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World Wildlife Fund On Balance

  • Date: 15 November 2017
  • Author: Cynthia Cummis, Director Of Private Sector Climate Mitigation, World Resources Institute

Country negotiators are in the spotlight at UN climate negotiations in Bonn. But the private sector will be represented at COP23 as well, particularly from the United States.

Major U.S. corporations are stepping up on climate action because they understand the grave risk this threat poses to their customers and bottom lines. Increasingly, they are taking bold action to do their part to solve the problem. 

To date, 57 U.S.-based companies, including 35 Fortune 500 companies, have committed to science-based targets, which align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius. And despite the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back climate protections, a new report from America’s Pledge shows how U.S. businesses have affirmed their commitment to reduce emissions and build a clean energy economy, including through the “We Are Still In” declaration with over 1,700 businesses and growing.

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So how do companies translate targets into changes in the real world?

First, they start by looking for ways to improve internal operations. Then they can go even further through efforts to reduce value chain emissions, which are often significantly greater than those from their operations and can have a positive ripple effect across a wide circle of companies around the world.

Change the Things I Can

To slash emissions from internal operations, companies need to incorporate both energy efficiency and renewable energy into their strategies. Take HP, Inc for example. HP, Inc. set a science-based target to reduce emissions from global operations 25 percent by 2025, compared to 2015 levels. To get there, they’re focusing on improving energy efficiency in their facilities and transportation fleets, and shifting to solar and wind technology.

In their own buildings, they’ve deployed cost-effective advanced energy savings systems. Retrofitting just three of their facilities (in Boise, Idaho; Corvallis, Oregon; and Singapore) cut a cumulative 8.8 million kWh of energy use annually, avoiding carbon emissions on par with the annual usage of 700 American homes. 

They’re also driving toward a more efficient auto fleet, planning to reduce emissions from their auto fleet by 10 percent by 2025, compared to 2015 levels. In Europe, HP has already reduced fleet average GHG emissions by using more energy-efficient vehicles. They even relocated their European transit hub to Greece based on cost and emissions savings.  All of these efforts help HP chip away at achieving its science-based emission reduction target.

HP is also shifting toward less GHG-intensive energy sources, including increased use of on-site and off-site renewable power. Through the RE100 initiative, they set a goal to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity use in their global operations, with an interim target of 40 percent by 2020 -- just two years from now. (Fun fact: 44 of 114 RE100 companies are also part of the Science-Based Targets initiative.)

Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP, said, “Setting science-based targets helps ensure our business is resilient, ready for climate change and prepared to adapt to the changing regulatory and business environment.”

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Driving Reductions Through the Value Chain

For many companies, a large portion of their overall footprint happens in the value chain, such as the raw materials that go into their products. The Science Based Targets initiative requires companies with large value chain footprints to set ambitious reduction targets for their scope 3 emissions, leading many companies to conduct scope 3 inventories and set scope 3 targets for the first time.

To meet its scope 3 target of one billion tons of emission reductions by 2030, Walmart is asking its global network of more than 3,000 suppliers to participate in the Project Gigaton initiative. Using a supplier sustainability platform and emissions reductions toolkit, Walmart encourages its suppliers to focus their efforts on what their data tells them are the most important areas: energy, agriculture, waste, packaging, deforestation and product use and design.

As Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, the global ripple effect will be huge. Recently, Walmart supplier and Pakistan’s biggest exporter of home textile products, Yunus Textile Mills Limited, became the first Pakistani company to commit to setting a science-based target. Other Walmart suppliers are now considering participating in the initiative.

Kellogg Company is also engaging its suppliers to achieve its goal of reducing absolute value chain emissions 50 percent by 2050, compared to 2015. They’ve designed over 45 programs to help farmers around the world decrease their carbon footprint, and committed to help half a million farmers implement smart agricultural practices focused on emission reduction and resilience. They are also asking their suppliers to respond to CDP’s annual supply chain questionnaire.

“We are collating research and aggregating learning from best practices, and then sharing back with individual farmers so they can benefit from the collective information,” said Amy Braun Senter, Sustainability Director at Kellogg.

Unstoppable Momentum

A growing number of companies see the benefits of increasing the ambition of reduction efforts for their operations and engaging with their value chain to drive significant reductions. The proliferation of science-based target setting among major U.S. companies reflects the unstoppable momentum behind corporate climate action and the strong business case for doing so.

