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: Sustainable Business

  • Date: 03 November 2023
  • Author: Fernando Bellese, Senior Director for Beef and Leather Supply Chains, WWF

Leather is a byproduct of beef production, but increasingly consumers of leather are calling for leather manufacturers to help ensure that hides they process are sustainably sourced — not coming from cattle raised on land that was deforested and converted to pasture, but rather supporting biodiversity and reduction in food sector emissions.

Cattle ranching is the major driver of deforestation in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, where millions of hectares of forest are cleared each year to make way for new pastures. The beef (and therefore leather) industry also contributes indirectly to deforestation through its supply chain.

Leather companies have begun to organize their efforts and manage their supply chains to combat deforestation. Last week, at the annual Textile Exchange conference in London, World Wildlife Fund, Textile Exchange and Leather Working Group launched the Call to Action Working Group, a collection of consumer brands, including fashion, retail, and automobile companies, that are striving to eliminate leather from their supply chains that is produced from cattle raised on recently deforested areas.

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  • Date: 31 October 2023
  • Author: Matthew Slovik, Head of Global Sustainable Finance, Morgan Stanley

People and economies cannot thrive without nature, including the living and non-living components of the atmosphere, land, ocean and freshwater, and biodiversity, which is the variability of organisms within nature. Nature and its contributions to human wellbeing and quality of life generate more than $44 trillion in economic value—more than half of the world’s GDP.¹

Yet, for the past several decades, nature has experienced unprecedented degradation. Since 1970, wildlife populations have declined by an average of 69%.2 Today, more than one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.3 The potential loss of entire ecosystems, including wild pollinators, marine fisheries and timber from forests—just a fraction of nature’s ecosystem—could result in a $2.7 trillion decline in global GDP annually.4

With critical resources such as food and fresh water supply at risk, investment in nature may provide help to better protect societies and businesses from the collapse of ecosystems. In particular, some investors are especially keen to understand how their investments can be detrimental or positive for nature, in the same way that they assess holdings with respect to their impact on climate change and the transition to clean energy in their climate investing.

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  • Date: 20 October 2023
  • Author: Tara Doyle, WWF

I had the opportunity to talk to the award-winning filmmaker and scientist Valerie Weiss, who has directed popular shows including Outer Banks and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Dr. Weiss received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard, and says this scientific background has influenced her approach to storytelling. Her interest in human behavior and cause-and-effect relationships compels her to dig deeper into the characters’ motivations, making stories more emotionally rich and resonant. Dr. Weiss is also passionate about promoting sustainability on set and weaving environmental messages through her work.

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  • Date: 16 October 2023
  • Author: Michele Thieme, Deputy Director, Freshwater, WWF

Water is often assumed to be the world’s most abundant resource. While more than 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 0.5% of that is fresh and available for use. This finite resource and our freshwater security is in increasing peril. The global population has exploited our rivers, lakes, and aquifers creating a water crisis that is undermining human and planetary health. Now, billions of people lack access to safe water and sanitation, food insecurity is on the rise, and we are losing freshwater species at alarming rates. Why is this happening? Because we have failed to properly value the very water we rely on.

The High Cost of Cheap Water, a new report from the World Wildlife Fund addresses this issue head-on. Not only is water critical for community and species health, but water is also a necessity for industrial production of goods, their transportation, and the production of the energy needed to underpin the entire supply chain. There are no siloes when it comes to freshwater access and usage; every decision we make about water impacts another industry or community. When considering the total footprint that water has across our society, WWF estimates that the total global quantifiable economic use value of water in 2021 is approximately US$58 trillion, equivalent to the combined GDPs of the United States, China, Japan, Germany and India.

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  • Date: 04 October 2023
  • Author: Corey L. Norton

New and proposed environmental, social, and governance (ESG) laws and regulations in the U.S. and EU represent a major step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, illegal deforestation and conversion of land, illegal fishing, and forced labor.

The new laws will affect the ways companies do business across borders and within certain jurisdictions. And they will have huge implications for environmental and social impact. But implementing the regulations is going to be difficult for many companies to do on their own. For those, collaboration is the key.

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  • Date: 27 September 2023

Agriculture is one of the most essential aspects of our society—it sustains life, it creates jobs— contributing USD $3.6 trillion and employing 27% of the world’s workforce.¹

The need for sustainable resource management is more important than ever. Without it, agricultural production consumes excessive water (about 70% of the planet’s fresh water). It also significantly contributes to the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and is a leading pollutant in many countries, infiltrating water, marine ecosystems, air and soil.

Unsustainable farming practices can not only have serious impacts on the environment but on people as well. When managed sustainably, agriculture can help preserve and restore critical habitats, improve soil health and improve water quality. With demand growing for food, WWF is working with key stakeholders, including governments, companies and farmers to implement better management practices that benefit both the environment and the producers’ bottom line.

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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: 10 August 2023
  • Author: Katherine Devine and Emily Moberg, WWF

Just about any production process causes greenhouse gas emissions, and the production of food is no different. As a whole, the food system creates about a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The great bulk of those occur on the farm – from deforestation that converts wild habitats to farmland; from land-based agricultural practices, like fertilizer use and livestock production; and from farming practices themselves, including fossil fuel emissions from tractors and other farm equipment.

Because of already tight profit margins, farms have little leeway to invest in processes that cut those on-farm emissions. That’s where incentives come in. By offering incentives to elements of their supply chain, companies can begin to shift behavior at various steps in food’s journey from farm to consumer, mitigating GHG emissions. Incentives can range from rewards to penalties, financial or otherwise. In a new report, the Markets Institute at WWF has focused on the rewards end of the spectrum, which companies have begun to discover is the more fruitful way to engage their supply chains.

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  • Date: 16 June 2023
  • Author: Amelia Meyer, Senior Program Officer, Nature Metrics, WWF

This past winter, 196 countries signed the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to take urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to protect 30% of land and sea area by 2030. All actors will need to do their part to realize these global targets. A new “Nature” paper by Rockström et al. provides scientific evidence that “Seven of eight globally quantified safe and just (Earth system boundaries) and at least two regional safe and just (Earth system boundaries) in over half of global land area are already exceeded.”

The private sector has a critical role in contributing to a safe and just future that is nature positive. To do so, companies must recognize their location-specific, material impacts on nature and how they depend on it. Understanding the environmental impacts and considering trade-offs at the local and global levels are critical to achieving any sort of nature-related goal. This is a daunting task when you consider the tangled web of global supply chains. But for the sake of your business and all life on this planet, it’s worth doing. And there is help.

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  • Date: 14 June 2023

Plastic is everywhere in our daily lives—it keeps our food fresh, it makes our packages more efficient to ship, and it’s in the personal protection equipment (PPE) that helped save lives during the global pandemic. However, despite the reliance our world has on plastic, one thing is for certain—the waste it creates is taking over our planet. It pollutes our air, our soil, and is even threatening our water, with an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic entering our ocean every year.

By examining how we source, design, dispose, and reuse plastic materials we can create a circular system that values truly necessary products and packaging, reimagines how plastic can be reused, and incentivizes recycling programs.

And in South Korea, this is exactly what WWF and The Coca-Cola Company are working to do.

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