All you need to know about the Collective Impact Coalition for Ethical AI

What is the Collective Impact Coalition (CIC)?

The Collective Impact Coalition for Ethical Artificial Intelligence is a coordinated engagement campaign aiming to push technology companies to advance ethical AI policies and practices. Originally launched in September 2022 as the Collective Impact Coalition (CIC) for Digital Inclusion, it comprised a group of 33 investors and 12 civil society groups rallied by WBA to encourage companies to publicly disclose their ethical AI principles and policies.  

The campaign, commonly referred to as the CIC for Ethical AI, builds on the findings of WBA’s Digital Inclusion Benchmark, which has revealed large transparency gaps in companies’ disclosures on ethical AI.  

From Benchmark to action

The benchmark found that very few companies had public commitments to responsible and ethical AI, thus failing to meet one of the most fundamental high-level expectations that can be applied to AI. Ethical AI is a critical area of digital inclusion that requires systemic change. A basic commitment to ethical AI and a consolidated set of principles can serve as a gateway to building trust with users, reducing risks and harms to individuals, societies, and companies themselves. 

Why Ethical AI?

Automated systems, ubiquitous but often unnoticed, are already playing an enormous role in billions of people’s lives. This is particularly evident in domains such as finance, health, media and entertainment, advertising, law enforcement, and human capital management.  

If companies do not formulate principles to guide their development, deployment, and procurement of ethical AI, they face reputational risk and revenue losses, and society as a whole faces a new wave of systemic problems exacerbated by technology. It is imperative that companies not only set up high-level ethical AI frameworks, but also provide a public account of how they live up to them.

For example, we have seen that AI can help to improve accurate medical diagnosis or broaden financial inclusion. At the same time, AI may increase the risks of potential harms through bias and discrimination, invasions of privacy, and denial of individual rights. Non-transparent systems can and frequently do produce unexplainable and unsafe outcomes, whether through their direct impact or by triggering knock-on effects. The risks are particularly salient for members of communities that are already marginalized in other ways. 

Objectives of the CIC for Ethical AI

The Ethical AI CIC has three main objectives: 

  1. To raise awareness on the importance of responsible and ethical AI; 
  2. To increase understanding of the state of play and leading best practices; 
  3. To Improve digital technology companies’ commitments to ethical AI.

Impact of the CIC for Ethical AI

Since the launch of the CIC in 2022, investors have engaged individually with dozens of companies under the campaign, while civil society groups have advanced joint statements to intergovernmental policy processes to raise concerns and forge best practices on ethical AI., 

We have seen some progress in disclosure of ethical AI principles as a result of these efforts. In the year following the launch of the campaign in September 2022, 19 companies evaluated in the Digital Inclusion Benchmark published their inaugural ethical AI principles. Most companies remain willing to come to the table to discuss their efforts to advance their ethical AI principles and practice. You can find a detailed report on the progress of the engagements here. 

Going forward, the focus of the engagements will expand beyond asking for high-level principles. In line with the evolution of the DIB’s methodology and in response to the increasingly tangible risks linked to AI, members of the campaign will begin asking companies to demonstrate how they are implementing the ethical AI principles, whether they are conducting AI-related human rights impact assessments, and what their overall governance of AI looks like.

Access the 2023 Ethical AI CIC Progress Report

How to join the CIC for Ethical AI 

Any stakeholder (other than real-economy companies) who can demonstrate a commitment to action on ethical AI is welcome to join the CIC. There are no fees for any organisation that joins the CIC. Please reach out to Nicholas Sewe, Engagement Lead, Digital Inclusion Benchmark ( in case you are interested in joining the CIC or learning more. 

Lead Investors:

Participant investors as from February 2024:

Observing Investors:

Lead civil society organisation:

Civil society organisation participants as of February 2024:

Civil society organisations endorse the investor statement.


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