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Transforming Business

Overview

As market demand for food and fiber increases in the coming decades, so will the impact on our planet’s natural resources. Unsustainable agriculture and illegal logging have nearly depleted the forests of Borneo and Sumatra. Asia's Coral Triangle is under threat from over-fishing and rising sea temperatures.

A continent away, deforestation in the Amazon is closely linked to expanding livestock and soy. Population growth and increased income and consumption, particularly in the developing world, make it imperative that businesses source, process and manage these resources more sustainably to meet this growing demand while preserving the planet.

As great as these challenges are, there is enormous potential to improve the production of the commodities with the most significant impact on the places and species WWF seeks to protect, while creating opportunities for business. WWF takes a variety of steps to ensure our finite planet is able to house, feed, and clothe an increasing population while preserving our natural environment.

Pursuing and Achieving Sustainable Solutions for Plastics

Plant-based plastics, if responsibly produced from renewable resources in an efficient manner can provide more viable solutions over fossil-based resources if these risks are addressed.

bulrush in field

Why It Matters

  • Importance of forests

    Forests are a vital resource for life on earth. They provide invaluable environmental, social and economic benefits to us all. Forests improve air and water quality, reduce soil erosion and act as a buffer against global warming. The forest industry also generates over $168 billion in global trade through wood products. Every business interacts with the forest industry on some level because of high levels of demand for timber and paper.

  • Healthy Oceans

    Well-managed and sustainable fishing is essential for healthy oceans, ecosystems and biodiversity worldwide. The global fishing industry employs around 200 million people and generates $80 billion each year. Sustainable and responsible fishing methods maintain catch at regeneration levels, reduce the amount of bycatch, allow declining species to recover, and keep the delicate balance of marine ecosystems intact.

  • Food Production and Land Use

    According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the world’s population will reach 9 billion by the year 2050, and the demand for food will double. This increased demand will put incredible pressure on existing agricultural, aquaculture and fishing resources. The strain to produce crops and sell food at affordable levels will impact the world’s poor. These challenges require action from all levels including local communities, industry leaders, governments, and non-governmental organizations. Only by working together can we achieve the innovations and new technologies needed to feed, house, clothe and transport the world and maintain a living planet.

  • Fresh Water

    Fresh water is vital to life and yet it is a finite resource. Of all the water on Earth, just 3% is fresh water. Although critical to natural and human communities, fresh water is threatened by a myriad of forces including overdevelopment, polluted runoff and global warming. WWF works with businesses to improve the way water is managed to ensure adequate water for local people and ecosystems and fair distribution of water among different water users.

  • Climate and Energy

    Climate change poses a fundamental threat to the places, species and people’s livelihoods WWF works to protect. To adequately address this crisis we must urgently reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the consequences of global warming, which we are already experiencing. The report The 3% Solution: Driving Profits Through Carbon Reductions helps U.S. businesses chart a new path forward that is tremendously profitable, practical and helps curb climate change. Written and researched with CFOs in mind, The 3% Solution is the climate solution that businesses and sustainability stakeholders have been searching for.

What WWF Is Doing

Bold action is required to solve these challenges at the scale and pace they require. Practices of the companies that have a disproportionate level of influence over some of the world’s most important habitats and natural resources need to be transformed.

Rather than trying to educate 7 billion consumers or improve the practices of 1.5 billion producers, the most efficient way to effect change is to work with this handful of companies – about 100 in total.

Together they buy and sell 25 percent of the commodities with the greatest impact on WWF’s priority places. And this demand can shift 40-50% of global production. By engaging these companies, WWF helps them achieve positive and measurable benefits for their businesses, while creating conservation impacts where they matter most.

Reducing Impacts

WWF engages with major companies and their supply chains to change the way global commodities are produced, processed, consumed, and financed worldwide. Working with these companies, WWF seeks to reduce the negative impact that these commodities and sectors have on the most ecologically important places and species on Earth. Transforming how goods are sourced and processed provides benefits to our planet and can result in tangible gains for businesses by securing their means of production and access to raw materials over the long term.

Palm Oil Plantation, Borneo
 MSC certified sustainable seafood

Increasing pressure on resources is linked to rising global demand for food, fiber and fuel, and equally to where and how global industries obtain vital commodities. On a finite planet, WWF recognizes that we cannot solve this challenge alone. We create solutions that bring together large international companies, industry sectors, manufacturers, buyers, retailers, other non-governmental organizations, scientists and governments to create a more sustainable future for us all.

 

Coca-Cola sign, Upper Catchment, Lake Naivasha, Kenya

Companies can have a major impact on the critical places we work to protect through their products, practices, supply chains, and business models. However, business and industry can also be part of the solution in driving positive change. WWF works to harness the power of the global marketplace into a force for conservation. By engaging with companies to advance sustainable production and consumption, WWF helps reduce their impact, which protects endangered species and preserves the planet’s rich biodiversity and ecosystem services for future generations. This work protects the Earth and is the basis for a better business model. More sustainable supply chains, more efficient means of production and better risk management are in everyone’s best interest.

Projects

  • The 3% Solution

    A report from WWF and CDP—The 3% Solution: Driving Profits Through Carbon Reductions—helps U.S. businesses chart a new path forward. This path is tremendously profitable, practical and helps curb climate change.

Experts

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