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World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 15 October 2018
  • Author: Shannon T. Carroll, Director, Global Environmental Sustainability, AT&T

In June, my colleagues at AT&T and I traveled to Laredo and took a 90-minute bus ride into the Texas countryside to join NextEra Energy Resources for a ground-breaking celebration at a new AT&T-backed wind energy center that is expected to generate 300 megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable energy. The energy generated by this project, along with another 520 MW from two other sites in Texas and one in Oklahoma, will save carbon equivalent to taking more than 530,000 vehicles off the road each year.

It was an exciting moment, but as the dust from our shovels cleared the air, we knew that we were just getting started.

As one of the world’s largest companies, we know that how we source our energy is critical; our scale allows us to help enable a clean energy future. That’s why, at the beginning of the year, we announced that we are going big to deliver renewable energy, support educational programs, help create jobs and support America’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

How are we doing it?

It starts with one of the largest corporate renewable energy purchases in the United States. This year, we purchased 820 MW of wind energy between the sites in Laredo, Texas, and Oklahoma. These wind energy centers will also feature more than 200 wind turbines that use no water for power generation and will allow the land to remain in agricultural use.

While the benefits of renewable energy are clear, purchases of this size and scope are complex. AT&T worked hard on these agreements, and we have looked to groups like the Business Renewables Center and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance for their expertise in this space. We have also signed on to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, a group led by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). These Principles helped serve as a guiding light as we navigated these important – and large – purchases.

This investment will also help to strengthen the renewable energy workforce. Wind turbine technician is one of the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. From 2016-2026, job growth is projected to be more than 96 percent. That is one of the reasons why we announced a $50,000 contribution to Texas State Technical College (TSTC) to create the AT&T Wind Energy Scholarship fund.

The fund provides financial assistance for students earning a TSTC wind energy degree or certificate, and is open exclusively to students from counties with AT&T-backed wind energy centers (Webb, Duval, Wilbarger and Hardeman Counties). NextEra Energy Resources has committed to interviewing graduates of the TSTC program for future wind technician positions, as they become available, as well as internship opportunities.

We could not be more excited about our renewable energy commitment; it is a key component of our 10x Carbon Reduction Goal and is part of our larger commitment to the environment. We look forward to the road ahead.

Learn more about AT&T’s commitment at: www.att.com/renewable-energy 

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The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of WWF.

  • Date: 11 October 2018
  • Author: Sandra Vijn, Director Dairy, Markets & Food

Walmart’s Project Gigaton is a supplier-focused initiative to prevent one gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions across their global supply chain over 15 years (2015-2030). Project Gigaton aims to inspire suppliers to reduce emissions across their own operations and supply chains.

There are six pillars of Project Gigaton through which suppliers can reduce emissions: energy, agriculture, forests, packaging, waste, and product use. World Wildlife Fund works with Walmart on several of these pillars to help suppliers reach their sustainability targets, and, in turn, further WWF’s conservation mission. In this blog, Sandra Vijn, Director of Dairy at WWF, shares why the agriculture pillar is so important to Project Gigaton.

How does agriculture contribute to climate change and emissions outputs within a company’s supply chain?

Most greenhouse gases from the production of meat, dairy or eggs are emitted before the products leave the farm gate. Emissions are released by beef and dairy cows when they digest feed. Growing feed crops for animals also contributes to the GHG footprint, of which the majority comes from the production and application of fertilizer as well as the plowing of land for crop production. Lastly, manure from these animals releases significant amounts of GHG emissions.

Cows, however, can also help increase soil’s capacity to store carbon through managed grazing of perennial forage crops and native grasses. Feed crops, including corn, soy, and wheat, can also be managed in ways to improve soil health and store carbon through practices such as no-till, cover cropping and optimized fertilizer use. Opportunities and solutions exist today to reduce emissions from manure and enteric fermentation, which could be scaled up through knowledge sharing, financial support, and other incentives from processors, traders, and other supply chain stakeholders. Project Gigaton could be a platform where learnings about solutions can be shared.

Medium ww143521

If a supplier has already set an emissions reduction goal, what is the value of joining Project Gigaton?

