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: WWF Markets Institute

  • Date: 20 November 2023
  • Author: Katherine Devine, WWF

It started when my three-year-old was around 18 months. I would make my way downstairs to begin one of the most important morning rituals: preparing my coffee. I say my coffee because, while it is for me and my spouse, I’m the one that downs more than half our pot most days.

I open the cabinet, take out a bag of locally roasted beans, and pour it in the burr grinder. My kid then begins what we’ve now dubbed “The Coffee Dance,” where they like to dance to the rhythm of the coffee grinder. I don’t think I will ever stop doing The Coffee Dance, even when my kid loses interest, which I’m sure will be sooner than I’d like.

While the coffee is grinding, I fill up my electric tea kettle to warm the water. I get out one of my (three) French presses or, if I’m feeling fancy, my Chemex. I pour in the ground up beans, followed by a little water to let them bloom briefly, then the rest of the water.

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  • 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: 24 October 2023
  • Author: Katherine Devine

While I may have visited my first coffee farm in Costa Rica while studying abroad, I fell in love with coffee production a few years later in the Dominican Republic. Assigned by the Peace Corps to a small town, Juncalito, I was fortunate to be placed with extremely kind people, in a stunning landscape with a perfect climate, and given the pleasure of working with the Juncalito Coffee Producers’ Association. At this formative time in my life, I was privileged to experience firsthand the challenges faced by smallholder farmers and their tenacity, love for the earth, and truly delicious coffee.

Katherine Devine

When I learned last year that my team at WWF would be working on a series of papers on measuring and mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across key commodities, and that coffee would be one of them, I jumped at the chance to work on the project.

During my time in the DR, I saw firsthand how climate conditions can affect productivity and quality, making the difference between earning more for specialty coffee and selling for rock bottom commodity prices. I was curious to dive into WWF’s research to learn more about GHG emissions in coffee production, and what could be done to support farmers facing the direct impacts of climate change.

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  • Date: 10 October 2023
  • Author: Amanda Zhu, Markets Institute Research Intern

We know that no one organization or company alone could ever solve the nature or climate crises. That’s why leading companies recognize that cleaning up their internal operations is not enough; for change at a global scale, they must influence entire industries to shift toward more responsible practices.

But since change at this scale is slow and complex, how do you track if and by how much your organization is influencing the conversation and effecting change? Could it be possible to assign hard numbers to such an abstract concept?

This summer, I endeavored to answer those questions, researching and building a methodology to define and efficiently track influence in the future. I specifically studied the influence of case studies authored by WWF’s Markets Institute, but the lessons I learned could be applied to multiple uses.

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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: 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: 24 July 2023
  • Author: Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Markets, and Executive Director, Markets Institute @ WWF

Have you ever thought that life was passing you by? Increasingly it seems to me that that is what is happening with climate change. The impacts are more extreme, more variable, and more omnipresent than we thought possible. And we all struggle — individuals, NGOs, companies, and governments alike — to find responses to these impacts.

This is perhaps most apparent in the global food system, where climate change is wreaking havoc via floods, droughts, heat domes and crop failures. Two years ago, the United Nations convened a Food Systems Summit to review and transform “the entire spectrum of food,” including its production, shipping, consumption, and disposal.

As a biennial Food Systems Stocktaking Moment begins Monday in Rome, we wanted to understand how some of the most advanced food companies we work with are coping with the current environment. The results are evident in this report, issued jointly by World Wildlife Fund and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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  • Date: 31 May 2023
  • Author: Julia Kurnik, Senior Director of Innovation Startups, WWF Markets Institute

Hallie Shoffner, a sixth generation Arkansas farmer, knows that we need to change where, and how, we grow our food. She points to climate change as the biggest threat facing farmers, and therefore our food system, today.

Between drought, fire, heat, other extreme weather events, and labor struggles, hundreds of farms are closing or will close in California, which currently dominates production of fruits, vegetables, and nuts in this country. And it’s only going to get worse. In the next few decades, rising temperatures will make places like California’s Central Valley too hot to grow many of the fruits and vegetables that are cultivated there today, and increasingly erratic weather will make a volatile industry even more volatile.

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  • Date: 11 May 2023
  • Author: Edward Wyatt

In Central Brazil’s vast Cerrado savanna, a grand experiment is taking place. Baru trees by the hundreds are being planted – some in the form of seeds, some as seedlings, and some well on their way to maturity in agroforests alongside other native vegetation. In some tracts, cattle graze among the more mature baru trees, in other areas, no cows are allowed.

The point of all this testing is to uncover the premium growing conditions under which the baru (Dipteryx alata) can thrive. The species, native to the Brazilian Cerrado, is a key part of reforestation efforts in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. And overseeing a reforestation project on the Boa Vida farm near town of Bonito is a woman who is a “traditional seed guardian,” Elida Cristina Martins.

“I found that if we planted baru with bananas nearby it grows much faster than when planted alone, and the bananas help break the wind and keep the ground wet to keep the baru healthy,” she said as she gave a recent tour of her farm to a group of visitors from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Tapestry Foundation.

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  • Date: 12 April 2023
  • Author: Katherine Devine, Director of Business Case Development, WWF

ChatGPT has been all over the news for its ability to create well-written concepts with minimal prompting, leading many to herald a new era of artificial intelligence. But it’s not the only game in town in terms of innovative AI. WWF, in collaboration with the Pacific Coast Food Waste Commitment (PCFWC), Afresh, and Shelf Engine, conducted pilots using AI purchasing systems in two different grocery retail chains to reduce food waste and improve profits. The results were impressive: food waste was reduced by 14.8% per store on average.

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