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: 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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  • Date: 02 June 2023
  • Author: By Erin Simon, Vice President for Plastic Waste & Business, World Wildlife Fund

Rushing from events to meetings and back again, I almost forgot to look around and take in the beauty of Paris. The historic landmarks, the stunning architecture, and the river that winds through the city are normally showstoppers, but this week my mind was squarely focused on one thing – plastic pollution – something that is deteriorating the beauty and health of our cities, rivers and coastal communities around the world.

This past week, world leaders gathered in Paris with one mission – to make progress toward securing a UN Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution. The calls from civil society, business, scientific and youth voices all rallying for an ambitious and effective treaty could be heard loud and clear. From briefing events to art installations, the ‘city of light’ illuminated with passion for solving the global plastic crisis, as pressure was applied on UN Member States to get the job done at INC-2. But did they?

Frustration set in early, as a small number of governments caused a nearly two-day delay in negotiations by challenging provisionally agreed to – but not yet adopted – rules of procedure. This slowdown, while an anticipated tactic, threatened the process and reduced the amount of time negotiators could spend discussing the substantive aspects of the treaty. By mid-week a temporary resolution was in place to move the talks forward.

As the discussions advanced beyond procedural matters, a clear picture emerged that tangible progress could be made during INC-2. By the close of the negotiations, a majority of governments were aligned with WWF’s vision for what a successful treaty should look like and were calling for comprehensive binding rules across the full lifecycle of plastic and for global bans on high-risk and unnecessary plastic materials, like the single-use products that far too often end up in our environment with devastating effects. Importantly, a mandate was also issued for governments to deliver a “zero draft” – essentially a working outline of the treaty, ahead of INC-3 – which is set to take place in Nairobi, Kenya in November.

  • INC2

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Erin Simon Vice President of Plastic Waste and Business, WWF speaks at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

  • INC2 Norway

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Climate and the Environment, Norway; Co-Chair, High Ambition Coalition speaks at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

  • INC2 Rawanda

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment, Rwanda; Co-Chair, High Ambition Coalition speaks at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

  • Civil Society INC2

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Dr. Jenna Jambeck, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Georgia, Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Environment and Social Development Organization, and Betty Osei Bonsu, Country Manager, Green Africa Youth Organization speak at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

  • Inger INC2

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Inger Andersen Under-Secretary-General, United Nations; Executive Director, UN Environment Programme  speaks at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

  • Business INC2

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Members of the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty, Rebecca Marmot, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, Leanne Geale, Executive Vice President, Nestlé, and Michael Goltzman, Vice President, Global Policy & Sustainability, The Coca-Cola Company speak at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

  • Marco INC2

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Marco Lambertini Special Envoy and Former Director General, WWF speaks at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

  • room INC2

    High Ambition Briefing - Paris

    Full room to hear a lineup of multistakeholder speakers at the High Ambition Briefing ahead of INC-2

Looking ahead to the next round of negotiations, the global community and players across the plastics value chain must continue to come together and call for increased ambition if we’re going to end up with a treaty that will truly help solve this crisis.

The treaty process must move us toward a circular economy for plastic, and businesses are uniquely positioned to make this transition easier for countries by helping to deliver the solutions needed to get there. Leading companies from the Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty understand this, and have been visible and vocal throughout the negotiations, using their outsized voice for good. The coalition supports a treaty that includes regulations on reduction, circulation and prevention alongside remediation, all key factors in a holistic approach to ending plastic pollution.

The voice of the public is equally important. Accounting for 5% of the world’s population, as a nation, the US generates three times more waste than the global average. Our country is part of the problem, but we must also be part of the solution. With 77% of Americans agreeing that too many products are made of plastic and that the waste it creates is a problem, our leaders have an obligation to secure a legally binding treaty that will eliminate production of harmful plastics, deliver a circular approach for the plastic that remains, and ensure that no plastic ends up in nature.

From start to finish, INC-2 was a rollercoaster with twists and turns and highs and lows but in the end, the progress needed was achieved to move the treaty forward. As I reflect on the week and as we look ahead to INC-3 and beyond, it will be useful for me, but also for governments, businesses and individuals to stop and think about the beauty they will miss in this world if these negotiations fail. This process holds the key to shaping a future free of plastic pollution. There is momentum, there will be more challenges, but together, we can turn off the tap of plastic waste and deliver a treaty that ensures a healthier future for people and the planet.

  • Date: 01 June 2023
  • Author: Allen Townsend, Senior Program Officer, Freshwater Metrics, WWF

Last week, the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) launched its highly anticipated first release of science-based targets (SBTs) for nature. Keynoted by Nigel Topping, the High-Level Climate Action Champion for UNFCCC COP26, the launch webinar had over 3,000 registrants from across sectors, including governments, financial institutions, credit rating agencies, media, NGOs, and businesses. WWF has released blogs explaining the relevance of the Targets by Martha Stevenson and Craig Beatty over the past week.