Project Gigaton is a way for Walmart’s suppliers to get recognition for their GHG reduction efforts, allowing them to show how progress towards their own emissions reductions is contributing to the Project Gigaton target. At the same time, supplier participation provides the opportunity to leverage Walmart’s communications platforms and extensive reach to be more widely recognized as a business leader fighting climate change. Additionally, by joining Project Gigaton, suppliers can cumulatively show progress over time for their category; lifting all boats in the grocery aisle sends a powerful message to consumers.

When companies join Project Gigaton, they are provided access to resources that can help suppliers advance their goals, including tools that can help them track and report progress over time. If companies are already responding to the GHG emission CDP survey, they could opt to submit that CDP information to Walmart, which then gets credited towards the supplier’s participation in Project Gigaton.

If a supplier is just starting out on their sustainability journey, what needs to be done to get them ready to join Project Gigaton? Who can help?

Eligibility for joining Project Gigaton requires goal-setting, so this is where companies should start. To begin the goal-setting process, companies need to first understand the source of their carbon footprint by undertaking a materiality analysis or life cycle-based footprinting assessment to help show where their GHG emissions hotspots are across their supply chains. There are resources listed at the bottom of this blog that provide more insights into these hotspots for animal agriculture supply chains in the US. The tools included in Project Gigaton can help companies identify GHG emission baselines for their own supply chains and set targets accordingly.

Additionally, they can look to setting science-based targets, an initiative championed by NGOs and leading companies in which hundreds of firms are already participating.

Finally, companies must be SMART about the goals they set for Project Gigaton—that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-limited.

Suppliers can join Project Gigaton at any time through the Gigaton website. And if they are ready, they can report progress between October 1 and November 12, 2018.

Granchaco cattle summer2018

Can you give an example of a supplier who is really leading the way in agriculture?

Leading companies establish meaningful goals, publish strong sourcing policies, report transparently on their progress, engage collaboratively with suppliers, and seek practical, long-term opportunities to reduce GHG emissions across their supply chains.

For example, several dairy companies have set targets or are in the process of doing so while working with their supply chain partners to identify opportunities for GHG reduction. Schreiber Foods, a Wisconsin-based dairy company, is a supplier to Walmart with worldwide reach. Its participation in Project Gigaton sets an example of how a dairy company can set realistic and actionable targets. The company has had sustainability goals in place since 2008 and is currently going through the process of setting science-based targets in its operations and supply chain, while developing a strategy to work with its stakeholders to meet them.  General Mills, which has set science-based goals for GHG reduction across their entire enterprise including in its supply chain – a 28 percent reduction by 2025 – has worked with one of its suppliers to develop baselines for its milk supply, calculate sustainability impact, and drive continuous improvement through the FARM Environmental Stewardship module. General Mills continues to coordinate regular stakeholder meetings with its suppliers and expert resources to identify ways to reduce emissions collaboratively.  

What resources are available to help those already committed, those looking to commit, and those who feel there’s a barrier of entry for a supplier of their size.

Reporting on commitments is the cornerstone of Project Gigaton. Companies that have a significant share of GHG emissions from agriculture in their supply chains can look at the Project Gigaton reporting options to understand which tools they need or questions they can ask their own suppliers to start developing baselines and assess progress over time. 

Various organizations, including trade associations and NGOs, are instrumental in providing tools and resources to companies regarding GHG baselining and GHG reduction opportunity identification for animal and crop production, for example:

It’s also important to note that Project Gigaton has a very user-friendly, intuitive website so companies can easily access the information they need once they’re on board. Every target counts, and it’s important that all suppliers, especially small and mid-sized ones, know that they are an indispensable part of the solution.

You can join Project Gigaton by submitting your own emissions target, or by submitting goals that fall in one or more of the six pillars. Links to join can be found at: www.walmartsustainabilityhub.com/project-gigaton

  • Date: 10 October 2018

It’s no secret that as the world’s population continues to rise, so does our demand on its resources. Between growing incomes and the need to feed more people, the rate of consumption will continue to far outpace the systems necessary to manage this consumption. Because our waste systems simply can’t keep up, uncollected or leaked waste will continue to wreak havoc on the environment. Litter doesn’t just affect the beauty of our environment – it affects the health of ecosystems, biodiversity, and humans alike.

At World Wildlife Fund (WWF) we work to stop the flow of waste into nature, but we realize that changes are needed earlier in the material management system to eliminate the potential for massive downstream effects even before they become an issue. We need to develop innovative solutions that work to improve the entire system from the earliest stages of product development.

