World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 15 November 2022
  • Author: Yvette Cabrera (NRDC) and Pete Pearson (WWF)

COP27 (the 27th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the international climate convention) is underway and we face the stark realization that we are missing our climate targets globally.

But there is hope. Food loss and waste (FLW) are significant contributors to human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, responsible for 8-10% of emissions globally. Reducing FLW alone can cut methane emissions by up to 15%, which is half of the Global Methane Pledge of 30% reduction by 2030. To drive down emissions and keep global warming below the critical 1.5ºC, food loss and waste reduction is a top climate solution that must be accounted for in countries’ Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs) towards the Paris Climate Agreement.

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  • Date: 14 November 2022

Mention deforestation and the mind automatically travels to Brazil, where wide swaths of the Amazon rainforest and the Cerrado savanna have been cut down and converted into farmland. In fact, the largest cause of deforestation in Brazil is the conversion of forest areas to pasture for the production of beef.

Brazil is one of the world’s largest beef producers – and because of that, it also produces a lot of leather. But while nearly 80 percent of the beef processed in Brazil is used for domestic consumption, more than 80 percent of the leather produced from cowhides in Brazil is exported, for use in the automobile industry, footwear, handbags and apparel.

The leather industry has long positioned itself as being unable to take significant steps to fight deforestation claiming that the cowhides used by tanneries are only a by-product of beef production. Tanneries get their supply, they say, not from farmers but from meatpackers, making it difficult if not impossible to trace whether the hides came from cattle that were raised on deforested land.

These circumstances are starting to change. Beginning with support from the Moore Foundation and now with an additional grant from the Tapestry Foundation, World Wildlife Fund is working with brands and tanneries in Brazil to develop Deforestation and Conversion Free (DCF) sources of hides, catalyzing efforts to ensure that hides don’t come from deforested land. Challenges persist: a single cow can be owned by many beef ranchers as it’s raised from a newborn calf to fully grown and ready for processing. But several tanneries are starting pilot projects to address the challenges of tracing the origins of those hides.

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This is the start of a journey that will take time to realize outcomes. The goal is not just to eliminate illegal deforestation from the supply chain, but rather stop ALL deforestation, legal and illegal. By accelerating the development and identification of verification methods, standards, and incentives to certify DCF leather originating in Brazil, WWF and the Tapestry Foundation are aiming to enhance traceability in cattle production and the leather value chain to drive a more sustainable future for the industry.

“We’re in the very initial stages of this effort,” said Fernando Bellese, senior director for beef and leather supply chains at WWF. “It’s one thing for the large tanneries to participate in pilot programs, but our goal is to develop solutions for indirect suppliers with cow or calf operations to help other players in the downstream supply chain, including smaller tanneries, to participate in the discussion. That will only happen if we can develop a credible verification system that is trusted by consumers, retailers, brands and other downstream buyers of leather to apply additional pressure for the production of DCF leather.”

“The Tapestry Foundation continues to work in concert with WWF to ensure the groundwork is laid for a leather supply chain program that is sustainable, successful, and delivers solutions that will create impact,” said Julia Furnari, Director, Tapestry Foundation. “In partnership with WWF, we are building accountability and trust into leather supply chains and, ultimately, establishing new standards for traceability.”

Leather is big business in Brazil, and the cowhides produced there find their way into automobile interiors, shoes, purses, clothing, and upholstery. That is where the urgency of this effort needs to be felt — and heard.

To learn more about leather’s role in DCF production, read: Leather Also Has a Role to Play in the Fight Against Deforestation

  • Date: 07 November 2022
  • Author: Linda K. Walker, Senior Director, Corporate Engagement, Forests, WWF

WWF and HP accelerate forest protection, management and restoration in key landscapes in Australia, Brazil and Peru

As a part of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and HP Inc.’s expanded forest conservation partnership to help protect, restore and improve the management of nearly 1 million acres of forest, our collaboration will accelerate forest protection and restoration efforts in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, a global biodiversity hot spot and home to some of the last jaguar populations on Earth. We will also accelerate conservation efforts in two new landscapes: Madre de Dios in Peru, near the headwaters of the Amazon River basin, and the forests of eastern Australia, home to endangered koalas and other species that have been severely impacted by recent wildfires. Work in these three critical landscapes totals nearly 450,000 acres (182,000 hectares).

