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World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

filtered by category: Climate Change

  • 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

  • Date: 28 March 2019
  • Author: John Marler, Vice President, Energy & Environment, AEG

This Saturday, March 30 at 8:30 p.m. local time, millions of people, companies and municipalities around the world will celebrate Earth Hour. They will turn out their lights in solidarity for the fight against climate change and renewing their commitment toward protecting our planet.

As the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company, AEG believes we have an opportunity to use our business assets and influence to create positive change in the world.  Through our worldwide network of more than 150 venues, we entertain more than 100 million guests annually, and what better way to raise awareness for this important initiative than to add our venues to the list of iconic structures that will join the global Earth Hour movement?

2019 marks the 10th year that AEG’s is celebrating Earth Hour. We’ve made this an annual tradition because we believe that sustainability is a shared endeavor, touching everyone in all organizations and all corners of the globe.  Through our environmental sustainability program, AEG 1EARTH, are working hard to conserve more, use less, source responsibly and find better ways to work.

But this year’s Earth Hour event takes on an even more urgent tone, in light of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recent report on global warming. According to the report, as a global society, we have less than 12 years to make “unprecedented” changes to our way of life or face increasingly dire consequences.  Just last month, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization released a report explaining that global loss of biodiversity from habitat and ecosystem degradation is threatening the world’s food supplies, as just nine species account for 66% of total crop production. 

John Marler AEG (002)

John Marler is the Vice President for Energy & Environment at AEG

In April, we will release our eighth sustainability report which outlines our progress towards our science-based climate goal, our risk-based potable water conservation goal, and our waste diversion goal. We’ll share our successes and business challenges, including the completion of the nation’s largest solar installation at a municipally-owned convention center, the launch of our employee-driven sustainability advocacy program and our work to reduce single-use plastics throughout our operations.

While our sustainability efforts are ongoing, we celebrate Earth Hour to unite and stand with others around the world. In Shanghai, the Mercedes-Benz Arena will turn off its lights and work with artist Fei Yuqing on Earth Hour activations during his concert. In Los Angeles, L.A. LIVE, STAPLES Center and the Microsoft Theater will be dimming unnecessary lights and promoting Earth Hour through their social media channels. And in Australia, ICC Sydney will black out two-thirds of the venue with messaging to the public and employees. These are just a few examples of what we’ll doing on March 30 in support of Earth Hour – we hope you join us!

 

 

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

  • Date: 10 October 2018

It’s no secret that as the world’s population continues to rise, so does our demand on its resources. Between growing incomes and the need to feed more people, the rate of consumption will continue to far outpace the systems necessary to manage this consumption. Because our waste systems simply can’t keep up, uncollected or leaked waste will continue to wreak havoc on the environment. Litter doesn’t just affect the beauty of our environment – it affects the health of ecosystems, biodiversity, and humans alike.

At World Wildlife Fund (WWF) we work to stop the flow of waste into nature, but we realize that changes are needed earlier in the material management system to eliminate the potential for massive downstream effects even before they become an issue. We need to develop innovative solutions that work to improve the entire system from the earliest stages of product development.

WWF’s Cascading Materials Vision is the foundation for what a holistic material management solution looks like. We’ve recently joined the NextGen Cup Consortium, led by Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy and in cooperation with founding partners Starbucks and McDonalds, to help bring part of this vision to life through a multi-year initiative.

Launching this week is the Consortium’s inaugural initiative, the NextGen Cup Challenge, which will seek to transform one of the most recognizable single-use items: the paper cup. The challenge, managed by OpenIDEO, aims to catalyze ideation and action leading to the adoption of a new, sustainable, single-use cup that can be recycled or composted on a global scale. 

The challenge will analyze the cup as part of the larger system it fits into and designers will strive to create a new fiber cup that is one part of a more sustainable global waste management strategy.

While single-use cups are only part of our waste problem, this challenge is the Consortium’s first step in revolutionizing the recovery of materials in the packaging industry.

Why is this challenge necessary?

Most paper cups distributed today are sent to a landfill. Therefore, a critical piece of the challenge is designing a cup that can be recovered at the highest scale globally and across a range of regions that have different infrastructure systems. Ultimately the greenest cup is the one you bring with you, but until this practice becomes a cultural norm, we need to make sure our fast-moving consumer cups have minimal environmental impacts.

We produce over 250 billion paper cups each year. While these cups must always meet health and safety standards and be convenient, lightweight, printable, durable, and functional across a wide range of temperatures, there has never been enough pressure to source and produce these cups in a sustainable way. This challenge is necessary because the current cup is created and used on such a large scale that it has enormous waste management impacts. In addition, we are wasting valuable resources that could be given new life and we are constantly demanding virgin materials to produce more cups.

Technically, traditional paper cups (as well as almost anything), can be recycled if broken down physically or chemically. However, for recycling to actually occur on a meaningful scale, there must be value for the recovered material. The economics of recovery must be such that the value of the re-processed material is still higher than the costs of re-processing. In addition, there needs to be a large enough volume of the specific material to make it profitable. Therefore, the more uniformity in sustainable packaging materials, the easier it will be for a global system to recapture the value of the material.

