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.

filtered by category: Climate

  • Date: 25 June 2024
  • Author: Cihang Yuan

When people think about decarbonizing the chemical sector, they often imagine a daunting task. It’s true that this industry has long been considered “hard to abate,” and the complexity of the processes involved has historically proven a significant challenge. Helping to pave the way toward a solution to these obstacles, the Renewable Thermal Collaborative’s (RTC) new Chemical Sector Assessment has laid out a clear and achievable roadmap for decarbonizing the chemical sector. While implementing these solutions may not be simple, the solutions themselves are fairly straightforward. Chemical companies, downstream corporate consumers, and policymakers must act together today to transition the chemical sector onto a net-zero pathway.

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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: 09 April 2024
  • Author: Marcene Mitchell

The EPA this past week announced $20 billion in long-anticipated awards under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF). The GGRF is largest direct investment vehicle under the historic Inflation Reduction Act, which is the foundation of the Biden Administrations clean energy agenda. The GGRF is aimed at supplying much needed capital to transform local neighborhoods and provide support for community financing for the energy transition. What makes this moment so unprecedented is that 70% of the funds are being directed toward vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. This will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions for underserved communities which have often bore the brunt of carbon and environmental pollution. The GGRF marks a pivotal moment by scaling up the dollars available to these communities to invest in reducing energy costs, improving public health and creating good-paying clean energy jobs.

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  • Date: 19 March 2024
  • Author: Elizabeth Lien

Climate change is expensive. In 2023 alone, NOAA recorded 28 climate change related disasters in the U.S. whose damages clocked in at more than a billion dollars each. Those 28 disasters cost the U.S. economy just shy of $93 billion in a single year. To give a sense of contrast, from 2018 to 2022, federal product liability Approved Class Action Settlement Awards and Punitive Damages, which are part of a category of risk that private companies are required to report on, together totaled about $415 million nationwide over five years. And despite the uncertainty involved in litigating class action product liability, an investor would be rightfully upset if a company failed to disclose a pending suit.

A step forward with a new rule

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a draft rule in 2022 on how publicly traded companies should report on their climate risk. In response, the SEC received over 24,000 comments on the draft rule and finally voted on a final rule on March 6, 2024. It is not often that such a mundane government meeting about financial reporting receives so much attention but there is a very good reason why: climate risks are increasing, they are expensive, and they can’t be managed if we don’t know where the problems are.

SEC Chair Gensler made clear that SEC staff have been working for years to develop and finalize this climate disclosure rule to provide decision-useful information to investors because climate risks are material and we couldn’t agree more. Climate risk can – and very often does – impact a company’s bottom line and it is critical that investors have sufficient information in the financial report to determine if a company’s finances are sound. Some companies have been reporting on climate risk for years and often do so in stand-alone sustainability reports, but this SEC rule standardizes the process and requires the reporting to occur in the financial report where it belongs and in a way that allows investors to compare across entities on an apples-to-apples basis.

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  • Date: 04 January 2024
  • Author: Cihang Yuan


Infrastructure, permitting, and tracking systems key to success

On December 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released proposed rulemaking for the clean hydrogen production tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA offers a production tax credit of up to $3 per kg of hydrogen produced based on carbon intensity. Electrolytic hydrogen, produced by using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, could be eligible for the highest-level tax credit if zero-carbon electricity (i.e. electricity produced from renewable sources or by nuclear power) is used. The average cost to produce green hydrogen, renewable-based electrolytic hydrogen, before the tax credit is approximately $5-6/kg. This means that the tax credit has the potential to significantly lower the production cost of green hydrogen.

Green hydrogen is a versatile and critical decarbonization solution for hard-to-electrify sectors like heavy industries (e.g. chemical and steel) and long-haul heavy-duty transportation. It could also play an important role in enhancing grid resilience and reducing renewable curtailment in the power sector.

The main issues to look for in the proposed guidance are the “three pillars” related to the electricity used to produce hydrogen: temporal matching, incrementality, and deliverability. Together these create a framework environmental groups and many in the hydrogen industry have advocated for to ensure that green hydrogen delivers genuine climate benefits and contributes to greening the electric grid. The hydrogen industry has been anxiously awaiting detailed guidance as it will have significant implications for their project siting, design, and profitability.

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  • Date: 09 November 2023
  • Author: Cihang Yuan

Low-carbon fuels such as green hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG) are critical for decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors such as industry and transportation. Green hydrogen is produced with renewable electricity through electrolysis that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. RNG is methane produced from anaerobic digestion of organic matter like animal manure or food waste, which is processed and can then be used to replace conventional natural gas.