WWF’s Cascading Materials Vision is the foundation for what a holistic material management solution looks like. We’ve recently joined the NextGen Cup Consortium, led by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy and in cooperation with founding partners Starbucks and McDonalds, to help bring part of this vision to life through a multi-year initiative.

Launching this week is the Consortium’s inaugural initiative, the NextGen Cup Challenge, which will seek to transform one of the most recognizable single-use items: the paper cup. The challenge, managed by OpenIDEO, aims to catalyze ideation and action leading to the adoption of a new, sustainable, single-use cup that can be recycled or composted on a global scale. 

The challenge will analyze the cup as part of the larger system it fits into and designers will strive to create a new fiber cup that is one part of a more sustainable global waste management strategy.

While single-use cups are only part of our waste problem, this challenge is the Consortium’s first step in revolutionizing the recovery of materials in the packaging industry.

Why is this challenge necessary?

Most paper cups distributed today are sent to a landfill. Therefore, a critical piece of the challenge is designing a cup that can be recovered at the highest scale globally and across a range of regions that have different infrastructure systems. Ultimately the greenest cup is the one you bring with you, but until this practice becomes a cultural norm, we need to make sure our fast-moving consumer cups have minimal environmental impacts.

We produce over 250 billion paper cups each year. While these cups must always meet health and safety standards and be convenient, lightweight, printable, durable, and functional across a wide range of temperatures, there has never been enough pressure to source and produce these cups in a sustainable way. This challenge is necessary because the current cup is created and used on such a large scale that it has enormous waste management impacts. In addition, we are wasting valuable resources that could be given new life and we are constantly demanding virgin materials to produce more cups.

Technically, traditional paper cups (as well as almost anything), can be recycled if broken down physically or chemically. However, for recycling to actually occur on a meaningful scale, there must be value for the recovered material. The economics of recovery must be such that the value of the re-processed material is still higher than the costs of re-processing. In addition, there needs to be a large enough volume of the specific material to make it profitable. Therefore, the more uniformity in sustainable packaging materials, the easier it will be for a global system to recapture the value of the material.

Why is WWF involved?

Progress towards a global system of material recovery is exceptionally difficult due to the scale of the issue and the number of stakeholders that must be involved to achieve meaningful results. WWF not only recognizes the scale of this problem but also the enormous potential for positive change. As the world population grows, so does demand for goods and packaging and our natural resources suffer. Items such as paper cups are thrown away every day without regard to their potential value in a circular economy. Recovering materials such as single-use fiber cups means taking advantage of an opportunity to do more with less.

WWF serves as an advisory partner on the NextGen Cup Challenge because we look at environmental issues from a broad and comprehensive lens. WWF will provide guidance throughout the competition to ensure that as one environmental issue is being solved, others are not created. WWF’S ability to recognize and evaluate tradeoffs will help inform decisions made by the NextGen Cup Consortium and the team at WWF is already at work helping establish the criteria for a successful and sustainable fiber cup.

Join the challenge! Here’s how:

The NextGen Cup Challenge will officially launch on October 9 when entrepreneurs, designers, and companies are encouraged to submit proposals. Several phases, including reviews and refinement, will occur before the top ideas are announced in February 2019.

Moving Forward

The NextGen Consortium is actively looking to partner with other companies, as they recognize that increased support from other partners will trigger market signals that reverberate throughout the entire value chain. The paper cup is one of those challenging single use items whose re-design for recovery can open the door for wide-scale recovery of other single-use packaging. We know that the global solution to material waste will not be successful through individual attempts at solutions. We must collaborate on a systems approach to maximize our collective potential for success. We believe that, by inviting the full suite of actors to the table, the NextGen Consortium is talking strides towards a promising solution to single-use material waste.

To stay informed as the NextGen Cup challenge progresses, check out https://nextgenconsortium.com

  • Date: 02 October 2018
  • Author: Pete Pearson, Director of Food Waste

The expanding footprint of food and agriculture represents one of the biggest threats to biodiversity on the planet. Even more problematic, it’s estimated that the US wastes 63 million tons of food every year, and 90 percent or more of that ends up in a landfill where it causes potent greenhouse gas emissions. But go into most K-12 classrooms and the environmental impact of our food system probably isn’t a hot topic yet.

