World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 24 June 2020
  • Author: Linda Walker, Senior Director, Corporate Engagement, Forests

The Urgency of Collaboration—and Acceleration

We have arrived at a pivotal juncture in our history. In order to avert catastrophe for people and nature, we must limit the increase in average global temperature to below 1.5 degrees. Forests alone could make up one-third of the solution to our climate challenge but only if we take bold steps to restore, protect, and better manage them.

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  • Date: 22 June 2020
  • Author: Jason Clay, SVP, Markets

Finding the right balance between food imports and domestic production will continue to be a challenge as COVID-19 disrupts supply chains and governments want to ensure that food will be available for their citizens. Trade is an essential part of any sustainable food system. There will be pandemics, droughts, and plagues of locusts in any given year, and unfortunately, like now, sometimes all in the same year. Trade helps the global food system fill in the cracks created by disruptive individual or multiple events, regardless of their origin, that may lead to localized rolling hunger across a landscape.

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  • Date: 18 June 2020
  • Author: Stephanie Bradley, director of fisheries in transition

One of the biggest threats to the ocean is unsustainable fishing. When done right fishing can benefit people while maintaining balance in nature. But when fishing practices take too heavy a toll on the marine environment, wildlife populations and critical habitats decline, which jeopardizes jobs and a critical food supply.

Fishery improvement projects—called FIPs—are the most widely-used approach for raising standards in fisheries around the world so that species, habitats, and people can all thrive. WWF helped pioneer the approach more than a decade ago and today FIPs account for nearly one in every ten pounds of fish caught worldwide.

After more than a decade of leveraging seafood buying power to catalyze these improvements in fisheries, we now have a good idea of what is working and what parts of the approach need to be improved. There’s never been more incentive to get it right—and fast.

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  • Date: 16 June 2020
  • Author: Corey Norton, VP, Supply Chain Legality, Jason Clay, SVP, Markets

One of the less-publicized COVID-related threats to the environment is the inadequate response to reports that almost 200,000 crew on cargo shipping vessels cannot go home despite completing their voyage. These cargo vessel crew are stuck onboard and cannot be relieved by a new crew due to widespread travel restrictions. Almost all world trade is shipped via these vessels, which when operating with fatigued crew increasingly risk collisions and other accidents, which can cause fuel spills, cargo lost overboard, and other significant harm to oceans and surrounding environments.

In the past, fatigued crew was reported as a contributing factor to the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon oil spills that devastated local marine, bird, and onshore wildlife and their habitats in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. Allowing crew to return home upon completion of service is also critical to protecting their health and the support they provide families and communities.

On May 5th, the International Maritime Organization issued recommended procedures to its member countries and the United Nations for safely changing cargo vessel crew during the COVID pandemic. Since then, numerous international organizations have issued alerts about the inaction and the on-going threats to these crew, including the UN Secretary-General, the International Labor Organization, Human Rights at Sea,  and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

This threat to crews and the environment is prevalent around the world, yet somewhat hidden from mainstream attention. WWF is joining the call on all countries to designate seafarers and other marine personnel as "key workers". We can help eliminate this social and environmental threat by contacting our local elected officials and asking them to take immediate action to ensure the safe changeover of crews.

  • Date: 11 June 2020
  • Author: Elan Strait, Director, US Climate Campaigns

The United States has not had a consistent role or leadership voice when it comes to the global response to climate change - leading the negotiations on Kyoto, and then withdrawing; leading the negotiations on Paris, and then withdrawing. But beneath that instability lies a consistent and positive trend in the actions of everyday people and their communities, a strong and growing desire for America to rise to the climate challenge. Last week marked the third anniversary of President Trump's announcement of his intent to withdraw the US from Paris. The world looks remarkably different than it did then, and many of us are grappling anew with the pervasive and debilitating forces of racism and the rolling devastation of the coronavirus. Today, we want to celebrate positive trends in climate action, specific to the role of non-federal actors, that have continued unabated during that time and have the potential to scale.

In the absence of leadership from the Administration, along with debilitating rollbacks of critical environmental and public health safeguards, a broad coalition of actors stepped up to declare We Are Still In. Climate action in the United States has since been defined by the momentum and commitment of leaders at the local level. A new light now shines onto the efforts of city, state and tribal governments to tackle their greenhouse gas emissions and build community resilience, and a greater sense of responsibility has permeated academia, the private sector, and the leadership of our faith, cultural, and health communities.

Trend #1
- More Local and State Level Action on Climate Change
Cities and states are pushing back against federal deregulation and leading the charge on addressing the challenge and now one third of the entire US economy (larger than the economy of Japan!) operates under an emissions cap. And this is really important - decision making around climate policy is highly decentralized in the United States.

It is very possible that your city, county, or state has more influence over whether you have access to an electric vehicle or renewable energy than the federal government has. Plus, hundreds of cities, and dozens of Fortune 500 companies are moving to 100% clean energy, which explains why, for the first time ever, renewable energy consumption has surpassed coal.

Scaling up the trend:
- In the context of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated economic downturn, state and local governments must receive direct relief that allows them to maintain and strengthen critical climate resilience, mitigation, and sustainability efforts while meeting the urgent needs of their communities.
- If you're interested in moving the US forward on climate change, there is no better place to look than your own community. Check out if your community has signed on to We Are Still In, and if not, reach out to us directly on how to push them to do so!

