on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, has brought together like-minded world leaders, celebrities and business titans from 72 countries for the third year running.
Described by the Financial Times as an "annual feast of charitable giving, business networking and back-slapping," the initiative last year yielded more than 7.3 billion dollars in pledges.
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