This blog was originally posted by the World Resources Institute. Link here.

  • Date: 31 October 2017
  • Author: Chad Strickert, Global Commodity Manager, General Motors

How can companies use their scale and influence on the market place to help protect the natural resources—forests, rivers and more—that people rely on to survive?

At General Motors, we spend about two-thirds of our operating expenses on materials – buying parts for vehicles. Those parts come from about 20,000 different suppliers, and we ship those goods to more than 30 countries. If we can even make incremental improvements in our supply chain, we can create impact.

When WWF approached us earlier this year to discuss the state of the global rubber industry, from deforestation to the human and labor rights issues in the plantations, we wanted to help. After all, rubber is a key commodity for us; vehicle use is its dominant source; and production occurs primarily in one part of the world, southeast Asia, which is home to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife and largest forests. To us, this means high impact, high opportunity.

Our mission became clear: use our purchasing power to signal demand for change.

The result was a commitment, made public in May, that the tires we buy will only include sustainable natural rubber, meaning they did not contribute to deforestation and the suppliers sourcing it uphold ethical business and labor practices. Progress will take time, but we see a business case in protecting a key commodity that supports millions of people’s livelihoods in emerging economies.

We teamed up with our four main tire suppliers, who have already been working on various solutions. We knew that if we wanted to go fast, we could do it alone, simply requiring mandates and driving a set of policies that work for us. But a handful of tire manufacturers produce tires for the world’s major automakers. It doesn’t make sense for each car company to have its own set of standards. This is not a competitive area. If we want to drive efficiency and scale, we must work together.

This commitment is about going far and transforming our industry. We are collaborating with other automakers, communities, governments, about 85,000 farmers, and NGOs like WWF and BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) to accelerate the movement. The chain of custody for natural rubber is extremely complex, so it will require all of us offering our individual insights and expertise.

In the past, we would work with our tier 1 suppliers who supply directly to us. Now we are starting to look more holistically at our value chain and use our buying power to mitigate potential risks and even create new opportunities.

Our drivers here are equal parts environment, business and society. We can help create efficiencies and expand capabilities to improve rubber plantations, which will lower cost. We can facilitate greater traceability that ensures ethical business practices.

This initiative will put policies in place that will help curb human rights violations and change the way we manage our natural resources with respect to tires. Developing this commitment is an opportunity for GM and myself to be a part of something special, impacting millions of people all over the world.

It’s an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than I ever dreamed possible.

  • Date: 26 October 2017

One year ago, Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced the conclusion of the first phase of the AgWater Challenge. Inspired by the “Feeding Ourselves Thirsty” analysis, the Challenge brought together companies in the food and beverage industry to reduce water risks in their supply chains and their impacts on local watersheds.

Representing over $123 billion in annual net revenue, these seven companies – Diageo, General Mills, Hain Celestial Group, Hormel Foods, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo and DanoneWave (formerly WhiteWave Foods) – leveraged the Challenge to review their programs and policies and share their experiences with each other. In total, they developed 18 new commitments to reduce water impacts associated with agricultural commodities along their supply chains.

But it didn’t stop there.

As discussed on the SIWI Sofa at World Water Week in August, we spent the last year continuing to work with the AgWater stewards to better understand the challenges and opportunities they experienced along the way.

One takeaway was clear: all AgWater participants realized the need to view water holistically. They agreed that water must be a fundamental integrated piece of a rich sustainability portfolio. And an integrated approach – one that includes not only water but also carbon, soil and social benefits – is more successful over the long-term and creates a much stronger business case with farmers and senior management.

AgWater participants PepsiCo and Diageo offered specific insights on lessons learned for companies starting out on their water stewardship journeys:

LESSON 1: Taking a Holistic Approach to Water Risk

PepsiCo, the global food and beverage company, understands the importance of taking a holistic perspective of water-related risk within its supply chain. When developing their global water strategy agenda, they looked across direct and indirect water use. Their detailed, comprehensive assessment process gave them an understanding of where they faced high water risk and a targeted view of local watersheds. The result was the realization that, in addition to quantitative targets on water use efficiency, wastewater quality, WASH, and watershed replenishment, the heart of the water strategy needed to be a goal to advocate for strong water governance in local watersheds. This goal is the centerpiece of PepsiCo’s program and the launching point for much of what the company seeks to accomplish on water stewardship. 

