CI's work focuses on science, policy, and partnership with businesses and communities. The organization employs more than 1,000 people and works with more than 2,000 partners in 30 countries. CI has helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries, safeguarding more than 601 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas.
Conservation International was founded in 1987 with the goal of protecting nature for the benefit of people.
In 1989, CI formally committed to the protection of biodiversity hotspots, ultimately identifying 34 such hotspots around the world and contributing to their protection. The model of protecting hotspots became a key way for organizations to do conservation work.
As of FY 2016, CI's revenue totaled $212 million.
On July 1, 2017, Peter Seligmann stepped down as CEO of CI and a new executive team made up of senior CI leadership was announced. Conservation scientist M. Sanjayan was named chief executive officer; Jennifer Morris, formerly chief operating officer, was named president; and Sebastian Troeng, formerly senior vice president of the Americas Field Division, was named executive vice president. Peter Seligmann will remain Chairman of the Board.
In the subsequent two decades, CI expanded its work, with a stronger focus on science, corporate partnership, conservation funding, indigenous peoples, government, and marine conservation, among other things.
The organization's leadership grew to believe that CI's focus on biodiversity conservation was inadequate to protect nature and those who depended on it. CI updated its mission in 2008 to focus explicitly on the connections between human well-being and natural ecosystems.