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) serves more than 31 million children in over 100,000 schools each day, while the School Breakfast Program (SBP) serves over 14 million – both providing free and reduced meals to eligible children. Last year, WWF conducted a pilot program in Washington, DC and engaged schools across the city to understand the best ways to reduce food waste in schools and ensure edible food doesn’t get tossed. To do this, WWF introduced the Food Waste Warrior curriculum, which works with teachers and student leaders to conduct food waste audits in their cafeteria and calculate the environmental impact of wasted food.

When we waste food, we waste the energy, water and often wildlife habitat that is sacrificed to grow that food – which means a food waste curriculum fits nicely with other topics. The Food Waste Warrior lesson plan can be paired with science, ecology, habitat conservation and sustainability curriculums, and it’s free for educators as part of WWF’s Wild Classroom platform.

Conducting regular student-led food waste audits can help schools better understand which foods are being wasted most and why. It also encourages participation from food service professionals to get students eating healthy and ensuring healthy food does not go to waste. As we went into schools, the WWF team worked to organize a comprehensive educational toolkit, which included the resources like the Guide to Conducting Student Food Waste Audits produced by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Melissa Terry of the University of Arkansas. These resources help to clarify rules and policies for share tables and food donation programs, which can be a source of confusion for school administrators.

What we found after going into cafeterias was that school food waste is a complex and challenging topic that requires diverse partnerships to tackle. Partnering with schools and introducing our lesson plan created a unique opportunity to leverage students' passion for wildlife and nature. However, it quickly became evident teachers can’t do this alone and need help to make these programs come to life.

To that end, WWF has teamed up with The Kroger Co. Foundation to gain support in expanding this program, which aligns with Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan. With Kroger’s help, we’re encouraging eight more cities across the US to take on this food waste reduction challenge. WWF is initiating a Request for Proposals (RFP) to the following cities: Seattle, Portland (OR), Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Columbus (OH), Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Nashville. Independent consultants and experienced organizations are encouraged to send proposals to organize food waste reduction programs in schools from January through June of 2019. The RFP can be found here.

In Atlanta, the program has already been kickstarted with an additional exciting grant from EPA Region 4. This will allow student food waste reduction to go further faster and serve as a guide for other cities and schools.

The Food Waste Warrior program attempts to get us all thinking differently about food and its impact on the planet. For many students, there is no connection between the food on their plate and wildlife and the environment. Teaching students, educators and food-service staff about the true value of food is now an imperative for our future generations if we want to ensure they inherit a healthy planet.

  • Date: 13 September 2018
  • Author: Steve Easterbrook, CEO, McDonald's and Carter Roberts, President & CEO, World Wildlife Fund

With each passing day, the world awakens to growing evidence that investing in sustainable business practices, clean energy and climate-smart agriculture isn’t just best for the planet – it’s good for companies and consumers.

This week, the Global Climate Action Summit – the first-ever global summit focused on non-federal climate leadership – kicks off in San Francisco. The Summit will bring business leaders together with mayors, governors and others from across the globe to share knowledge and chart a new path for climate ambition.

For businesses, this means committing to ambitious climate targets and crafting concrete plans to meet them. Earlier this year McDonald’s became the first global restaurant company to adopt a science-based climate target, which aims to prevent an estimated 150 million metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere by 2030. Science based targets help companies identify how much and how quickly they need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping the increase in average global temperatures below 2° Celsius (3.56° Fahrenheit). More than 125 companies have already adopted them, and more than 335 have committed to do so. But many more have yet to sign on.

The world’s largest companies can help lead the way. By becoming early adopters, they can help shift entire industries toward more sustainable practices and drive results on a scale that matters. 

McDonalds letter

As printed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 13 2018

Of course, setting targets is one thing. Meeting them is another. Strategies to meet climate targets will vary from sector to sector, but two in particular present exciting opportunities: shifting to renewable energy sources and adopting smarter land-use policies.

Large companies can leverage their collective buying power to directly purchase renewable energy to power their operations. Or, if they purchase electricity through a local utility, they can demand that their utility offer more renewable energy options. For example, there are over 20 special utility renewable energy options across 15 states, with large companies playing a big role in helping develop many of them. By driving a transformation of the electricity system, companies can help promote and scale renewable energy sources, all while reaping considerable savings and growing jobs.