LESSON 2: Large Scale Assessment Requires Flexible Approach

PepsiCo anchors its agricultural agenda behind the Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI), a program to assess and support positive economic, social and environmental outcomes on farms where it directly sources agricultural products. Securing a quantitative assessment around the impact of their work when deploying across thousands of farmers proved challenging. To address this issue, they rely upon a combination of two approaches – a qualitative assessment and a theory of change impact assessment. The theory of change assessment will allow PepsiCo to systematically understand the impact of their efforts where opportunities to create positive change exist.

LESSON 3: Building the Business Case Is a Key to Success

Diageo’s water strategy includes a focus on their agricultural supply chain in water stressed markets. One of Diageo’s most important AgWater successes to date was achieving a better understanding of, and convening a coalition around, the value of providing access to clean water and sanitation in its agricultural growing areas in Africa.

LESSON 4: Relationships Come First

Earlier this year, Diageo launched a pilot project in Tanzania to develop a series of modules to help smallholder farmers manage water more effectively. The project was a collaborative effort with Water Witness International and German agency GIZ. It resulted from an Alliance for Water Stewardship assessment of a brewery supply chain there. Diageo confirmed that although smallholder farmers had clear water risks to deal with, they couldn’t approach them with an agenda focused solely around water.

To secure water in the face of growing demand, we need more companies to take meaningful actions like these. While the most recent “Feeding Ourselves Thirsty” report confirmed there has been progress — an average improvement of 10 percent in how companies score — since monitoring began in 2015, there’s still a long way to go. Through collaborative efforts like the AgWater Challenge, we can address corporate supply chain water risk for the benefit of people, planet and profits.

  • Date: 25 October 2017
  • Author: Chris McLaren, Chief Marketing Officer, Forest Stewardship Council-US

Consumers increasingly want to buy from brands that are environmentally responsible - and many forward-thinking companies have responded by embracing sustainability. However, there remains a disparity between the extensiveness of brands’ sustainability pursuits and the extent to which they share their journey with consumers.

There is abundant research showing consumer support for sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). For example, consulting firm Roland Berger recently found that 75 percent of consumers take sustainability into account when making purchases, noting that, “for millennials, CSR is the new religion.”

Meanwhile the corporate adoption path is becoming increasingly well-worn. Goals are set, considering corporate culture and values; plans are made and executed internally across sourcing, energy, water and waste, then across the supply chain; progress reports are issued. However, while such reporting is geared toward investors, as well as business and environmental media, it almost never targets customers, and this is increasingly becoming a barrier to progress.

Yes, there are challenges. Touting new sustainable products can inadvertently shine a light on one’s other “less sustainable” offerings. Sustainability may not always be an easily prioritized message. And it can raise consumer expectations, risking a disconnect if supply chains shift.

Rather than an argument for silence, these challenges speak to the need to be strategic about consumer engagement – because today’s consumers have made it clear that they increasingly want to hear how and why brands are making progress. And, as noted in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, if we are to have any hope of fully tackling the challenges facing our planet, brands need to help in changing consumer behavior.  

Consider forest products. We know forests are critical to life on earth: They store carbon, maintain water quality and protect soil from erosion. Forests also contain more biological diversity than any other habitat.

Yet right now, trade in illegal forest products is as much as $100 billion each year, according to Interpol. And much legal forest management around the world – including here in the US – permits forest degradation. Without stronger efforts to inform consumer behavior, purchasing choices will tend toward the status quo - and opportunities for brands to create stronger relationships with customers will go unrealized.

The good news is that some companies are showing the way forward, though more consumer outreach is needed.

In June of this year, Kimberly-Clark – owner of iconic brands such as Kleenex, Scott, Viva and Cottonelle – launched a three-year campaign with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to promote the importance of choosing products from responsibly-managed forests. Known as “Heart Your Planet,” the campaign goal is to “drive more awareness among consumers of the importance of choosing responsibly-sourced tissue products by looking for FSC certification,” according to Jay Gottlieb, president of Family Care for Kimberly-Clark North America.

In another example, McDonald’s has transitioned all of its US stores to FSC-certified and -labeled hot cups, as part of its 2020 goal to source all of its fiber-based packaging from recycled or certified responsibly managed forests where no deforestation occurs. This massive undertaking has put the fast food chain out front in its category.