Why is WWF involved?

Progress towards a global system of material recovery is exceptionally difficult due to the scale of the issue and the number of stakeholders that must be involved to achieve meaningful results. WWF not only recognizes the scale of this problem but also the enormous potential for positive change. As the world population grows, so does demand for goods and packaging and our natural resources suffer. Items such as paper cups are thrown away every day without regard to their potential value in a circular economy. Recovering materials such as single-use fiber cups means taking advantage of an opportunity to do more with less.

WWF serves as an advisory partner on the NextGen Cup Challenge because we look at environmental issues from a broad and comprehensive lens. WWF will provide guidance throughout the competition to ensure that as one environmental issue is being solved, others are not created. WWF’S ability to recognize and evaluate tradeoffs will help inform decisions made by the NextGen Cup Consortium and the team at WWF is already at work helping establish the criteria for a successful and sustainable fiber cup.

Join the challenge! Here’s how:

The NextGen Cup Challenge will officially launch on October 9 when entrepreneurs, designers, and companies are encouraged to submit proposals. Several phases, including reviews and refinement, will occur before the top ideas are announced in February 2019.

Moving Forward

The NextGen Consortium is actively looking to partner with other companies, as they recognize that increased support from other partners will trigger market signals that reverberate throughout the entire value chain. The paper cup is one of those challenging single use items whose re-design for recovery can open the door for wide-scale recovery of other single-use packaging. We know that the global solution to material waste will not be successful through individual attempts at solutions. We must collaborate on a systems approach to maximize our collective potential for success. We believe that, by inviting the full suite of actors to the table, the NextGen Consortium is talking strides towards a promising solution to single-use material waste.

To stay informed as the NextGen Cup challenge progresses, check out https://nextgenconsortium.com

  • Date: 13 September 2018
  • Author: Steve Easterbrook, CEO, McDonald's and Carter Roberts, President & CEO, World Wildlife Fund

With each passing day, the world awakens to growing evidence that investing in sustainable business practices, clean energy and climate-smart agriculture isn’t just best for the planet – it’s good for companies and consumers.

This week, the Global Climate Action Summit – the first-ever global summit focused on non-federal climate leadership – kicks off in San Francisco. The Summit will bring business leaders together with mayors, governors and others from across the globe to share knowledge and chart a new path for climate ambition.

For businesses, this means committing to ambitious climate targets and crafting concrete plans to meet them. Earlier this year McDonald’s became the first global restaurant company to adopt a science-based climate target, which aims to prevent an estimated 150 million metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere by 2030. Science based targets help companies identify how much and how quickly they need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping the increase in average global temperatures below 2° Celsius (3.56° Fahrenheit). More than 125 companies have already adopted them, and more than 335 have committed to do so. But many more have yet to sign on.

The world’s largest companies can help lead the way. By becoming early adopters, they can help shift entire industries toward more sustainable practices and drive results on a scale that matters. 

McDonalds letter

As printed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 13 2018

Of course, setting targets is one thing. Meeting them is another. Strategies to meet climate targets will vary from sector to sector, but two in particular present exciting opportunities: shifting to renewable energy sources and adopting smarter land-use policies.

Large companies can leverage their collective buying power to directly purchase renewable energy to power their operations. Or, if they purchase electricity through a local utility, they can demand that their utility offer more renewable energy options. For example, there are over 20 special utility renewable energy options across 15 states, with large companies playing a big role in helping develop many of them. By driving a transformation of the electricity system, companies can help promote and scale renewable energy sources, all while reaping considerable savings and growing jobs.

How companies and their suppliers use land presents an effective and relatively untapped solution to climate change. From global food production and consumption, to forest management and infrastructure development, these practices produce 12 billion tons of emissions globally each year – greater than the emissions from cars, planes, trains, trucks and ships combined. But a new approach to land use that focuses on long term sustainability and growth instead of immediate, short-term returns can achieve 30 percent of the emissions reductions needed to fulfill the Paris Agreement. For example, companies can promote climate-friendly agricultural practices like cover crops and no-till farming. And they can help address supply chain impacts on deforestation.

Hundreds of companies like McDonald’s – along with the cities, states, regions and countries where they operate – have already begun to implement these solutions, and many others. More than 3,000 of these climate leaders have committed to helping America, and beyond, fulfill its pledges under the Paris Agreement as part of the We Are Still In coalition. Collectively, we represent half of American citizens and about half of the country’s total economic output.

The Global Climate Action Summit provides business leaders and others with the opportunity to learn from one another and commit to more aggressive goals. We urge business leaders around the world to join the move toward science-based climate targets, and to embrace renewable energy and land use solutions that will help them meet those targets. Together, we can strengthen our environment and foster a safe, sustainable planet for future generations. 

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This was originally published as an open letter in the San Francisco Chronicle.

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