How companies and their suppliers use land presents an effective and relatively untapped solution to climate change. From global food production and consumption, to forest management and infrastructure development, these practices produce 12 billion tons of emissions globally each year – greater than the emissions from cars, planes, trains, trucks and ships combined. But a new approach to land use that focuses on long term sustainability and growth instead of immediate, short-term returns can achieve 30 percent of the emissions reductions needed to fulfill the Paris Agreement. For example, companies can promote climate-friendly agricultural practices like cover crops and no-till farming. And they can help address supply chain impacts on deforestation.

Hundreds of companies like McDonald’s – along with the cities, states, regions and countries where they operate – have already begun to implement these solutions, and many others. More than 3,000 of these climate leaders have committed to helping America, and beyond, fulfill its pledges under the Paris Agreement as part of the We Are Still In coalition. Collectively, we represent half of American citizens and about half of the country’s total economic output.

The Global Climate Action Summit provides business leaders and others with the opportunity to learn from one another and commit to more aggressive goals. We urge business leaders around the world to join the move toward science-based climate targets, and to embrace renewable energy and land use solutions that will help them meet those targets. Together, we can strengthen our environment and foster a safe, sustainable planet for future generations. 

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This was originally published as an open letter in the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Date: 13 September 2018
  • Author: Sam Arons, Director of Sustainability at Lyft

Since 2017, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been part of Lyft’s Round Up & Donate program, which gives Lyft riders the option to round up their fare to the next dollar and donate the difference to WWF.

This year, Lyft’s been working to reduce its carbon footprint. As the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) takes place in San Francisco this week, WWF caught up with Lyft’s Director of Sustainability, Sam Arons, to learn more about the company’s commitments.

Sam Arons blue

Why does Lyft care about its environmental impact and making climate commitments?

Lyft was founded on the belief that technology will enable us to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from the transportation system while improving quality of life and access to opportunity for all Americans. We’re more determined now than ever before to make that vision a reality. We now give more than 10 million rides a week - and as we continue to grow, we have a greater responsibility to dedicate material resources to our vision and values.

In the future, all vehicles will be electric and operate using clean electricity. But climate change is not waiting. It’s happening now, and it presents a clear and immediate threat to our world and those who live in it. Action cannot wait. That's why we took the important steps to immediately offset the carbon emissions from all rides globally - and earlier this week, we announced that Lyft is now a fully carbon neutral company. We have also committed to purchase enough renewable energy to cover the electricity consumption of every Lyft office space, driver hub, and electric vehicle mile on our platform.

These actions are not the full solution, but an important step forward. By committing significant financial resources to these efforts, we’re building into our business a strong incentive to pursue shared rides and the displacement of gasoline-powered vehicles. The more shared rides and clean vehicles on the platform, the fewer carbon offsets we will need to purchase.

As a company whose business model relies on cars, what steps are you taking to reduce emissions?

Back in April, just before Earth Day, Lyft announced that we would be offsetting the carbon emissions from our rides And this week for GCAS, we’ve doubled down on that commitment by announcing that Lyft is now a fully carbon neutral company, and that we’re covering 100% of our electricity consumption, including EV charging, with renewable energy.  What we’ve effectively done is imposed a carbon price on ourselves as a way to drive CO2 out of our business. We’re excited about this for a few reasons. First of all, we think it’s important to take responsibility for our environmental impact, and this was a way to step up and do that right away.

How do you plan to achieve your carbon offset commitment?

When we started this project, we obtained a partner to help us build a portfolio of offset projects that would be in the right places and volumes to offset all ride emissions. These offset projects were selected after rigorous vetting. That’s how we kicked off the project. Since the announcement and selecting the projects, we have been buying the offsets on an ongoing basis to cover the emissions as they occur.

Do you work with others across industry? If so, what steps are you taking to drive the industry forward?

“We’re already starting to have the conversations that will bring a whole ecosystem of different players together to achieve this electrified future.”