Giving already-aware consumers a chance to make a difference through purchases is valuable, but the next step – the next sustainability frontier – is to do more to effectively educate consumers, bringing them along on the journey. Research shows that 9 out of 10 consumers who know the FSC story are more likely to purchase an FSC-labeled product – so the key to maximizing impact is to pair the FSC label with content that explains its significance, and ideally, its context in a brand’s overall sustainability story. This is how a virtuous cycle can be created that drives value for customers, companies and our planet.

By changing the long-held paradigm that assumes a tradeoff between financial and environmental performance, we can bring the consumer along in understanding that sustainability is driven by the same sound-business, customer-first mentality that made brands great in the first place. For me, that is today’s greatest opportunity.

  • Date: 16 October 2017
  • Author: Ron Cotterman, Sealed Air and Judith Hochhauser Schneider, WWF

A key premise of the China Food Security Initiative is that addressing the issues of environmental impact, food security and food waste cannot be separated from effective supply chain management. From farming right down to consumption, each private and public entity including the consumer plays a critical role in enhancing food security and reducing food waste. At stake is not only the conservation of precious environment and natural resources, but also reducing cross-contamination and risk of epidemic outbreak of diseases such as the H7N9 bird flu.

This is why the program’s scope takes into consideration the entire supply chain, from in-depth research to engaging key players across each step of the supply chain. A key deliverable of the program was to develop guidelines and best management practices across China’s poultry supply chain to support the government and industry in building a more efficient model that is also safer and more sustainable.

“The rising global demand for food, driven by a growing middle class that can afford more meat, is putting pressure on natural resources. With intensified pressure from climate change, limiting food waste is a critical step the food industry and consumers can take to reduce the resources needed to produce food. As China imports feed from other countries, higher poultry demand drives higher demand for feed which impacts agriculture and resource use.”

Judith Hochhauser Schneider
Director for Private Sector Engagement, WWF-US

Utilizing baseline research that included an in-depth study of East China’s poultry supply chain as well as a lifecycle assessment of the environmental impact of different production methods, a Best Practices Management (BMP) Guide was developed under the initiative.  This is a comprehensive checklist of food safety practices and procedures that can help reduce the loss of product due to contamination and spoilage along the poultry supply chain from slaughter to sale at grocery retail stores. It was developed with input from internationally recognized academic experts and industry practitioners in the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and based on a review of current national and subnational standards, and guidelines from around the globe.

Another key objective of the initiative was to assess the environmental impact and the greenhouse gas emissions generated across the food supply chain or lifecycle, and to identify ways to reduce the impact as well as prevent food waste. Consumers should realize that the total cost of food thrown away in the bin is more than just its retail cost. Waste at the retail and consumer end actually translates to higher environmental impact than waste at earlier stages. This is because of the resources such as feed, water and energy that have been used to get the food to that stage. A Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) was therefore conducted to quantify the environmental impact  of different supply chain systems for packaged and unpackaged chicken, from farming to retail. The Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) report showed that nearly half of the greenhouse gas emissions are associated with feed alone. It also found that chilled packaged chicken generally showed a lower environmental impact than unpackaged chicken that needs to be frozen, due to lower energy requirements for chilling and longer shelf life. Today, 80 percent of the poultry purchased by Chinese consumers is unpackaged. Overall, the report confirmed that moving to a supply chain in China that incorporates improved farm processes, packaging and cold-chain methods, has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 20 percent.

Other resources developed through the initiative included consumer education materials, infographics and a video.

With the increasing industrialization of the poultry sector in China, which is the second largest in the world, the program has been timely to present opportunities to improve production efficiency and in the process, enhance food safety and quality for the ultimate benefit of consumers.

Just like in China, various developing countries in Asia are facing a transition in moving from small-scale to larger commercial farming and retailing of poultry. Given the vast amount of resources that go into producing a chicken, there exists significant room to increase access to safe, nutritious food while helping to conserve natural resources and preserve vital ecosystems.

“The China Food Security Initiative is a best-case example of how corporations, government, industry and NGOs can work to address key issues that have a global impact on the environment and food security. We see tremendous opportunities to share the learnings and experience from this program with other fast-growth developing countries where meat production forms a significant part of their economies and that are looking to transform their supply chains for the better.”

