World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

filtered by category: Climate Change

  • 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: 11 March 2020
  • Author: Lisa Frank

At Lisa Frank Inc, nature is one of our greatest inspirations, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. We produce art filled with adorable creatures and vivid colors to celebrate animals and wildlife. There's a special feeling of joy and awe that fills you up when you think of the majestic creatures that roam our planet. That feeling is what Lisa Frank always tries to capture with our designs.

For animal lovers, including so many of the Lisa Frank fans and followers, the past several months have been incredibly tough. The wildfires in Australia were so widespread and so devastating. The terrible toll these fires have taken on people, animals, and nature, is almost too much to bear. But even in the face of something so horrible, we can't give in to feelings of hopelessness. While most of us may not be firefighters or environmental scientists, every single one of us can do something to help.

In Lisa Frank's case, that means using the power of our designs and the reach of our business to raise funds for World Wildlife Fund to help with restoration and recovery efforts in Australia. We also want to give the Lisa Frank audience, especially our youngest fans, an easy way they can contribute and help make a difference.

To support this important cause, we issued a collection called, "I heart; Koalas." It's a design in classic Lisa Frank style, full of whimsy, color, and joy. While our motivations for starting this campaign are heartbreaking, we deliberately wanted to use an image that would give our fans that same warm, fuzzy Lisa Frank feeling. Our design reminds people why they care about wildlife, sparking them to contribute to the effort out of joy, love, and hope, not out of fear or sadness.

While the reality for wildlife on our planet isn't always sunshine and rainbows, it's so important that we continue to celebrate the love we have for nature, focusing on what we can save and restore, rather than what we've lost. This attitude is shared by World Wildlife Fund, which is why we're so excited to support them through this project. We want Lisa Frank's fans to know that there's a role for everyone to help, both with the recovery effort in Australia and with conservation around the world. Any individual -- and any business, including ours -- can do their part. And together by showing how much we care about wildlife, each of our efforts can add up to something incredible.

  • Date: 13 February 2020

The United States must achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050, if the world has any hope of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees - the level at which the world can likely avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. WWF believes that national legislation setting a price on carbon, as well as a mandatory net-zero target for 2050 or earlier - with intermediate targets between now and then - is essential to charting a durable and ambitious pathway for the whole country. Such an approach would require the federal government to use every tool at its disposal - existing authorities under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, budgetary authority with respect to transportation and other sources, research and development capacity, and many more - to transform the energy economy in the United States. The roadmap released today by the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), of which WWF-US is a member, is a good step in the direction of achieving this vision. It advances a clear framework that can help set the stage for bipartisan climate negotiations - but more work remains.

As WWF continues to engage with the CLC and others in Congress, the private sector, and civil society who are working to craft a lasting national climate policy, we will be guided by the following criteria:

America’s national climate policy should:

  • Reduce emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and
  • Achieve greater than net-zero emission levels by 2050 at the latest.

WWF supports a policy approach that:

  • Creates a legally mandatory pathway to our emissions goals,
  • Provides for a just transition for all Americans, and
  • Respects the rights of indigenous people and frontline communities in the United States.

The right policy approach will combine the following mechanisms:

  • A price on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Complementary regulation, particularly of air pollution from mobile sources,
  • State programs that provide locally appropriate approaches to reducing emissions, and
  • Support for voluntary initiatives, such as those taken by the private sector to set and achieve science-based emissions targets.

The CLC roadmap aligns with some of these criteria but not all. Specifically, WWF has concerns about preempting, suspending, or repealing EPA’s authority to regulate stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, under a national climate policy, the EPA would need to be strengthened and fully funded, using every authority available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In our ideal policy design EPA would:

  • Have the authority to regulate sources of emissions from stationary sources on both climate and environmental justice criteria;
  • Continue to set and enforce regulations for mobile sources, and efficiency programs for appliances, lighting, and buildings;
  • Measure and evaluate the emissions that inform a carbon price;
  • Cooperate with states and local governments on setting climate plans; and
  • Enforce binding targets for emissions reductions.

The need for an ambitious and binding climate policy is urgent. The lack of a proper national response from the wealthiest nation on Earth to our greatest existential threat drains ambition from the global community at a moment when we need to move farther and faster than ever.

The CLC roadmap matters because it provides a forum for a range of voices from across sectors – including many that have traditionally been at odds with each other – to discuss a way forward on addressing the climate crisis. WWF thanks CLC for advancing this discussion and looks forward to being a constructive voice in the months ahead.

  • Date: 09 January 2020
  • Author: Jason Clay

The Markets Institute at WWF identifies global issues and emerging trends around the most pressing challenges of our time to help us all learn and shift faster. As always, we'll be tracking a wide variety of food and soft commodity issues, trends, and tools as we move into 2020, dubbed the super-year for the environment. We know we will see more political volatility and financial crises, and the impacts of climate change to not only be felt more deeply but also recognized for what they are—a ticking time bomb for the future so long as they are not addressed. Here are just a few of the other issues, trends and tools we will be tracking this year:

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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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