Sam Arons
Director of Sustainability at Lyft

Lyft is part of several different industries, two major ones being the transportation industry and the tech industry. It’s important to us to work across both, and with our colleagues in local and state governments. One area where this will be particularly important is with electric vehicles. EVs will be a very important piece in the future of our sustainability program at Lyft. At the end of the day, it’s good to be offsetting carbon emissions, and we’re very proud that we’re doing that, but that can’t be the ultimate answer. We need to eliminate emissions to begin with rather than emit and then have to offset. To do that, we’ll need all our rides to be in electric vehicles that are charged from renewable energy to have no emissions at all. Achieving this will require working with auto manufacturers who will be the ones to create more models of vehicles that have sufficient range for a ride-sharing application – about 200 miles at a minimum. We’ll also work with electric utilities who will provide the grid infrastructure that can support more charging stations, and with third-party charging providers to get those stations deployed. And we’ll need to work with state and local governments on permitting and placement of charging stations. We’re already starting to have the conversations that will bring a whole ecosystem of different players together to achieve this electrified future.
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The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of WWF.

  • Date: 12 September 2018
  • Author: Sophie Beckham, Senior Manager of Natural Capital Stewardship at International Paper
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I’m neck deep in a big BIG project – leading the development of the next generation of sustainability goals that will help International Paper achieve our vision: to be among the most successful, sustainable and responsible companies in the world. It’s both exciting and overwhelming, and sometimes I need a break just to regain perspective. My go-to activity is to head out for a run on the Mountains-to-Sea trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway near my office. Running through some of the most biologically diverse forest ecosystems in the world does wonders for me both mentally and physically. And being in that environment helps me consider the future of forests and the role my company plays in securing it. 

People around the world rely on forests to survive and thrive. That includes the people at International Paper. As one of the largest pulp, paper and packaging producers, International Paper’s entire business depends upon the sustainability of forests. It is in our best interest to invest in the long-term sustainability of natural resources and to advance actions that ensure forests everywhere are sustained at levels well above their ecological tipping points (the point at which forests can no longer provide us with the services that people, animals, and the environment need).

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) shares this vision, and in June 2018, WWF and IP launched a project that will help identify what quantity and quality of forest land is needed both globally and regionally to ensure forests provide people, plants and animals with the clean air and water, food, and other services they need to thrive. What’s unique about this project is that it will advance the concept of science-based targets for forests.

Science-based targets will help inform the first comprehensive list of actions that companies, governments, NGOs and others can take together and individually—inside and outside current supply chain needs—to sustain forests and keep them well above their ecological tipping points. These “forest positive” actions could include investing in responsible forest management, restoring forests, supporting jurisdictional approaches to forest conservation, and engaging with policy-makers and consumers on forest-related issues.

The project asks three key questions:

  • What quantity and quality of forests will we need to maintain healthy, productive forests for people and nature?
  • What role will governments, companies and others need to play to realize this future?
  • What kind of strategic actions and partnerships will it take to be successful?

We are excited to build on our participation in WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network program through this significant and strategic initiative to develop the world's first regional and global science-based targets for forests, as well as the first comprehensive set of guidance on forest positive actions. We invite others to join us in the process.

As I run along my local forest trails, I am optimistic that others around the world, for generations to come, will also be able to enjoy all that their local forests have to offer, thanks in part to the collaborative efforts of International Paper and WWF.

  • Date: 10 September 2018
  • Author: Martha Stevenson and Linda Walker of WWF's Forest Team

Walmart’s Project Gigaton is a supplier-focused initiative to prevent one gigaton of greenhouse gas emissions across their global supply chain over 15 years (2015-2030). Project Gigaton aims to inspire suppliers to reduce emissions across their own operations and supply chains.

There are six pillars of Project Gigaton through which suppliers can reduce emissions: energy, agriculture, forests, packaging, waste, and product use. World Wildlife Fund works with Walmart on several of these pillars to help suppliers reach their targets. In this blog, Martha Stevenson, Director of Forest Strategy and Research, and Linda Walker, Director of Responsible Forestry and Trade, share why the forests pillar is so important to Project Gigaton.

What’s the connection between forests, corporate supply chains, and GHG emissions? 

Forests can be both a source and a sink of GHG emissions in a company’s supply chain.

Globally, land use change contributes 12 percent of emissions.  Much of that comes from deforestation, driven largely by forest clearing and subsequent burning to expand agricultural production, particularly in tropical regions to produce commodities like beef, soy, palm oil and pulp.

Forest degradation is another source of emissions, which occur largely from illegal or unsustainable forest management practices, including things like “high-grading” (cutting only the highest value trees of a few species) and careless harvesting, which can damage soils and streams. These practices degrade the forests’ ability to provide water filtration, wildlife habitat and carbon storage.  