Ron Cotterman
Vice President, Sustainability, Sealed Air

The China Food Security Initiative is nearing its completion and achievements such as the BMP guide and LCA report will be used to support both public and private sector work to improve food waste processes, food security and food safety across China’s poultry market. The program collaborators are now embarking on industry and consumer engagement efforts to help key stakeholders make informed choices on quality control, safety risk mitigation and waste reduction. Various engagement workshops have been organized to-date with the latest being held in Beijing, China on 28 June 2017 for various government ministries, processors and retailers. In addition to presenting the BMP guide, the workshop also shared best practices from selected countries around the world. Overall feedback from the attendees have been positive and encouraging, with many seeing the BMP Guide as a good first step to improve status quo and accelerate implementation of best practices.

The China Food Security Initiative, aimed at modernizing China’s poultry supply chain, has entered its final year of collaboration among Sealed Air, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA). The program aims to minimize the environmental footprint of poultry and to share best practices for a sustainable supply chain that addresses food safety, packaging, storage, and distribution of poultry products in China. Ron Cotterman from Sealed Air and Judith Hochhauser Schneider from WWF highlight the key milestones achieved over the past 3 years of the project.

  • Date: 10 October 2017
  • Author: Martha Stevenson and Kerry Cesareo

How many—and what quality of— forests are needed to sustain life on Earth?

At WWF, we’ve been talking about this with many of our partners. The discussion is inspired by the great work being done on science-based targets to limit climate change below a two-degree increase and on context-based targets for freshwater basins[1].

What we’ve realized is that we can’t answer the question simply by adding up the demand for the many “services” forests provide to people, such as wood for heating and building homes. And we can’t answer it by totaling up the numerous global and corporate commitments to help stop deforestation and forest degradation.

The answer will come from the forests. Specifically, the ecological signals they send to tell us they are healthy, such as tree canopy cover, carbon sequestering soils and rich biodiversity of plants and animals. From these signals, we can see forests as more than areas of land or as production inputs. And using science-based targets, we can better manage forests, so they continue to be healthy, productive and resilient far into the future. This type of future is what we’re calling a “forest positive” future. It’s going to take more than business-as-usual from all of us—particularly the corporate sector—to achieve.

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Zhonghao Jin from WWF-China at the Wuling forest plantation in the Xinkai district, Yueyang, Hunan, China. © Theodore Kaye / WWF China

In the corporate sector, the term forest positive has been discussed for several years, inspired by the concept of “carbon positive,” meaning that a company sequesters more carbon than it releases from its activities. Because forests are not as easily rolled into one number like carbon equivalents, we offer three starting concepts for discussion about forest positive and examples of meaningful actions corporations can take as they start on this pathway.

Harness Your Direct Influence
Building toward a forest positive future is beyond any single organization, but it does not negate the need for individual companies to address their own operations as well as the impacts of their sourcing choices on forests. In the forest products sector, there are 200 companies around the world that are part of WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network. These companies are mainstreaming responsible forest management and trade, using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. In parallel, more than 400 companies sourcing deforestation-driving commodities in the forestry and agricultural sectors have pledged to reduce their impacts on forests through zero deforestation commitments and respecting the rights of forest communities.

Set Targets Informed by Nature
Like science-based targets for climate reduction, a forest positive future will require targets to guide forest stewardship actions that are informed by science and based on the forests’ ecological function. In his latest book, Half Earth, E.O. Wilson theorizes that we need to maintain 50 percent of the planet’s surface for nature, specifically to sustain life on Earth, and 85 percent of existing species to maintain fully functioning ecosystems. Will Steffen et al[1] estimates that the tropical and boreal biomes need to maintain 85 percent of forest area and the temperate biome needs to maintain 50 percent of forest area[2]. More localized estimates in the Amazon predict that the forest will transition to a grassland if deforestation reaches beyond 40 percent of the original forest (it is currently at 20 percent)[3]. In absence of global and regional targets for forests, companies are already taking action by assessing their forest footprint and doing more.

Apple, for example, is forging a path toward a forest positive future through its commitment to quantifying the virgin paper footprint from its packaging and zeroing out that impact. One of the ways it is achieving this is by conserving the acreage of working forests around the world equivalent to its virgin paper footprint. The company announced in April that yearly production from 320,000 acres of forest land in China and 36,000 acres in the Eastern United States is now greater than the amount of virgin fiber used in its product packaging during fiscal year 2016. The land in China was FSC-certified earlier this year, as a result of an Apple-funded project with WWF. The land in the US was protected via an Apple-funded project with The Conservation Fund.

