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World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 08 November 2019
  • Author: Christa Anderson, Global Science Research Fellow, WWF

I got ready for work this morning in the dark, and before the sun came up here in California, I went outside to position my two portable solar panels in the direction of sunrise. Recently, this has been my morning routine. The power has been out at my house as part of widespread shutoffs initiated by my electric company, Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG), as a safety measure to prevent the company’s power lines from causing fires during a string of exceptionally windy days. Large fires in recent years have led to bankruptcy for PCG and financial mayhem as fires burn anew. In the many news reports covering the power shutoffs, some say the primary cause is poor management by PCG, while others point to climate change as a source of more dangerous fire conditions.

People throughout California are on high alert about the risks of climate change impacts as they watch the fires and blackouts. But are people and businesses as alert to other nature-related risks that may impact their livelihoods and businesses? In our recent review, we find that businesses and communities are not adequately accounting for the risks of the loss and degradation of nature which are often exacerbated by climate change. We surveyed a large stack of recent reports on the topic, summarized here, and in doing so we developed a framework for understanding nature-related risk. We also compiled a reference list of case studies, examples of when businesses faced a nature-related risk that had significant business impacts when it was realized.

Businesses face nature-related risks in two ways. First, they face risks from the loss of nature they rely on for operations. For example, many agricultural businesses rely on bees to pollinate their crops. The nature-related risk to these businesses is bee population decline, and, as a result crops that do not bear fruit, such as almonds, apples, and avocados. Recent research indicates a quarter of the production gap—the difference between high and low producing farms—may be due to insufficient pollinator populations.

The second way businesses face nature-related risks is when they have major and disruptive impacts on nature that result in financial losses, sanctions, or other legal action. These aren’t theoretical risks; they are present and demonstrably growing. For example, think of the significant environmental impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP paid $60-140 billion in legal costs; experienced a financial loss of $3.7 billion due to a drop in market cap and share prices; and stewarded an increase in insurance rates across the industry due to its negligence of attending to the impacts of its operation on nature. Nature-related risks often have multiple, difficult to disentangle causes, but one thing is clear from our review: many businesses are not adequately accounting for the risk of loss of nature due to their standard operations. 

Whether it’s climate change threatening fires, pollution threatening our clean water supply, or contaminants threatening the health of the bees that pollinate our crops, many businesses face risks related to the ways they depend on nature, like crop pollination, and related to the ways they can impact nature, like oil spills. And the businesses that need to think about nature-related risks aren’t only those very obviously and closely tied to nature, like farms that rely on bee pollinators or beverage companies that rely on clean water. They also include banks, who need to understand nature-related risks for the businesses they may lend to.

With 24 hours’ notice, I knew that my power might go out, but I was still left in the dark; I should have an array of solar panels instead of two portable panels that I ferry around to chase the sun. Just as I am, businesses are becoming more attuned to the risks of climate change in the wake of blackouts, wildfires, and other climate impacts. They must also become more attentive to the broader array of nature-based risks, so they aren’t caught off guard.

  • Date: 08 November 2019

WWF and HP recently announced an ambitious new partnership to help restore, protect and improve the management of global forests, starting with nearly 200,000 acres in Brazil and China. We caught up with Anneliese Olson, Vice President, Global Head of Print Category at HP to discuss the new partnership and HP’s vision for forest conservation.

Anneliese Olson, Vice President, Global Head of Print Category at HP

Anneliese Olson, Vice President, Global Head of Print Category at HP

Why is HP interested in forest conservation?

At HP, we recognize that forests are critical for the future – more than just the future of our industry, but for our entire planet. We depend on forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use, and the paper we print on. Nearly 50 percent of global forests are under threat of deforestation; in fact, forests are being destroyed at the pace of 27 soccer fields per minute.
There is a common misconception that printing is harmful to the environment, but it can be more sustainable than you think. Printing is an integral part of our society, and HP is taking decisive action to protect the world’s forests through sustainable forest management, as well as forest restoration and protection.
Forests are important to us, our customers and our partners, for the future of our natural world and for the longevity of our print business. We firmly believe that to address climate change and deforestation, companies like HP need to step up and go beyond just “doing less harm” to actively encouraging the restoration, protection and a thriving future of our forests.

HP has long been an advocate for responsible forestry. What has that journey looked like for HP and how has it led to this new partnership with WWF?