Forests also sequester carbon emissions – meaning they suck carbon back out of the atmosphere as they grow and store it in the trees. In fact, trees are one of the best large scale “technologies” that can do this in the world today. Project Gigaton includes opportunities for companies to support forest restoration and harness tree regrowth for climate benefits. Healthy forests not only absorb carbon and help slow climate change, but they also provide for the livelihoods of the 1.6 billion people who depend on them every day.

If a supplier has already set an emissions reduction goal what is the value of joining Project Gigaton?

We are entering a phase of collaboration in the forest, food and land sector that is essential to moving the needle on land sector emissions reductions. There are hundreds of companies who have goals to avoid deforestation and forest degradation and who are working in and across their supply chains to achieve those goals – but they are hitting barriers. By joining Project Gigaton, suppliers will obtain support in accomplishing their land sector avoided deforestation and climate goals. The corporate sector can be incredibly powerful in making change – particularly when working together with governments, local interest groups and local producers in forested landscapes. For companies who have not yet been active in climate conversations but have been watching and wanting to get involved, joining Project Gigaton is an opportunity to dive in and test out some new approaches in projects like restoration initiatives.

What support do companies get from Project Gigaton?

When companies join Project Gigaton, they are provided access to resources that can help companies advance their goals – from linking up with certified products to finding new verification and validation tools. Companies are also able to tap into collective efforts we’re calling landscape and jurisdictional approaches – where they can work together in a landscape to help advance goals to stop deforestation or support restoration projects together with governments and local groups. Within Project Gigaton there are built-in supports and pre-vetted opportunities, so companies don’t have to go out and start those relationships on their own.

If a supplier is considering joining and making a commitment under the energy pillar, should they also be considering the other pillars? What’s the value in signing up across the platform?

What pillars a company joins through Project Gigaton really depends on what type of company it is and where emissions occur in the supply chain. For example, for a food, forest or land-intensive supply chain, companies should look at the agricultural, forest, and waste pillars. But most importantly, companies sign up in the places that are meaningful for them and get the tools and resources they need to succeed.

Who's an example of a supplier that is really leading the way on forests?

Companies who publish strong sourcing policies and goals, report transparently on progress, engage collaboratively with suppliers on solutions and seek opportunities to protect or restore forested landscapes outside of near-term supply chain needs, are leading the way.  Kimberly-Clark, who manufactures brands like Kleenex and Cottonelle, is an excellent example, including through an innovative campaign to engage consumers about responsible forestry and its support for long-term protection of working forests in the Southeastern US.

You can join Project Gigaton by submitting your own emissions target, or by submitting goals that fall in one or more of the six pillars. Links to join can be found at: www.walmartsustainabilityhub.com/project-gigaton

  • Date: 07 August 2018
  • Author: Wendy Goyert, Lead Specialist, Latin America Fisheries in Transition

On August 7, 2018, The Bahamas’ spiny lobster fishery became the first Caribbean fishery to earn certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, the leading global standard for wild-caught seafood environmental performance.

Since 2009, World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy have collaborated with The Bahamas Marine Exporters Association, Bahamas Department of Marine Resources and fishermen to ensure the health of the spiny lobster stock, reduce the impact of fishing on the marine environment, and improve the overall management of the fishery.

With the certification, the lobster tails are now eligible to carry the MSC blue fish label, recognized by many consumers as a mark of products sourced with higher environmental standards.

To achieve certification, The Bahamas lobster fishery has been engaged in a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), which provides a step-by-step approach to bring fishery management practices up to the MSC standard, which WWF suggests should be regarded as the minimum standard for environmental performance. Large seafood companies often provide critical support for FIPs by leveraging their buying power to boost FIP participation among fishermen and exporters, by engaging local government agencies to improve policy, and by providing financial support. Many large companies provided such support in The Bahamas, namely Costco Wholesale, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Corporation, The Kroger Co., SUPERVALU Inc., and Tequesta Bay Foods, Inc.

“FIPs are a really good tool to get fisheries to MSC certification. It lays out a series of steps with definable goals and a timetable,” said Bill Mardon, seafood buyer for Costco. “And there is a reward at the end of the line: fisheries that can produce for many years to come.”

