Trees, Water & People named as 2008 Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability winner



    MONTREAL, June 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto and the International Business
Leaders Forum (IBLF) have announced Trees, Water & People, based in the United
States (Colorado) and working in Central America, Haiti and the American West,
as the 2008 winner of the US$1 million Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability.
    Trees, Water & People spokesperson Stuart Conway said he was delighted to
accept the Prize at the 2009 International Economic Forum of the Americas
(Conference of Montreal) in Montreal today.
    "We are absolutely thankful, delighted and overwhelmed with gratitude at
being announced the 2008 Prize winner. We now have the opportunity to expand
our community reforestation and improved cook stove programmes in Honduras,
Nicaragua, and Haiti. In particular, we will look to use the Prize to leverage
additional sources of funding, and increasingly share the work we are doing
with other interested organisations," he said.
    Trees, Water & People is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1998.
The organisation develops and manages community reforestation, watershed
protection, renewable energy, environmental education, and carbon offset
programmes in countries including Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Haiti, and the United States. More information about Trees, Water & People can
be found at www.treeswaterpeople.org.
    Rio Tinto Global head of Health, Safety and Environment Dr Elaine
Dorward-King said the Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability was designed to
recognise and reward not-for-profit, civil society and non-government
organisations for significant contributions to the goals of economic,
environmental and social sustainability.
    "We congratulate Trees, Water & People co-founders Stuart Conway and
Richard Fox, employees and all Trees, Water & People partner organisations and
networks on being awarded the 2008 Prize. To win this international award is a
real achievement and testament to the work that Trees, Water & People is doing
on the ground to balance today's needs with those of future generations," she
said.
    Chairman of the Prize Adjudication Panel, Director of Guelph Institute
for the Environment, University of Guelph, Canada, and Former Minister for
Environment in Canada, David Anderson said the work being undertaken by Trees,
Water & People embodied the spirit of the Prize.
    "On behalf of the Adjudication Panel, we are pleased that the work that
Trees, Water & People is already doing with local communities on two
continents to protect, conserve, and manage the natural resources upon which
their long term well being depends wil now be boosted with the award of the
Rio Tinto Prize for Sustainability 2008," he said.
    To facilitate an inclusive, rigorous and transparent management process
for the award of the Prize, Rio Tinto partners with the International Business
Leaders Forum (IBLF) which manages the entries and selection process. IBLF
engages independent sustainability experts from around the world to ensure the
process and decisions are made in an objective and consistent manner. Rio
Tinto does not participate in the assessment process.
    IBLF chief executive Adam Leach said the diversity of the organisations
short listed for the Prize in 2008 demonstrated the breadth of work being
undertaken locally throughout the world to contribute to global sustainable
development.
    "All ten short listed organisations in 2008 highlighted the depth and
range of talent, initiative and skills that exist in the civil society sector.
We look forward to working with al nine remaining finalists over the coming
year to support them in applying their US$15,000 training grant to invest in
training and capacity building opportunities for their organisations," he
added.

    Further information about the short listed organisations can be found at
www.riotintoprizeforsustainability.com. Rio Tinto adopted the US$1 million
Prize for Sustainability following its acquisition of Alcan in 2007. Previous
winners of the Prize for Sustainability include the Forest Stewardship Council
(Germany) www.fsc.org, Aga Khan Planning and Building Services Pakistan
www.akdn.org/akpbs, the Barefoot College (India) www.barefootcollege.org and
Utthan Centre for Sustainable Development & Poverty Alleviation (India)
www.sietalld.org.

    About Rio Tinto

    Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the
UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed public company, and Rio
Tinto Limited, which is a public company listed on the Australian Securities
Exchange.
    Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral
resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and
uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and
iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia
and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe
and southern Africa.

    About International Business Leaders Forum

    The International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) is an independent,
not-for-profit organisation which works with business, governments and civil
society to enhance the contribution that companies can make to sustainable
development. Since 1990, IBLF has worked in over 90 countries. Current areas
of work include raising sustainable business standards, improving prospects
for enterprise and employment, and enabling companies to contribute to health
and human development issues. IBLF provides strategic counsel to companies to
enable them to understand and respond to the development challenges that they
face, particularly when operating in transition and emerging economies.

    High resolution photographs available upon request.




For further information:

For further information: International Business Leaders Forum: Leesa
Muirhead, Mobile: +44 (0) 7901 510 701, Leesa.Muirhead@iblf.org; www.iblf.org;
Rio Tinto: Media Relations, London: Nick Cobban, +44 (0) 20 7781 1138, Mobile:
+44 (0) 7920 041 003; Christina Mills, +44 (0) 20 7781 1154, Mobile: +44 (0)
7825 275 605; Media Relations, Australia: Amanda Buckley, +61 (0) 3 9283 3627,
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 801 349; Ian Head, +61 (0) 3 9283 3620, Mobile: +61 (0)
408 360 101; Media Relations, Canada: Stefano Bertolli, (514) 848-8151,
Mobile: (514) 945-1800; Media Relations, US and South America: Tony Shaffer,
(202) 393-0266, Mobile: (202) 256-3667, riotintoprize@iblf.org;
www.riotintoprizeforsustainability.com

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