As the world’s leading printer company, HP has long envisioned a future bettered by technology, and throughout its 80 years in business, we firmly believe that it has a responsibility and power to create a more sustainable future. Just look at your inbox and see how many emails you receive that have a “think before you print” message on them. So, HP set out to reinvent what it means to print sustainably for employees, for consumers and for the entire print industry. We want consumers to print smarter and therefore, more sustainably. So far, our journey has included achieving 100 percent zero deforestation paper, and we are well on our way toward reaching that goal for paper-based packaging – but we wanted to do more.
That’s why we teamed up with World Wildlife Fund – to broaden our efforts beyond responsible sourcing for our own business, to give more back to forests than we take out. Our collaboration is designed to protect, restore and improve the management of forests at a level that covers the paper that goes through HP’s consumer printers. Together, we’ll protect more than 200,000 acres over the next five years – that’s roughly the size of New York City.

This partnership begins with forest conservation in two areas: China and the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. Why did HP decide to concentrate on these forests and how will the work differ in each area?

We’re thrilled to be piloting our efforts to protect two vital ecosystems across both China and Brazil.
Over the past decade, China has become the world’s largest producer and consumer of paper products. The trend is expected to continue, especially as the country’s middle class continues to grow. Even with recycling, reuse and a reduction in waste, a steady and dependable supply of wood is needed to meet the demand for paper products in China. But, currently China imports most of the wood it uses. This project will help advance more responsible forestry and forest products that originate in China.
And in Brazil, the Atlantic Forest (which spans Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina) is one of the most important – yet most threatened – ecosystems in the world. It is within one of the 11 deforestation fronts identified by WWF. These are areas where nearly 80 percent of all forest loss is expected to occur by 2030 if better strategies for forest conservation are not created and implemented.

How does this partnership fit in with the new HP Sustainable Forests Cooperative?

When HP committed to creating a forest positive future for printing, we knew we had to bring together a group of experts in forest management and responsible sources, and naturally that meant we needed to partner with leading non-profits. Combining resources and expertise from across the industry is the only way to make lasting impact.
We’re thrilled to work with partners like WWF, International Paper and the Forest Stewardship Council in founding a new Sustainable Forests Cooperative – to think beyond just planting trees and instead focus on the entire ecosystem of the forest, including the animals and communities that depend on them and are directly impacted by forest degradation.
Most importantly, we are inviting non-profits and businesses, including our other supply chain partners, to join us our commitment to protect, restore and improvement management of forests for future generations.

How does HP hope to inspire other companies to invest in the forest positive movement?

Having a positive impact on forests is not just about reducing our footprint – it’s about coming together to create a larger area of thriving forests, for people, nature and business around the world. Our goal is to make printing with HP directly responsible for the increase of recycled and FSC-certified fiber sourcing, while contributing to the longevity of the planet and our business.
We hope to inspire companies and consumers alike to take decisive action and to join us in preserving and improving our forest ecosystems. The time for more sustainable business models, greater cooperation and swift action is now.


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

  • Date: 24 October 2019
  • Author: David Schorr, Senior Manager, Transparent Seas, WWF

The ocean is experiencing stress like never before, and that raises the stakes for sustainable fishing.

In a new report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that climate change is altering ocean ecosystems, affecting fish populations and the people who depend on them. The report calls for leadership on building better policy for managing and protecting seascapes to improve ocean resilience.

But the oceans cannot be fully resilient as long as overfishing remains a worldwide crisis threatening marine ecosystems. And to stop overfishing, we need to reform seafood supply chains so that consumers, governments, and even the seafood industry itself can track where and how fishing takes place, who is doing the fishing, and how seafood products reach their final markets.

We’re about to take a giant step toward making that happen.

Global industry leadership 

Over the past three years, WWF has helped lead the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) to help establish the first-ever comprehensive industry standards for seafood traceability. With more than five dozen companies from around the world and across seafood supply chains sitting at the table, the GDST is drafting standards that will dramatically improve the efficiency, reliability, and affordability of tracking seafood, helping businesses obtain and share the information they need about the origins of seafood products. That will lead to more transparent and reliable seafood supply chains, as consumers increasingly demand and as governments increasingly require.

In an important step towards solidifying industry commitment to GDST standards, this month the Dialogue announced the formation of a steering committee with eleven member companies and associations taking seats. There are some big names and big players involved, including Whole Foods Market, New England Seafood International and Thai Union, the parent company of Chicken of the Sea. For more information and a full list of the Steering Committee members, visit the GDST website.