Ikea is advancing its forest positive initiative by promoting forest certification well beyond the company’s need, which is one percent of the global commercial harvest. Barry Callebaut, a cocoa company, also has made a forest positive commitment.

Align Toward Something Bigger
Growing the area of sustainable supply beyond a company’s own needs is the start of contributing to a forest positive future. But we also need to build the socio-political infrastructure that will sustain these actions. And that cannot be done alone. It will require working collectively with governments, corporations, NGOs, local communities and others—all lending their voice and resources toward a forest positive future. A great example of this is in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where the world's leading cocoa and chocolate companies agreed to work together to end deforestation and contribute to the restoration of forests and resilient landscapes.[1] They will engage all the necessary people toward this shared goal.

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An aerial view of eucalyptus forests around Xingdaohu in Shiwan branch near Qinzhou, Guangxi, China. © Theodore Kaye / WWF China

Stopping deforestation or freezing the land footprint of commodity production is a laudable leadership action. But it is only a first step. What else needs to be done? And what will determine whether a landscape is resilient?

This is why we need to embed the forests’ requirements into these actions and develop a shared vision for the future of forests. WWF is committed to engaging with others on these efforts. We will listen to feedback as the forest positive concept grows and it is more sharply defined. And together, we will rise to the challenge of creating a meaningful forest positive future together.

Martha Stevenson is Director of Forest Strategy and Research at WWF-US and Kerry Cesareo is Vice President of Forests at WWF-US.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
[1] See Science Based Targets for Climate (http://sciencebasedtargets.org). Additionally, WWF and others are advancing thinking for Corporate Context-Based Water Targets, that consider local basin conditions and the environmental flow requirements (https://www.ceowatermandate.org/files/context-based-targets.pdf).
[2] W. Steffen et al., Science 347, 1259855 (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855
[3] The reference for this is pre-industrial conditions
[4] C. Notre, et al., PNAS 113, 39 10759-68. DOI:10.1073pnas.1605516113
[5]http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/cocoa-industry-announces-cooperative-initiative-to-end-deforestation/
  • Date: 29 September 2017
  • Author: Karin Krchnak

Standing in Sarasota, Florida beside colleagues from Coca-Cola, I am inspired by how water connects us all. We’re here as part of the 2017 World Rowing Championship and completely surrounded by cheering fans and Olympic-quality athletes from around the world. Most bring stories of their homes: rivers and lakes where they’ve participated in other rowing events. While they are quick to celebrate the recreational and health benefits of fresh water, we remind them of its hidden footprint: water’s role in growing cotton for the clothes they wear, the food they eat, or the drinks in their hands. Because water is essential to everything.

The critical role of water inspired our partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, which is now in its tenth year, as well as our strategic alliance with World Rowing. While today we’re celebrating these relationships in Florida, their work takes us all over the world.

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WWF and Coca-Cola at the 2017 World Rowing Championships

I just returned from Europe, where local teams from WWF and The Coca-Cola Company are in the midst of a seven year partnership for the River Danube and its tributaries. The Danube, which is Europe’s largest river, has seen more than 80 percent of its floodplains and wetlands disappear. This has brought a myriad of negative impacts, including less protection against floods, changed water levels and quality, and a dramatic reduction in fish and biodiversity hot spots. But together, our teams are planning to restore, reconnect and retain floodplains, and promote better management and stewardship throughout the region. In all, this partnership will increase the river capacity by the equivalent of 4,800 Olympic sized swimming pools (12 million m³) and to restore over 7,422 football pitches worth of wetland habitat (5300 hectares) by 2020.

Next week I travel to Brazil, where our local teams have worked together for the Amazon in a variety of ways, from sustainable sugarcane to community engagement. While grounded in the amazing ecoregions of South America, our meeting will focus on something bigger: the eighth World Water Forum. To be held in Brasilia in March, the Forum is a global gathering of influencers positioned to make a difference on water. Together, WWF and The Coca-Cola Company are working with major business platforms, like World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and CEO Water Mandate to ensure nature is adequately represented in the dialogue.

