World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

Better business for a better Earth

At World Wildlife Fund, we believe deeply in the private sector’s ability to drive positive environmental change. WWF Sustainability Works is a forum for discussion around strategies, commitments, technologies and more that will help businesses achieve conservation goals that are good for the planet and their bottom lines. Follow WWF Sustainability Works on twitter at @WWFBetterBiz.

  • Date: 13 June 2024
  • Author: Tara Doyle

If you stumbled upon a peatland, it might look like an unremarkable, open valley of shrubs, grasses, and mosses. But hidden beneath its unassuming surface lies a powerful force. Covering less than 3% of the Earth's land, these unique wetlands play an outsized role in carbon sequestration and biodiversity protection. In a recent interview, photographer and science communicator Charlie Reinertsen discussed the mystery surrounding peatlands and why we can’t afford to overlook them any longer.

Peatlands are found across the globe, from the Northern Hemisphere to the tropics. They are characterized by the presence of peat; a dense, organic material formed from layers upon layers of partially decomposed plant matter. Around ten thousand years ago, Ice Age glaciers retreated and left indentations that eventually filled with water. Plants grew but could not fully decompose, creating a deep, floating mat of vegetation. This process means peatlands are incredible carbon sinks, storing about one-third of the world’s soil carbon – more than any other terrestrial ecosystem.

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  • Date: 04 June 2024
  • Author: Julia Kurnik

Our food supply chain is facing critical pressures and an uncertain future. California produces more than two-thirds of the fruits and nuts grown in the US and nearly half of all its vegetables. But due to climate change, water availability, and other factors, depending on California for all that food is increasingly unsustainable.

More than a decade ago, WWF’s Markets Institute identified this growing uncertainty in domestic food production as both a challenge and an opportunity. We set out to find “the next California,” a place to build a sustainable and equitable commercial-level specialty crop industry. We settled on the Mid-Mississippi Delta (western Tennessee, northwestern Mississippi, and eastern Arkansas) as a spot that could ease the pressure on California, avoid converting natural lands to farmland elsewhere in the country, and create an equitable engine of local growth.

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  • Date: 28 May 2024

Founded by actor and philanthropist Sam Heughan, My Peak Challenge (MPC) is a global community dedicated to health, wellness, and giving back to charity. In an effort to support wildlife, MPC selected World Wildlife Fund as its official charity partner for 2024. This year, MPC has championed for its members, also known as Peakers, to fundraise and advocate for WWF’s mission to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

A paper tree with pledges attached and a WWF banner

Last month, over 600 Peakers from across the globe gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland for MPC’s annual Gala weekend, where the Peaker community unites for a unique blend of wellness, camaraderie, celebration. As the official charity partner, WWF teamed up with MPC to take part in engaging programming for Peakers throughout the weekend. WWF’s Pledge Tree welcomed Peakers by asking them to make a pledge for the planet: a mindful affirmation of how they will take action in support of planet and people. Pledges included planting native plants and pollinator gardens, wasting less food, buying more responsibly sourced products, and using less plastic.

The Peakers participated in a two-hour workout with head coach Sam, and coaches Valbo, Mooney and Pearl. These workouts contributed to WWF’s Give an Hour For Earth campaign during the month of April in honor of Earth Day, which encouraged individuals to devote an hour or more of their time to Earth – giving back to the planet that gives us so much. WWF recorded over 105,106 hours of positive action for the planet, creating the biggest hour for Earth. The Peaker community on its own generated 3,501 hours – an impressive showing.

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  • Date: 24 May 2024
  • Author: Erin Simon

As WWF’s head of Plastic Pollution & Business, as well as a material science engineer with a decade of experience in the packaging industry, I often engage with companies about the scope and scale of the plastic pollution crisis – and specifically, what they should be doing about it. While it’s a simple question, it hasn’t always been as simple to answer.

Since its mainstream introduction in the 1940s, plastic has played an important role in shaping our society – helping our food stay fresh, our medical equipment sanitary, and our economy boom with convenient and affordable packaging for consumer products.

Recently however, the production of virgin single-use plastic has exploded, with more plastic products produced in the past 15 years alone than that of the entire 20th century. And while production has rapidly increased, our infrastructure and capacity to effectively deal with the resulting waste have not – leaving 75% of all plastic ever produced to become pollution, harming our environment, communities and even our bodies.

As an individual, I always aim to do my part with mindful consumption and proper disposal of the products I use – but as a sustainability professional, I also know that the only way to really achieve change at scale is for companies to design products and systems that make it easier for us to not create plastic waste in the first place.

Throughout my time at WWF, I've seen firsthand that businesses around the world are ready to step up. As awareness of this issue has risen, so too have corporate efforts to tackle plastic up and down the supply chain. The number of national and voluntary initiatives has increased by 60% in just the last five years. Yet even though many of the largest fast-moving consumer goods companies rank tackling plastic packaging waste as a top sustainability issue, they often don’t know where to begin to deliver the lasting and effective results our planet needs.

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  • Date: 16 May 2024

Chicago is known for deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, lake views, stunning architecture and next week it will be known for circularity – as sustainability professionals from around the world gather at GreenBiz’s Circularity24, to discuss how to accelerate the circular economy.

As always, WWF experts will participate in panels, lead discussions and host workshops dedicated to providing valuable insights on everything from plastic pollution to food waste.