For WWF the result is more marine life in the ocean. Improved access to data about fishing and aquaculture practices will lay a strong foundation for scientists to do assessments, for managers to make decisions, and for consumers to trust that the seafood they buy comes from responsible sources.

Crowd-sourcing solutions

While industry knowledge and leadership have been critical to reaching this point, there remains a great deal to learn from experts in technology who sit outside the seafood sector.

This month, WWF and its partner in organizing the GDST—the Institute of Food Technologists’ Global Food Traceability Center—will support a pair of hackathons in Cologne, Germany, and in Bali, Indonesia. These exciting events will allow the tech community to demonstrate how
new industry standards can be put to use. The hackathons will be working with the beta version of the GDST standards, and will build on pilot tests already carried out by a dozen seafood companies. Hackers will use real seafood company data to generate proofs of concept that spur innovation in the tech and seafood communities.

These developments are helping take years of quiet technical work within the GDST across an important threshold, out into the public arena where they can be used. Global standards for seafood traceability may sound complex and obscure, but just like the standards that allow consumers to use cell phones, ATMs, and credit cards all around the world, the GDST standards can reshape the way seafood is bought and sold. More data and greater accountability means good news for stewardship of our planet’s oceans.

Next year is shaping up to be filled with high-profile conservation milestones. While area-based conservation, climate targets, and international agreements will likely make a splash, there’s one target we’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on—the rollout of guidelines and technical standards to allow key information to flow easily across the seafood sector.

  • Date: 22 October 2019
  • Author: Julia Kurnik, director of innovation startups, WWF Markets Institute

California produces more than 1/3 of the vegetables and 2/3 of fruits and nuts that are grown in the United States today. However, the warming climate makes the farming landscape in California less certain in the future as the state will likely suffer from more chronic weather (e.g. increased droughts) and severe weather (e.g. heavy rains, flooding and freezes) in the years to come. Some food production is likely going to need to shift in order to build a more resilient agricultural system that can help ensure food security. At WWF’s Markets Institute we are exploring whether fruit and vegetable production could be ramped up in the mid-Mississippi Delta to anticipate these shifts while also achieving win-win outcomes for both the environment and local communities in parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and more.

Food crops in the US Delta Region

Soybeans on a farm in Arkansas

As part of that work, I’ve spent significant time on the ground in the region over the past several months. I’ve had the chance to visit 15,000-20,000 acre farms in the Delta region (specifically Arkansas and Tennessee) growing corn, cotton, rice, and wheat – commodity crops. I’ve also visited smallholder farms in the Arkansas River Valley and along the Petite Jean River where commodity row crops are still popular, but there is also cattle farming and some fruits and vegetables in “you-pick” enterprises. I’ve been visiting these farms for a chance to listen – to learn more about the region in general and to hear if farmers would consider significantly changing what they grow today, and what they would need to feel supported as they take this risk. I didn’t know what reception to expect, but I quickly found that every farmer I spoke to was clearly innovative, smart, and willing to try something new. They universally love the land and want to be as productive as possible.

These farmers are already exploring new production strategies. Many are multi-generational farms, but just because they have been farming for as long as they can remember doesn’t mean they are married to the status quo. During my visits I saw farmers testing robots that take soil samples and look for pests, using harvesting equipment guided by drones, experimenting with a variety of irrigation systems, planting new rice varietals, and more. Nearly everyone was using cover crops and several were using no-till farming. While no two farms were identical, each had clearly demonstrated in its own way, a willingness to explore new opportunities. This was also echoed in my conversations.

Switching from commodity row crops to specialty crops like fruits, vegetables, and nuts won’t be easy. While these crops are higher value and could bring a significant financial boost to growers and their communities, there are also hurdles to overcome. Infrastructure investments would need to be made to grow, harvest, store, and transport these more delicate and perishable crops. It means taking some acreage out of row crop production, not converting more acres, so it presents a risk to farmers currently earning on that land. Farmers would need more labor to hand-pick where they currently use machines to harvest row crops, and the Delta’s pests and humidity bring additional difficulty to growing fruits and vegetables at scale. However, while the farmers I met spoke eloquently on these topics, they also thought that with the right partners and support, these challenges could be overcome. Most importantly, they were willing to try if others are willing to work with them.