With support from U.S. companies like Costco and Tequesta Bay, the FIP achieved several important goals to earn the MSC certification, including:

  • Conducting a peer-reviewed stock assessment and establishing a data collection and management system to monitor the health of the lobster stock;
  • Establishing a public forum for stakeholders to participate in the management of the lobster fishery;
  • Instituting a zero-tolerance policy for undersized lobster for The Bahamas Marine Exporters Association;
  • Analyzing the monitoring and control of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing to ensure that the level of deterrence is appropriate for the fishery’s value; and
  • Developing a lobster harvest strategy, a fishery management plan, and procedures to review the performance of the lobster fishery management.

“In order for us to have a healthy business model, we need healthy fisheries,” added Rafael Bru, president of Tequesta Bay Foods. “It’s sound business.”

Spiny lobster is an important commercial species in The Bahamas. The $90 million Bahamian lobster industry employs about 9,000 fishers who cover a massive 45,000 square miles of ocean. More than 6 million pounds of spiny lobster tails are sold commercially each year. Capped at 5 million pounds, exports go primarily to the United States and Europe.

“We eagerly accept the MSC stamp of approval,” said Mia Isaacs, president of The Bahamas Marine Exporters Association. “It's been a collaborative effort and we are thankful to all the stakeholders, especially the fishermen. As we continually improve our spiny lobster fishery, we aim for product of The Bahamas to become synonymous with strength, collaboration and sustainability. MSC certification is a proud accomplishment. Congratulations, Bahamas! We did it!”

 

 

  • Date: 18 June 2018

Monarch butterflies embark on a marvelous migratory journey. Annually, they travel nearly 3,000 miles from the United States and Canada to their hibernation grounds in Mexico. These travelers arrive at the beginning of November and stay for five months at the Oyamel Fir forest of central Mexico before they migrate back North. Sadly, each year fewer monarchs make that journey as their population has drastically decreased due to climate change and depletion of milkweed along their migratory route, which is the only plant where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. 

 The latest survey of the monarch’s winter habitat in Mexico is a stark reminder that this species is in need of protection. The number of monarch butterflies that spent the winter in forests in Mexico fell for a second straight year, according to the survey conducted every winter at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. 

 WWF and our partners on the ground in Mexico are working to reverse this trend. Together, we are committed to protecting vital monarch butterfly habitat by countering illegal logging efforts, working with local communities and authorities on sustainable forest management, providing training for sustainable tourism, and leading sustainable projects such as tree nurseries that help restore butterfly forest and mushroom production. These measures have also helped to provide additional income to local communities that share the forest with the monarch butterflies. 

 As part of our efforts to save the monarch butterfly, WWF and world-renowned chef José Andrés are joining forces for the second year in a row to raise awareness and funds for these butterflies. During June 18 – 24, José Andrés’ DC-based restaurant, Oyamel, will feature special dishes inspired by the region in Mexico where migratory monarch butterflies overwinter. As part of the initiative, Oyamel will donate a portion of proceeds from a special Monarch Week menu to support WWF's work to protect the monarch butterflies. A selection of items from the menu for Monarch Week include: 

  • Mojito Sandía - Mint-charged rum, lime, watermelon 
  • Ensalada de Farro- Anson Mills farro salad with a cucumber pipián, pea shoots, peas, green beans, spiced pumpkin seeds and queso fresco
  • Buñuelo - Crispy fried butterfly cookie, piloncillo, candied pumpkin seeds, orange granita and vanilla ice cream

“During my many visits to Mexico to learn more about its regional cuisines, I heard about the beautiful forest in Central Mexico filled with Oyamel fir trees, where hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies journey every year. I am captivated by this amazing creature, but I also know that it faces an uphill battle for survival. That is why I am proud to participate with my Mexican restaurant Oyamel in Monarch Butterfly Week. We will be partnering with WWF’s Monarch Squad to support the vital work of WWF as they rally 1 million supporters to come together and help save the migratory monarch butterfly.”

José
Andrés

In addition to Monarch Week at Oyamel, Chef Andrés acts as WWF’s Monarch Squad Champion by raising awareness about this species and encouraging fans to do their part to protect this migratory miracle. In the US, WWF has set a bold goal of getting one million supporters to join the Monarch Squad, to help save the monarch habitat by reducing habitat conversion and the use of herbicides along its migratory route in the US. Join José Andrés and learn more about WWF’s Monarch Squad here

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