Trend #2
- American climate leaders are increasingly participating in the international process without the federal government.
Starting in 2014, the United Nations (UN) took an increasing interest in what was happening not just in national governments, but in communities and companies around the world. It was clear that many decisions that are made about climate change are not made in capitals, but are made in communities. Businesses own fleets of vehicles to manage their supply chains,, cities design and implement public transit systems, and commuting choices are made by a family. We would never solve the climate challenge if these groups were excluded.

To support these communities in the global arena, we created the US Climate Action Center in 2017 - a home to showcase their climate work at the international climate negotiations following the announcement of the US withdrawal - and we were welcomed with open arms by the UN. They recognized that a center for the real actors of the economy was a natural evolution of the Paris process, though they have not directly participated in official negotiations to date.

Scaling up the trend:

- Rather than keeping non-national actors at side events, outside of the formal process, the UK should institute the first official forum for including subnational actors in the climate solution. Progress on this front looks promising, with the global Race to Zero effort uplifting the work of cities, universities, civil society, etc.
- As countries and regions around the world recognize the need for collaborative action, the model that has emerged from the US should be applied elsewhere. In six other countries, with more on the way, Alliances for Climate Action have developed to strengthen partnerships between diverse actors and assert the importance of subnational contributions.

Trend #3 - Cities, States, Businesses, and others are not just addressing their own carbon pollution, they are increasingly working together to solve the larger problem.

Limiting the impacts of the climate crisis will take an effort by all of us to change our behavior, our priorities, and how we think about the economy and prosperity. Major institutions in the United States are now thinking beyond their own operations to determine how they can be part of a broader solution. We see new and exciting examples of this every day in the private sector, in cities, and even states.

When institutions and individuals take voluntary action - above and beyond what they are required or even expected to do - they can affect broader change. And every day, more take up this charge and add their unique value and voice to this challenge. Farmers along the Mississippi can sequester carbon from the atmosphere, university students can provide extra capacity to their cities and communities, museums can educate the public on climate impacts and opportunities to make a difference.

Scaling up the Trend:
- We need a national plan for climate action that raises our collective ambition, emphasizes the importance of state and local policy, and draws direct connections between our goals and the steps that public and private sector entities can take towards delivering on them together.
- The federal government could (and ideally would) play a pivotal role in crafting this plan, by providing strategic investments and crafting facilitative policies and regulations, but the powerhouse coalitions of non-federal actors who are committed to climate action at scale should be prepared to develop this plan independently.

  • Date: 08 June 2020
  • Author: Erin Simon, Head of Plastic Waste and Business

As few as 100 companies have the potential to prevent roughly 50 million metric tons of the world’s plastic waste by 2030. We are one step closer to our goal of No Plastic in Nature with the addition of Amcor, Colgate-Palmolive, and Kimberly-Clark as new members of the ReSource: Plastic team. These three global companies have already demonstrated leadership on plastic in their respective sectors; as members of ReSource they take that leadership to a new level.

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  • Date: 08 June 2020
  • Author: Erin Simon, Head of Plastic Waste and Business

WWF envisions a world with No Plastic in Nature by 2030—a world where our resources are never wasted. We cannot meet this goal without the power of business. ReSource: Plastic, launched in 2019, leverages that power so we can work together to stop the flow of plastic into nature. In the activation hub’s first year we worked with five principal members—Keurig Dr Pepper, McDonald’s Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, and The Coca-Cola Company—as well as thought partners The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Ocean Conservancy to establish a baseline of plastic use, outlined in the Transparent 2020 report. We set out to understand how much plastic companies are using; what portion of it is recycled, virgin, or plant-based; and where this plastic ends up once disposed of—if it’s re-used, recycled, incinerated, landfilled, or ending up in nature.

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  • Date: 14 May 2020
  • Author: Julia Kurnik, Director of Innovation Start-Ups, World Wildlife Fund

The Markets Institute at WWF believes that one path of the route to a more resilient, accessible food system is more distributed capacity, a system in which some nutritious food is produced at scale closer to consumers, with more efficient use of inputs, less waste, and fewer GHG emissions. We are exploring if indoor, soilless agriculture can help us get there.

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  • Date: 13 May 2020
  • Author: Pete Pearson, Senior Director, Food Loss and Waste

Between 20 and 30 percent of the food we grow on US farms never makes it out of the field or past the farmgate. While these crops get tilled back into soil, food banks across the country struggle to meet demand for those in need. And that’s in business-as-usual circumstances. Right now, food banks are seeing more than 100 percent increase in demand in many places as millions face furlough and unemployment. While both farmers and food banks may be aware of this disconnect, there are several roadblocks in the system we have yet to overcome, including the technology to help farmers find access to markets and availability of affordable, skilled workers to harvest surplus food.

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  • Date: 06 May 2020
  • Author: Daniel Riley, Director, International Corporate Climate Partnerships

Foro Ren mx, the first-ever renewable energy event in Mexico focusing on the role of corporate energy buyers in the renewables market was held in Mexico City on February 5, 2020. Over 200 corporate electricity buyers, renewable energy suppliers, and service providers took part in a day of lively discussions, focused on the state of market, procurement options, and regulatory outlook. During the forum, one statement resonated with all participants – the renewable energy movement, led by corporate buyers, will forge ahead.

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