While specialty produce would be relatively new to the Delta, this is an agricultural region with rich and plentiful soils, abundant water, and transportation to the rest of the country . But it is also rich in people – both industrious farmers ready to take on new challenges and great local partners. I look forward to more visits as we continue to explore the potential of this region to complement food production from California.

  • Date: 16 October 2019
  • Author: Kirsten James and Nicole Tanner

Chances are if you’ve bitten into a strawberry, blueberry, blackberry or raspberry lately, it was supplied by the world’s largest berry company, Driscoll’s. With products sourced from 21 countries, and sold in 48, Driscoll’s supplies one third of the global berry business.

But growing berries can be a water intensive proposition, with the added challenge that prime growing regions are often located in areas of high water stress. 80% of Driscoll’s acreage globally can be found in California and Mexico, regions which coincide with significant water risks to businesses and the communities in which they operate.

Having weathered drought conditions in their North American growing regions through much of this decade, Driscoll’s doesn’t want to leave much to chance. They recognize that financial success and water stewardship go hand in hand. Driscoll’s sees smart water management as a business imperative to ensure its growers can continue to produce for decades to come.

To this end, we are pleased to announce Driscoll’s is taking their water stewardship one step further, becoming the next company joining the Ceres-WWF AgWater Challenge. Through new ambitious commitments focused on their North America supply chain, Driscoll’s seeks to reduce their water impacts and help ensure sustainable water supplies in the basins in which they operate.

Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched the AgWater Challenge in 2016 to encourage better and more strategic water stewardship among the most influential food and beverage companies. Driscoll’s joins eight existing AgWater Challenge participants — representing over $264 billion in annual revenue. Through engagement from Ceres and WWF, the AgWater Challenge helps companies refine their approaches to sustainable sourcing and water stewardship in their supply chains.

The global food sector uses 70 percent of the world’s freshwater supply, yet water supplies face catastrophic threats from the combined effects of climate change, pollution and mismanagement. By 2025, half the world’s population will live in water stressed areas. Given these pressures, food and beverage companies must do more to value and protect freshwater in the regions they operate by reducing their impacts and partnering to protect and restore critical watersheds.

With a value chain that includes approximately over 700 independent growers, Driscoll’s has set long and near-term water stewardship goals for its Americas business unit, including several time-bound measurable commitments to address water quality challenges across their value chain. These include:

  • Complete water risk assessments for all existing and new growing regions in the Americas and integrate them into the company’s fruit supply planning process by end of 2021.

  • Create a water policy and framework by end of 2020 which encompasses regional risk assessment, stakeholder impact and engagement, public policy engagement, roles and responsibilities, critical issues and responses, and internal targets and goals.

  • Identify key water impacts and set new goals to reduce water impacts in each high-risk sourcing region.

  • Provide training for every grower and functionally relevant employee in highest risk districts, with additional training and resources to be provided to growers who wish to engage in water management planning at the community level.

  • Convene company peers in California regions (e.g. buyers, producers) to share learnings from California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation and develop a common voice of support around the successful implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

In addition, Driscoll’s has committed to implement relevant regional programs and BMPs that help meet groundwater sustainability plans in California and support stakeholder activities that ensure high quality water is accessible, affordable and reliable to all members of the community.

Driscoll's new commitments build upon a solid foundation of existing efforts to manage water collaboratively, including their deep involvement in the passage of California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and its ongoing implementation. As a leader in the industry they are setting a strategic example that water stewardship is a top priority. And by joining the AgWater Challenge, Driscoll’s is sending a clear message— smart water management is a business imperative.

Kirsten James is the Director, Water at Ceres. Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization working with the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy.

Nicole Tanner
is World Wildlife Fund’s Water Stewardship Lead. WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change.

  • Date: 25 September 2019
  • Author: Lauren Spurrier, vice president, ocean conservation

A new UN report warns the world that as climate change heats up the oceans and ice sheets and glaciers melt, one billion people who live in low-lying coastal areas will be at risk rapid sea-level rise. But there is something we can do—spend money on saving mangroves. And it’s a smart investment.

A recent report by the Global Commission on Adaptation calculates mangroves yield $1 trillion in net benefit for climate adaptation, which would be gained by 2030 if we began investing in conservation soon.

Mangroves are natural providers for people

Mangrove trees serve as the interface between land and sea, providing a variety of benefits to both nature and people.