The launch also marks a milestone moment toward addressing the freshwater emergency at scale. Business runs on clean and abundant water. Therefore, companies and their suppliers are a critical part of the solution, and setting meaningful targets is an important step. As part of the initial release, the first version of the freshwater technical guidance reflects decades of science and efforts by the water stewardship community and WWF to promote collective action for restoring freshwater ecosystems and protecting human water security.

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  • Date: 25 May 2023
  • Author: Jess Zeuner, Program Specialist, Plastic & Material Science, WWF

In the minds of many consumers, the products we buy 'begin’ when they hit our store shelves.

Of course, we know they came from somewhere – but not often do we stop and consider the full life cycle of a product, the origin of the materials that make it up, or the environmental footprint that began long ago, the moment those materials were sourced.

As we strive for a future economy no longer dependent on fossil fuel, we have the opportunity to reduce the carbon intensity of materials we use every day. From packaging, to textiles, to the automotive industry – the benefits of replacing fossil carbon with renewable carbon derived from plants could extend to a wide range of industrial and consumer goods applications. The potential climate benefits of the bioeconomy are immense – however, transitioning to plant-based production relies heavily on agricultural and forestry industries, both of which can have serious social and environmental impacts.

Careful decision-making and responsible sourcing are essential for the production and management of biobased materials, especially considering the increasingly important issues of food security, land competition, water, climate change, biodiversity loss, and safe labor practices.

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  • Date: 25 May 2023
  • Author: Craig R. Beatty, Manager of Forest Strategy and Research, WWF; SBTN Land Hub Co-Lead

Update 7/10/2024

A year on, the Land targets have not changed from the beta version, but the details have. After piloting the SBTN methods with a select group of companies for nearly a year, we emerged with a revised and final Version 1.0 of the SBTN Land guidance. This update better balances target-date and commodity ambition and feasibility for the No Conversion target; highlights conversion hot spots for accelerated action; and better addresses traceability challenges. These methods are now open for any company to use and set validated science-based targets for nature.

Most pilot companies that submitted Land targets to SBTN achieved full validation of the targets for which they had responsibility. Participating companies—even those that did not pass validation for all their Land targets—communicated dramatic, insightful, and impactful learning from the SBTN target-setting process. One statement encapsulated the sentiment we heard from so many: “A no-conversion commitment is far beyond our current no-deforestation commitment and is a huge change that will come through science-based targets.”

Today, SBTN’s first release is complete and provides a clear sustainability bar for corporate voluntary action on nature.

In May, 2023, the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) announced new land targets that will allow companies to consider how they impact land systems and set targets aligned with global nature goals. The land targets will be piloted over the remainder of 2023 and come after a year of discussion, development, and work by the SBTN Land Hub (which includes WWF, Conservation International, World Resources Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and FOLU/Systemiq). The targets are a response to the global need to better understand what nature needs and to design voluntary corporate targets that allow leading companies across all sectors to demonstrate they walk the path of a sustainable future for humanity. While the science is still developing and will continue to be refined during the pilot process and included in new iterations for the land targets, today companies can be certain that the SBTN land targets will be a part of that path.

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  • Date: 24 May 2023
  • Author: Martha Stevenson, Senior Director of Strategy and Research

Today, the Science Based Targets Network released its first version of nature targets. This is a significant step in uniting the world’s leading companies to stabilize the climate, preserve freshwater resources, regenerate land, secure healthy oceans, and support biodiversity.

We know that business as usual can’t continue. We are exceeding planetary boundaries – the points of no return for nature, climate, and humanity as we know them. You only need to turn to the news to see the devastating effects: wildfires in the boreal, droughts in eastern Brazil, and the empty forests of the Congo, once teeming with biodiversity. These harbingers of what’s to come reflect an ecological system out of balance.

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  • Date: 16 May 2023
  • Author: Alix Grabowski, Director, Plastic and Material Science, WWF

Plastic made from plants (also known as bioplastic or bio-based plastic) holds the potential to be more sustainable and better for the planet. But not all plant-based plastic is created equal. The type of feedstock (biological material used to make the plastic) matters, as does where and how it is produced and harvested. If these factors are not carefully considered, there may be unintended negative consequences for nature and people.

To ensure plant-based plastic is designed to build environmental, social, and economic resilience across ecosystems and communities, WWF convened the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA). BFA brings a science-based perspective to the sourcing of plant-based plastics and their role in circular systems, ensuring that any shift to plant-based inputs brings lasting value to nature and people.

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  • Date: 11 May 2023

This time of year we celebrate mothers and all caregivers who take on the critical role of protector and nurturer. Mother figures are strong; they are resilient; and they create the conditions that allow others to grow and thrive. But this doesn’t just apply to people—mothers are just as important to forests. Every forest has “mother trees”: certain species of fully-grown, reproductive trees that allow forests to establish themselves, adapt to adversities and develop for the long-term.

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