If you’re participating in GreenBiz24, we invite you to join a workshop or session featuring WWF experts and of course come say “hello” during conference networking breaks. Here’s where you can find us:

It's Time to Tackle Food Waste

Wednesday, May 22 – 4pm-5pm CT

Daniel Burnham AB

WWF experts include:

This breakout session also includes speakers from: Ahold Delhaize, USA, Deloitte and ReFed

Countdown to a Global Plastics Treaty

Wednesday, May 22 – 4pm-5pm CT

Great Lakes A

WWF experts include:

  • Erin Simon, Vice President and Head of Plastic Waste + Business

This breakout session also includes speakers from: Ocean Conservancy and The Descendants Project

Global Packaging Innovations and Collaboration Strategies

Thursday, May 23 – 3pm-4pm ET

Architecture Room

WWF experts include:

  • Erin Simon, Vice President and Head of Plastic Waste + Business

This sponsored breakout session also includes speakers from: The Coca-Cola Company, Closed Loop Partners, and Republic Services

A Blueprint for Credible Action on Plastic Pollution

Friday, May 24 – 9am-11:30am CT

Great Lakes C

WWF experts include:

This workshop also includes speakers from: Colgate Palmolive and Starbucks

  • Date: 09 May 2024
  • Author: Emily Moberg

This is the third in a series of blog posts on carbon accounting standards. The first post provided an overarching explanation of carbon accounting and its inherent challenges. The second post examined variability in companies’ “Scope 3” emissions—that is, emissions that originate from upstream and downstream activities, which often constitute 90% or more of companies’ emissions. Here we discuss factors behind the variability of emissions across farms and regions.

The variability in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of product across the agricultural sector is striking, even when comparing identical products. Understanding this variability is crucial, particularly when assessing the complexities of supply chains. This variability manifests at multiple scales—from individual farms to regions—and significantly impacts both corporate strategy and policy formulation.

At the farm level, differences in emissions can be profound, even among neighboring farms that are both practicing conventional agriculture. For instance, two farms growing the same row crops can exhibit up to a twofold difference in emissions. Similar variability exists in aquaculture, where shrimp production emissions can vary by as much as five times. These discrepancies are often due to the efficiency of input use, influenced by factors such as soil quality, farmer skill, and local weather conditions. Such variability within a farm itself can result in certain areas being more profitable than others.

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  • Date: 23 April 2024

Last year, World Wildlife Fund and Finance Earth announced a new, innovative financing mechanism aimed at transitioning fisheries towards improved fishing practices and management – the Fisheries Improvement Fund (FIF).

Now, WWF and Finance Earth, in collaboration with key industry partners and philanthropy, have made an exciting announcement regarding the launch of a groundbreaking Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) in Chile. The FIP in Chile will be the first to be funded through the Fisheries Improvement Fund, which aims to catalyze over $100 million into fisheries improvement by 2030.

The FIP in Chile will focus on the transition to more sustainable marine ingredients in the anchoveta and araucanian herring (common sardine) fishery in Chile’s Central-Southern Region. The selected area, known for its ecological significance, is one of the world's most productive and critical fisheries.

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  • Date: 18 April 2024
  • Author: Emily Moberg

The food system accounts for one-third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. From cradle to landfill, about 70% of these emissions originate directly from farms. Downstream companies that ship, process, package, or store these products add another 15%, and ultimately consumers who cook and dispose of waste, add the remainder. To determine who is responsible for generating various emissions—and track improvement over time—we use GHG accounting standards, a set of guidelines that outline which emissions sources to include, the necessary data for these calculations, and the methodologies to be employed.

One critical concept from these standards is emissions “scopes.” A company’s Scope 1 emissions originate from its own operations, while its Scope 2 emissions originate from its purchased electricity and heat, and its Scope 3 emissions (which often account for 90% or more of its total emissions) originate from upstream and downstream activities, such as the production of purchased materials, transportation of purchased products, and the use of sold products and services. Thus, a company in the middle of the supply chain must account for—and help mitigate--the emissions of the inputs it procures (Scope 3), its own Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and the emissions other companies and consumers add to it after they sell it (Scope 3 again).

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  • Date: 17 April 2024

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve the plastic pollution crisis.

There is overwhelming support around the world to reduce plastic pollution, even among major plastic-production countries. In fact, recent polling shows that 85% of people globally would be in favor of a ban on single-use plastic. Leaders in the business community see a future without plastic pollution and are actively pursuing measures to develop alternatives to petroleum-based plastic. But to sustain these efforts, we need policymakers to develop regulations that ensure a level playing field and deliver greater transparency to minimize supply chain risks.

That’s where the Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution comes in. The fourth negotiating session, or INC-4, begins April 23rd, and is our last best chance to focus on achieving a successful treaty outcome.

We recently sat down with Erin Simon, WWF’s Vice President and Head of Plastic Waste + Business, to discuss what’s at stake with INC-4, how a global plastics treaty would impact Americans, and what we can all do to support the adoption of a strong, legally-binding agreement.

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  • Date: 11 April 2024

One of America’s most important and endangered rivers, the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo is home to more mammal species than Yellowstone National Park, more reptile species than the Sonoran Desert, more bird species than the Florida Everglades, and nearly 50% of all fish species found nowhere else in the world. This ecological treasure is teeming with biodiversity, but it is threatened by water scarcity – and without intervention, it may not be able to continue to support the millions of people and wildlife that rely on it.

That is why WWF is partnering with Finish to help protect and replenish the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo. Through this partnership, Finish is supporting WWF’s conservation work to help replenish the river alongside local organizations. Finish is also building awareness about the importance of water conservation by encouraging consumers to adopt simple, water-friendly habits in their homes, such as skipping the rinse when loading the dishwasher.

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