Mangrove forests provide more than $80 billion per year in avoided losses from coastal flooding, and they also protect 18 million people. In addition to other non-market benefits associated with fisheries, forestry, and recreation, the flood protection benefits from mangrove preservation and restoration are worth up to 10 times the costs.

Building natural resilience

Another benefit is that mangroves act as a nature-based solution for disaster risk reduction. There are a number of case studies around the globe showcasing how mangroves can attenuate storm surge, stabilize shorelines from erosion, buffer rising sea levels, and contribute to general flood control. As a model of ‘green’ infrastructure, mangroves can stand alone as a form of defense or be integrated with traditional, or ‘grey’ infrastructure, depending on local context and factors. Regardless, in many cases mangroves are essential for reducing the vulnerability of coastal communities to the impacts of climate change and increasingly intense and frequent extreme weather events.

Vulnerability to climate change 

It is imperative to invest in mangrove protection now, because while these forests can help mitigate the impacts of climate change, they themselves are vulnerable to its effects.

Mangroves are directly affected by rising sea levels, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, warmer air and water temperatures, changing ocean currents, and the increasing variability and intensity of rainfall. How and whether mangroves survive in a future of increasing climatic change will be determined by whether they can migrate inland, where and how mangroves are situated, continued supplies of sediment, and whether migration inland can outpace the rate of sea-level rise.

The implications of the combined impacts of sea-level rise, changing salinity, extreme weather events, economic development, and infrastructure development should be understood to best determine how mangroves might contribute to risk reduction for people in long-term disaster risk reduction planning. At the same time, urgent action must be taken to reduce threats to existing mangroves and to enable mangroves to migrate inland and to new areas as sea levels rise.

Investing in bringing solutions to scale

No one community, government or organization can realize the $1 trillion return of saving mangroves on its own. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment.

WWF has helped found the Global Mangrove Alliance, which aims to increase mangrove coverage 20% by 2030. The Alliance brings together technical experts, civil society organizations, governments, local communities, businesses, funding agencies and foundations to accelerate a comprehensive, coordinated, global approach to mangrove conservation and restoration at a scale that matters.

The tide is turning on how we view our natural resources, especially in the face of a shifting climate, from a source of exploitation or removal to one of need for natural resilience. Mangrove forests could be considered the flagship habitat for this shift in thinking. It’s time to go all-in and put our collective investment in this natural climate solution.

  • Date: 23 September 2019
  • Author: David Kuhn, Senior Program Officer, Climate Resilience

In the leadup to Climate Week, WWF and its partners recognize that the world urgently needs to be made more resilient to climate change. The myriad challenges that climate change poses to agriculture, ecosystems, and communities demands action from a broad set of stakeholders, including the private sector. But many conservation and sustainability approaches are simply not enough today because they were designed for a climate that no longer exists. Achieving the conservation goals of the future requires a new approach where we are constantly adapting and building resilience—the inherent and continued ability to recover from shocks and stressors—in a future of constant change.

Collaboration with companies is essential to achieving these goals. They require a holistic approach where landscapes are the foundation for assessing risks and piloting solutions, and best practices are shared and scaled through global action. Companies that adopt a local-to-global, holistic approach can help deliver on their sustainability and shareholder commitments, safeguard their investments, and help countries meet their commitments for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement.

To that end, WWF has developed three guiding principles that we encourage the private sector to follow when developing, supporting, and implementing resilience strategies:

1. Avoid harming nature

“Do no harm” is a basic but critical factor that must be front-and-center. All companies must reduce future harm to ecosystems and thoroughly analyze the impacts and trade-offs of their initiatives.

2. Use nature to help people

Resilience strategies should consider the critical benefits that nature can provide for people – protection from coastal flooding, ground water recharge, soil retention, pollination, and more -- and take steps to ensure stakeholders are invested in successful outcomes.

3. Help nature adapt

Companies must design strategies that allow nature to adapt to the growing changes around us. They should take an active role in ensuring the continued prosperity and stability of natural resources, wildlife, and ecosystems for all people.