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Pandy at the World Rowing Championships

It doesn’t end there. From Brazil I’ll travel to the catchments of the Mesoamerican Reef and then the Yangtze River in China, the signature basins of our global partnership. Stories from these places show how together, WWF and The Coca-Cola Company, have benefited communities and wildlife, reduced negative impacts of business, and inspired and built vast networks of private and public sector partners who are now committed to securing these waters for people and nature. By 2020, in these two basins alone, we anticipate almost 12 million hectares will have been positively impacted by our partnership.

Some of the athletes and fans in Florida are from these regions or have visited these amazing freshwater resources. But even those that don’t know them understand the significance of the work. Without water, none of this would be possible. And it is our shared love of water that brings us all here today.

  • Date: 28 September 2017
Annual Report 2

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Coca-Cola Company have worked together for a decade to help conserve the world's freshwater resources and reduce Coca-Cola's environmental footprint.

Collaboration is at the heart of our partnership. Working with government, international financial institutions, academia, industry, and civil society is necessary to make a lasting impact. Our partnership is committed to tackling the natural resource challenges that impact freshwater and, along the way, elevating awareness of the power of partnership to address these challenges. Learn more about the progress we've made in 2016 to help ensure healthy, resilient freshwater basins in our focal areas of the Mesoamerican Reef catchments in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, and the Yangtze River in China.

A Transformative Partnership to Conserve Water: Annual Report 2016

  • Date: 25 September 2017
  • Author: Martha Stevenson

Recent months have witnessed a whirlwind of debate in the bioenergy space, with letters signed by academics on both sides, white papers and responses wielded between think tanks, civil society and industry groups squaring off in special reports, and a hung Science Advisory Board of the EPA unable to make a determination about their guidance on biogenic carbon accounting. It has been a confusing time, even for the experts.

At WWF, we follow these debates and review the scientific literature to inform our position, which is then grounded in the expert field experience of our global network. For those of you seeking to green-up your energy supply and navigate these confusing times, here is our best advice when it comes to bioenergy, while understanding that new studies are coming out every week and that the IPCC won’t issue their guidance on national inventories until 2019.

Use sources of sustainable renewable energy first.

If you are in a sector where there are commercially viable low/no-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels and bioenergy (e.g., solar[1], wind, geothermal) use those first and get creative on how to shift as much energy demand as you can to those systems through electrification. If you are in a sector where these solutions are not commercially viable (e.g., industrial process energy or aviation) then we have two additional pieces of advice.

Only use bio feedstocks that deliver significant climate benefits over fossil fuels and without compromising biodiversity.

The most important question to WWF in the bioenergy debate is “What types of bioenergy provide a significant climate benefit over fossil fuels and do not significantly impact biodiversity?” The first point is crucial given that there are types of bioenergy that, whilst technically ‘renewable’, can have higher impacts on climate change than the fossil sources they replace[2]. Additionally, the connection between climate and biodiversity is important to understand, because the concept of mitigating trade-offs is not so simple.[3] Climate change will have negative impacts on biodiversity and maintaining biodiversity will increase ecosystem resilience to climate change. A benefit to one at the expense of the other is not a sound solution.

With this as context, our cautious recommendation is to look to industrial or municipal wastes and byproducts that are available for energy production, while applying an approach of cascading use[4]. These classes of biomaterials do not increase harvest levels, are unlikely to cause displacement affects (i.e. remove feedstocks from other industries) or further impact soil or biodiversity conditions. These are the lower risk feedstocks for supply, but need to be assessed on a case by case basis while considering local supply, production management practices and potential alternative uses. Before investing in bioenergy infrastructure or long term contracting, develop a rigorous sourcing policy consistent with the above, including what feedstocks are acceptable and conduct an assessment of the availability of policy-compliant, bioenergy feedstocks for the duration of the project.

Assumptions of carbon neutrality leave you exposed to serious risk.

WWF supports life-cycle carbon accounting for any technology that is making climate benefit claims, so that the true impacts are understood and informed decision-making can occur. Assumptions of carbon neutrality limit your understanding of the system and the potential risks, leading to poor decision-making and unwise investments. Given the growing awareness amongst policy makers of the sustainability concerns relating to many types of biomass, they are also subject to significant regulatory risk. We would like to see more companies calculating and reporting their biogenic carbon emissions, including (when important): land use change; impacts to all five carbon pools; forgone sequestration and for forest ecosystems[1] carbon debt over a climate-relevant timescale. Calculation methodologies exist to do all of this and their intent is to understand the full picture of climate impacts, so we can design energy transitions in line with a less than 2-degree future.

