A new international initiative aims to unite leaders of the world's energy companies to meet global needs while improving living standards. The World Economic Forum's Energy For Society Initiative, which launches September 11, brings together 20 founding signatories from some of the world's largest energy firms.

According to the WEF, the initiative's members are united under five guiding principles: "supplying secure and affordable access to energy; having efficient energy systems; upholding responsible citizenship in communities; contributing to economic development and promoting energy literacy."

The World Economic Forum's Roberto Bocca, Senior Director, Head of Energy Industries, said in a statement, "This is the first time that the global energy community is demonstrating such a commitment to society, not only by sharing their successes and challenges to improve their industry’s business practices with transparency, but also by demonstrating how those principles might be implemented concretely."

With all sectors of the energy represented in the initiative, the WEF hopes to "restore trust between the energy industry and society at large," according to a statement. The group contends that its global scope and holistic approach, going "beyond 'one issue' campaigns," sets it apart from existing efforts.

The WEF initiative comes as renewable energy investment grows globally. Earlier this year, the U.N. concluded in a report that world investment in renewable energy set a record in 2011 with $257 billion spent across the globe last year.

HuffPost blogger Peter Bosshard writes, "Renewable energy solutions are not only good for the environment. If done well, they can pay for themselves and reduce poverty around the world."

Learn more about the Energy For Society Initiative with the interactive map below, or visit the World Economic Forum's website.

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  • Top 10 Most Polluting Countries

    We look at which 10 countries have the most CO2 emissions. Figure are preliminary 2010 numbers from the U.S. government's <a href="http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/perlim_2009_2010_estimates.html" target="_hplink">Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. </a> (Photo Getty Images)

  • #10 - Saudia Arabia

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 493,726 (Photo MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #9 - Canada

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 518,475 (Photo MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #8 - Korea

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 563,126 (Photo CHOI JAE-KU/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #7 - Iran

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 574,667 (Photo FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #6 - Germany

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 762,543 (Photo JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #5 - Japan

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 1,138,432 (Photo YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #4 - Russia

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 1,688,688 (Photo KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #3 - India

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 2,069,738 (Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • #2 - USA

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 5,492,170 (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

  • #1 - China

    Estimated CO2 Emissions in 2010 (in thousands of metric tonnes): 8,240,958 (Photo PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)