WWF and our corporate partners are working together to show what this can look like in action. For example, The Coca-Cola Company is working with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to assess risks of climate change to their business, with Business for Social Responsibility to establish industry strategy to address the risks, and with WWF to work on the ground and realize large-scale resilience-building. With WWF’s Resilience Principles at the forefront, WWF is working with The Coca-Cola Company to identify processes and interventions in the MesoAmerican Reef that can build landscape resilience to negative impacts of climate change. These impacts include crop loss, encroachment on and shrinking protected areas, water scarcity, and increased social conflict in Guatemala.

WWF works to help our partners:

• Develop a deep understanding of current climate change impacts and future risks to people, agriculture, and nature at the landscape scale, including the critical benefits nature provides to support resilience for local communities – ecosystem services like water provision, flood risk reduction, soil fertility.

• Take a participatory, multi-stakeholder-based approach to prioritize, design, and test adaptation and resilience innovations.

• Disseminate and scale lessons learned from this process across the company’s global reach and industry, and make social-ecological resilience approaches mainstream practice

Major companies have the opportunity to lead with their own resilience strategies, but to be successful they cannot operate in a vacuum. Companies must collaborate with environmental organizations, governments, financial institutions and – perhaps most importantly – other companies. We need to share best practices, pool funds, coordinate, and collaborate. Only together can we act at a scale equal to the problems we face.

  • Date: 19 September 2019
  • Author: Sheila Bonini, Senior Vice President, Private Sector Engagement

The climate crisis is the defining environmental issue of our time – and the greatest threat to WWF’s global conservation efforts.

It’s been three years since the landmark Paris Agreement. We are now facing the true test of whether countries take action to ensure global emissions peak by 2020 and commit to setting science-based climate commitments every five years after that to slow and adapt to climate change.

While there’s been some progress - U.S. emissions trended downwards in recent years in part due to state, city, and business actions and more companies than ever are setting Science Based Targets - it’s clear that more must be done. The climate has already increased by 1 degree from pre-industrial levels and we need to pick up the pace of change to achieve a 2 degree future, let alone the 1.5 degree pathway needed to avoid the extreme impacts of climate change.

Every September, heads of state, activists and business executives meet in New York for the annual UN General Assembly meetings and Climate Week to share ideas and champion progress. This year, the world is coming together at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit to spur ambitious climate action by all parts of society.

WWF will be leading the charge in advocating for a 1.5 C degree future - a zero carbon inclusive economy that provides wellbeing for all, is powered by renewable energy and is sustained by nature.

We’re mobilizing our activists as part of the Climate March, advocating for climate policies with government leaders, and co-chairing the Ambition Advisory Group, a working group that is actively shaping Summit workstreams to ensure the event collectively raises global action at a necessary scale.

WWF will also spend the week engaging business in a dialogue around how to set commitments into action. As part of these efforts, WWF is hosting events on climate resilience, grasslands and other nature-based solutions, deforestation-free supply chains, and more. To learn more about WWF events and to register, please go to WWFEventsDuringUNGA.eventbrite.com.

Throughout the week, we will share our insights about this important gathering. This moment requires a transformational movement, with everyone at the table, and we hope you will join us.

  • Date: 18 September 2019
  • Author: Center for Responsible Travel

On September 27, tourism organizations, businesses, and NGOs will gather for the third annual World Tourism Day Forum in Washington, DC, hosted by the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and the Organization of American States. Impact Tourism: Giving Time, Talent, and Treasure, being held at the United States Institute of Peace, will focus on successful travel giving programs for a wide range of business and destination types, sharing best practices and inspiring stories of impact. Recognizing that “doing good” does not always mean “doing right,” the forum will also examine the downsides of inappropriately implemented travel giving and voluntourism programs.

Giving back to the environment will be a key focus at this year’s World Tourism Day Forum, with businesses and organizations like Intrepid Travel, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and others sharing how their travel programs can positively impact our planet’s finite resources. But what about environmental impacts of the event itself? Is it possible to share these important lessons while also mitigating the waste and carbon generated when you bring a global audience of 200 people into one room?

The World Tourism Day Forum’s hosts believe it is critical to reduce the environmental impacts of conferences. “If we’re going to come together to talk about these issues, we have to be ‘walking the walk’ at the event itself,” said Samantha Bray, CREST’s Managing Director.

From housing the forum at a LEED Gold-certified building to using 100% recycled and recyclable programs, every step of this year’s planning process was undertaken with sustainability in mind.