There are not many simple answers on this topic given the interlinkage between climate impacts and competing land uses, including biodiversity, but these difficult challenges need to be addressed. WWF will continue to look to the science and engage constructively with other stakeholders to grapple with these complex trade-offs.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

 [1] Check out Quantis’ Guidance on calculating Land Use Change https://quantis-intl.com/lucguidance/ https://about.bnef.com/blog/global-wind-solar-costs-fall-even-faster-coal-fades-even-china-india/

[2] http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footprint/one_planet_cities/key_messages/?302612/EU%2Dbioenergy%2Dpolicy%2D%2D%2Dposition%2Dpaper

[3] Biodiversity promotes primary productivity and growing season lengthening at the landscape scale. Jacqueline Oehria, Bernhard Schmida, Gabriela Schaepman-Struba, and Pascal A. Niklausa. PNAS doi/10.1073/pnas.1703928114.

[4] (https://www.worldwildlife.org/projects/cascading-materials-extending-the-life-of-our-natural-resources) 

Check out Quantis’ Guidance on calculating Land Use Change https://quantis-intl.com/lucguidance/

  • Date: 18 September 2017
  • Author: Stewart Van Horn, Director of Global Sustainability at Kimberly-Clark

The Renewable Energy Buyers Association (REBA) recently welcomed Kimberly-Clark Corporation as a formal member of its Buyers Principles and Renewable Thermal Collaborative. World Wildlife Fund had a few questions for Stewart Van Horn, Kimberly-Clark’s Director of Global Sustainability – Energy Solutions, about why renewable energy is a priority.

Why is Kimberly-Clark pursuing renewable energy?

Within Kimberly-Clark’s Energy & Climate strategy, we deploy both energy conservation and alternative energy programs to minimize climate change impacts, reduce GHG emissions and transform our financial performance. We believe that increasing our use of renewable energy is not just good for the environment, it complements our existing efforts to drive innovation in energy management that creates value for our business.

Power generation from renewable sources like wind is not affected by fluctuating costs for fuel such as natural gas. The fixed prices that come with a renewable energy PPA help reduce Kimberly-Clark’s exposure to volatility in the energy markets, and the potential savings generated by our energy efficiency and conservation projects reduces our operating costs and frees up funds to invest in the growth of our brands and businesses.

You just signed two wind PPAs, which combined is one of the biggest PPA announcements of any company to date. What impact does this have on your footprint?

The impact on our footprint will be significant. The power purchase agreements (PPAs) are a step-change in our energy and climate strategy helping us reduce climate change impacts and benefit cost savings for our business. These agreements mark Kimberly-Clark’s first use of utility-scale renewable energy. The 245 megawatts of wind-generated electricity supplied under these agreements is equivalent to about one-third of the electricity needed to power our North American manufacturing operations.

The renewable power supplied by these agreements will enable Kimberly-Clark to offset around 550,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, effectively reducing the company’s market-based emissions by 11%. Adding wind-generated electricity to the energy mix will enable the company to achieve more than a 25 percent reduction in GHG emissions in 2018, which is four years ahead of the original 2022 target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels.

You came to REBA’s first meeting last year.  How did that set you on a renewables journey?

The insights we gained from the 2016 REBA meeting informed our plans to increase the role of renewable energy in achieving our climate goals.  We used the Renewable Energy Buyers Principles when evaluating the business case for pursuing our first utility-scale renewable energy agreements.  

We have now formally signed on to the Renewable Energy Buyers Principles and have endorsed REBA’s effort to simplify and streamline the way businesses purchase renewable energy, which will support further investment and development of wind power and other renewables.

Where will you go from here?

Our original 2022 absolute GHG reduction goal of 20 percent was location-based, that is, based on driving actual GHG reductions in our operations through energy conservation, increased operating efficiency and on-site alternative energy projects. We’re now in the process of setting a new market-based emissions baseline and emissions reduction target incorporating the benefits of the renewable energy credits from virtual power purchase agreements.

Kimberly-Clark will continue to evaluate alternative energy sources including renewables as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

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