Combined Organization will Establish a New International NGO to Continue to Advance Sustainability through its Corporate Members with Innovative Solutions, Collaborations and Thought Leadership
New NGO will Deliver Meaningful Private Sector Contributions – from Operations to the C-Suite – Through Science-based Approaches in Nature, Water, Climate Resilience and Social Impact
Washington, D.C., January 2, 2024 – Two of the leading NGOs working with businesses on sustainability and nature programming, the World Environment Center (WEC) and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) have entered into a memorandum of intent (MOI) to combine the two organizations. As of January 1, 2024, Margaret O’Gorman assumed the dual role of President and CEO of WEC and President of WHC. The new organization name and branding is expected to launch in the fall of 2024.
The combined organization will be positioned as a leader working at the intersection of business and sustainability, offering meaningful private sector value through science-based approaches in nature, water, climate resilience and social impact. Through technical acumen and thought leadership, the new organization will deliver solutions and support for a wide range of corporate sustainability efforts – from operations to the C-suite, all under the same roof.
With the expertise of the two organizations, and their combined 75 years of experience, this new NGO will expand opportunities for best-in-class collaborations with companies to halt and restore nature loss, improve water stewardship, enhance climate and community resilience and support the transition to a circular economy. This combination will also include WEC Europe e.V., which will continue to serve as the Global Thought Leadership hub for the future global organization.
“We are bringing together two purpose-driven organizations working with corporations on sustainability and nature goals,” said Emilio Tenuta, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Ecolab, Inc. and WEC Board Chair. “The new organization comes at a critical time for business as stakeholder and shareholder expectations related to planet and people grow, and intersections between issues like water, climate and nature are increasingly acknowledged. We expect to be a leader in this space from the start.”
Adds Connie Hergert, Vice President, Corporate Real Estate at Ontario Power Generation and WHC Board Chair, “The expertise of each organization complements the other, allowing for a distinctive approach by seamlessly connecting C-suite ambition to operational implementation and supply chain engagement. Companies will find a strong partner to advance their nature, climate and impact reporting. WEC and WHC members will see the benefit of the combined expertise almost immediately.”
Under the terms of the MOI, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both organizations, Margaret O’Gorman will be appointed CEO of WEC while remaining President of WHC. When the legal combination is complete, O’Gorman will be named CEO of the new organization. Dr. Neil Hawkins, interim CEO of WEC, completed his pre-determined tenure on December 31, 2023.
“I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to lead this combination and build an organization that will better meet private sector needs while addressing some of the planet’s most pressing issues,” said O’Gorman. “I am thrilled to work in joining WEC’s global thought leadership and capacity building with WHC’s strategic pragmatism and technical know-how. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to Neil Hawkins for the critical role he played in supporting and advancing this effort.”
Says Dr. Hawkins, outgoing President and CEO of WEC, “The new organization will become the ‘thought leader’ and the ‘do leader’ that is needed to support accelerated progress on climate change, water, circularity and nature challenges we all face. It is very exciting.”
The signature events of WEC and WHC, the WEC Gold Medal Award Presentation and WHC Conservation Conference respectively, will continue. The 2024 WEC Gold Medal event, commemorating 40 years of recognizing sustainable business excellence, will be moved from May 2024 to the fall of 2024. The WHC Conservation Conference will be held June 4-5 in New Orleans, LA. Additionally, all work related to funded projects of both organizations — currently underway or scheduled— will continue without interruption.
About Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC)
WHC has been working at the nexus of business and biodiversity for 35 years and is the only international NGO focused exclusively on enabling private sector action for nature. WHC builds strategies and frameworks for companies to integrate nature with climate, equity and engagement to support sustainable ecosystems and healthy communities. WHC corporate members represent some of the leading national and multinational corporations. WHC-certified programs can be found in nineteen countries and 48 U.S. states.
About World Environment Council (WEC)
The World Environment Center is an independent, global, non-profit, non-advocacy organization that advances sustainable development through the business practices of member companies and in partnership with governments, multi-lateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, universities and other stakeholders. WEC creates sustainable business solutions through individual projects in emerging markets; convenes leadership roundtables to shape strategic thinking across a range of sustainability topics; and honors industry excellence through the annual awarding of its Gold Medal Award. WEC celebrates 40 years of impact in 2024.
Zoie Gaidos, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, WEC
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