Here are three major sustainability strategies being used at the 2019 World Tourism Day Forum:

  • Food waste reduction: WWF’s Food Waste team worked with the hosts to make the forum a reduced waste event, with a focus on landfill diversion (composting), food recovery, and food waste prevention. The event will be catered by Seasons Culinary Services, which works to minimize plastic, reduce waste, and use organic and local products for all events.
  • Carbon offsetting: CREST and the OAS worked with sponsor CarbonFund.org to calculate the carbon footprint from event operations and participant travel, making this a carbon-neutral event. The offset will go towards the New Bedford Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in Massachusetts, supporting the production of clean electricity while also reducing the amount of methane released into our atmosphere.
  • Locally-owned businesses: The World Tourism Day Forum features two small, locally-owned beer and wine sponsors. Bethel Height Vineyard was one of the first vineyards in Oregon to be certified “Salmon Safe” and was one of the founders of Oregon’s LIVE Certified Sustainable program. 3 Stars Brewing Company is located in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC, and was started by two home brewers who strive to collaborate with friends to source local ingredients. The transport of the beer and wine was also included in the carbon offset calculation.

There are still a few days to register for the September 27 event in Washington, DC. In-person and live-stream tickets are available here through September 23.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

  • Date: 26 August 2019
  • Author: Daniel Riley and Luli Pesqueira

New opportunities in Mexican Electricity Market

Until recently, to most companies, buying electricity in Mexico meant plugging in and paying their bill. The market maintained a vertically integrated state monopoly, with very limited private generation. However, the Energy Reform of 2014 has transformed the Mexican electricity market entirely. This unprecedented reform created a liberalized wholesale market that allows commercial and industrial users to choose their own electricity supply at a competitive price.

With this new-found freedom of choice comes an urgent need for knowledge and market intelligence. Electricity buyers need transactional and technical support to help them navigate the new options in a complex marketplace.

The WWF team in Mexico sees this reform beyond cost-competitive electricity as it unlocks the conditions for more renewable energy with a stronger than ever business case for corporate buyers. 

Building upon the foundation of early buyers’ engagement, with the strong technical support of market experts, and ultimately made possible by the partnership among corporate buyers, renewable energy project developers, service providers, NGO partners and other key stakeholders, WWF has launched the Ren mx platform. Here, corporate buyers can find guidance to develop and execute a renewable energy purchasing strategy in only eight steps: from analyzing their energy demand to choosing a supplier and monitoring the performance of their deal, to everything in between.

The goal of Ren mx is to increase the competitiveness of businesses in Mexico by providing access to affordable and secure renewable energy, while helping companies to decarbonize their operations and ramp up the penetration of renewable energy in the Mexican grid.

Renewable energy: the new frontier for competitiveness 

More than 1,500 companies in Mexico have purchased renewable energy through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) in the last 20 years. Mining, industrial and financial sectors are leading the way. The new market offers even more renewable energy supply alternatives and cost-competitive options with flexible terms that can be tailored to different business needs. These options offer a suite of benefits including price stability and transparency, cost saving, risk mitigation, and the opportunity to improve sustainability performance and demonstrate leadership. Renewable energy procurement is the new frontier for competitiveness in Mexico. While the market already saw the pioneering companies’ success, many more fall short due to the high transaction cost and complexity of large-scale renewable energy deals. Ren mx is here to provide capacity building to get the next 1,500 companies to source renewable energy.

Ren mx: a platform by buyers, for buyers

Inspired by Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance in US, Ren mx is born of consultation with corporate buyers and strives to serve buyers' needs. The platform provides timely and simplified market intelligence, training and tools for renewable energy buyers, and helps to connect buyers with suppliers. No more trying to figure it out on your own - Ren mx offers a standardized step-by-step guide and a community of learning and sharing.

As mentioned earlier, the Procurement Strategy Planner (Estrategia de compra) walks a new energy buyer through an eight-step process to determine a renewable energy sourcing strategy. It entails detailed tools and guides to perform an analysis of energy consumption, criteria to evaluate suppliers and design an RFP, to structure and negotiate a contract, and for comparing offers and understanding the legal implication of your deal. “The Procurement Strategy has made the renewable energy PPA so much easier,” said a corporate buyer in Mexico, “It shows the team behind this tool truly understand the challenges and demand of corporate buyers.”

Join Ren mx now and become a part of the transition towards a more competitive and renewable Mexico.

To learn more about Ren mx, visit www.ren.mx, or contact Luli Pesqueira Fernandez

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