According to the Renewable Thermal Vision Report published by the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC), clean hydrogen can supply approximately 13% of the heat used in industrial processes in the US by 2050. While RNG is likely to have a smaller role in the overall energy mix due to supply constraints, it can help mitigate methane emissions that would otherwise be emitted from manures or food waste.

An increasing number of companies are looking to clean fuel solutions like green hydrogen and RNG to address their thermal energy footprints by decarbonizing industrial process heat. As always, early success stories are essential to accelerating the growth of new technologies and nascent markets—and we heard many of them at the RTC’s recent Annual Summit in Washington, D.C.

Large industrial energy buyers and fuel producers shared early success stories about their on-the-ground experiences deploying these decarbonized fuels on the panel “Deploying Decarbonized Fuels: Case Studies and Infrastructure Opportunities.”

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  • Date: 20 September 2023
  • Author: Kerry Cesareo and Marcene Mitchell

Yesterday at New York Climate Week, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched the Nature-Based Solutions Origination Platform (NbS-OP), a new model for scaling up, aligning and mobilizing public and private finance for high-quality nature-based solutions (NbS) under an integrated landscape finance approach. With this model, interventions to address nature loss, expand sustainable livelihoods, and mitigate climate risks are planned, financed and implemented holistically across large tropical forest territories, helping to ensure lasting success. The five initial landscapes where the NbS-OP will focus are the Atlantic Forest (Brazil); the Central Annamites (Viet Nam); Madre de Dios (Peru); the Northern Highlands/Diana (Madagascar); and the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico).

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  • Date: 18 September 2023
  • Author: Laura Phillips-Alvarez
Laura Phillips-Alvarez

Laura Phillips-Alvarez is an intern with the Media and External Affairs Department at WWF

I had a very D.C. childhood. And by that I mean, I grew up between Honduras, Uganda, Tajikistan, Nicaragua, Mozambique, and the U.S. (in that order). I never know what to respond when people ask me where I’m from, so I give a palatable answer that does not actually answer where I am from.

“My mom is from Guatemala and my dad is from Boston.”

“Cool!”

This mixed-identity crisis is common in third culture kids (TCK’s), a term coined in the 1950s for children who spend their formative years in a culture other than their parents.

Identity crisis aside, spending the first 13 years of my life in some of the countries that are the hardest hit by climate change (and the least responsible for it) instilled in me a great sense of urgency to live as sustainably as possible.

As Hispanic Heritage Month kicks-off, I wanted to reflect on some of the lessons in sustainable living that I adopted from my childhood across Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the U.S.

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  • Date: 09 August 2023
  • Author: Daniel Riley, Director, International Corporate Climate Partnerships, WWF

Last week, the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) briefed Capitol Hill stakeholders on key insights of its Renewable Thermal Vision Report and the role federal policymakers can play in unlocking critical pathways to decarbonize industry and cut emissions to reach net zero by 2050.

The industrial sector produces 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and industry’s use of thermal energy (heating and cooling) to create many of the products we use in our everyday lives accounts for nearly half of that number.

With the impacts of climate change becoming ever more dangerous, we must address every source of emissions that causes climate change, and one of the ways we can make real progress is by prioritizing the conversion of low and medium heat processes in the industrial sector to renewable energy. Though ambitious, undertaking the actions this would require stands to have tremendous impact–potentially reducing thermal emissions by nearly 80%.

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  • Date: 26 July 2023

There’s a growing awareness of the critical role nature plays in fighting the climate crisis. Nature captures and stores over 50% of man-made carbon emissions from the atmosphere; which slows the rate of global warming. Nature can also help reduce the impact of extreme weather events like storms, heatwaves, and drought. We call the intentional deployment of nature to address societal challenges like climate change “nature-based solutions.

It is fitting then, on World Mangrove Day, that WWF is launching ManglarIA (Spanish for “AI for Mangroves”), a new initiative supported by Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, that will help us use advanced technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), to understand how mangrove ecosystems and their contributions to communities are affected by climate change and its impacts. The project was selected from among hundreds of submissions to receive a $5 million grant from Google.org’s Impact Challenge on Climate Innovation. This project is representative of a growing movement to bolster nature-based solutions with advances in technology - creating more effective and measurable outcomes for climate solutions rooted in nature and enabled by technology.

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