Anthony Pratt Promises to Invest USD 1 Billion in Recycling
28 September 2007 -- Anthony Pratt has promised to invest USD 1 billion (AUD 1.13 billion) over 10 years in recycling initiatives at his U.S.-based Pratt Industries to tackle global warming and boost his bottom line.
The Australian businessman unveiled the investment pledge in New York at the celebrity studded stage at former U.S. President Bill Clinton's third Clinton Global Initiative conference.
Clinton's philanthropic three-day get-together has this year attracted actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The Clinton Global Initiative works towards tackling climate change, poverty, health and education issues across the world. The first two initiatives saw more than USD 10 billion pledged to global causes.
Pratt is chairman and chief executive of Pratt Industries, the U.S. sister company of his father Richard Pratt's Visy Corp.
The USD 1 billion will finance at least three recycled paper mills and four waste-to-energy plants.
While the money is part of Pratt Industries' business expansion plans and "somewhat business as usual", the investment also counts as part of the Clinton Global Initiative financial pledges because it is seen as a way to fight climate change.
Using the Clinton forum to help focus attention, Pratt said he hoped to help create a "recycling movement" in the United States.
He said recycling of the company's paper and cardboard products, such as a pizza boxes, was about 55% in the United States compared with about 65% in Australia and up to 75% in Japan and Germany.
Pratt said Americans were less inclined to recycle because they had a mentality that "trees are cheap," but the tide was turning and more people were becoming environmentally aware.
Landfill generated twice the carbon emissions of the global aviation industry. "Recycling is an important and underestimated weapon against climate change," he said.
Pratt admitted the green movement made good business sense for Pratt Industries and was seen as an "opportunity."
"American money is green, right, so being green is green. We think it's good to do good and to make money at the same time," Pratt said.
Pratt Industries is based in Georgia and has operations in 26 states. It is one of the biggest Australian employers of Americans and has more than 3300 workers.
The investment will go towards several projects, including a third recycled paper mill in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the company's first waste-to-energy plan to convert wood waste into power at Conyers, Georgia.
Also at the Clinton Global Initiative, Norway made a USD 1 billion pledge to help save the lives of mothers and babies in developing countries.
Clinton told the summit: "We're faced with complex problems that government is either not solving or that government alone cannot solve.
"We have to find ways to devote more time, money, skills, organisation building. We can help more people and save more lives if we do."
Hollywood star Brad Pitt asked the summit for support for his Make It Right program where he is partnering with U.S. billionaire Steve Bing to build 150 environmentally sustainable homes in an area of New Orleans, Louisiana, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.