WWF and HP’s approach recognizes the paramount importance of protecting and better managing existing forests, then restoring forests that have been lost. Our work is grounded in a commitment to put people first, ensuring that each effort prioritizes Indigenous people and community engagement, social safeguards, transparency, and equitable benefits. By doing so, we are not only ensuring a future for forests but also for those who depend on them.

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  • Date: 26 October 2022

Despite the period of historic drought that has crippled parts of the Northern Great Plains (NGP) over the past two years, during the spring of 2022, WWF and Air Wick’s One Square Foot (OSF) initiative reseeded 2,961 acres of marginal cropland back to native grasses and forbs totaling 128,981,160 square feet.

The goal of this three-year collaborative initiative is to restore a minimum of 1 billion square feet (approximately 23 thousand acres) of previously plowed grassland back to thriving prairie for wildlife, pollinators, and sustainable ranching operations.

Although historic levels of drought forced some scaling back of the planned rate of reseeding, by closely monitoring weather trends, and planting in areas where precipitation patterns were favorable and chances of reseeding were relatively high, the project was able to make headway. Grassland ecosystems are highly complex and there is still much to discover about their restoration and conservation. In a sense, grasslands can be compared to forests, but on a smaller scale. Restoration takes time and patience.

Joe Russell, who manages the Veebaray Cattle Company 30 miles west of Sydney, Montana, was one of the first ranchers to participate in OSF. In the fall of 2021, 235 acres of marginal cropland on the ranch were reseeded back to grassland.

This past summer, the first signs of real grassland recovery began to show, with bright yellow prairie coneflowers—great food plants for seed-eating birds and native pollinators—dotting the formerly plowed field. Grassland ecosystems can take years to recover in the best of years, so to see the land respond so quickly to the reseeding effort is promising.

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  • Date: 25 October 2022
  • Author: Katherine Devine and Leigh Prezkop, WWF

There has been a perfect storm of issues circulating - covid, climate change, and the war in Ukraine, each of which has a significant impact on our food system. The impact of the conflict in Ukraine is expected to continue to push food prices upward. Globally, as major exports are stuck in fields and ports in Ukraine and Russia coupled with rising fertilizer and fuel prices, food prices remain high. Some estimates suggest that each month of conflict will lead to a year of turmoil. We are at six months and counting.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) published No Grain Left Behind, a report that revealed that the average post-harvest loss for corn and soybeans in the US is higher than both grower estimates, and extension accepted levels. This scale of potential loss shows how vital it is to work towards more consistent, accurate, and global measurements of post-harvest loss. The average in-field corn loss on US farms (not including on-farm storage) is about 4.7%, whereas anticipated industry levels were 1%. When scaled to the national level, this is about 503 million bushels of corn worth $2.07 billion, based on 2019 production figures. For soybeans, about 4.5% is loss in-field, whereas 3% is the anticipated industry loss. With the scale of US commodity production, the level of corn loss alone found in this study when scaled to national levels was nearly equivalent to the total 2021 corn exports to Mexico, the second largest buyer of US corn for that year.

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  • Date: 16 October 2022
  • Author: Pete Pearson, Global Initiative Lead — Food Waste

I have a confession: I want to leave my current job by 2030. That is the date the world has set to realize a 50% reduction in food waste.

Working for the world’s largest conservation organization on some of the biggest issues that will define our future, including the future of my own children, seems like something most people would be excited about. But the truth is, I wonder each day why it’s so difficult to get the world committed to ending food waste.

Of all the nature and climate solutions we debate, I’d contend that reducing food loss and waste is the least contentious. There are so many benefits: it can measurably reduce carbon and methane emissions; it could ease pressure on land and water ecosystems used for food production; it helps alleviate global food insecurity and hunger. Yet there is not wide scale global adoption of food waste reduction as part of climate commitments. To date, only 38 governments have food loss and waste reduction as part of their national climate goals. Why so few?

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  • Date: 13 October 2022
  • Author: Sheila Bonini, Senior Vice President, Private Sector Engagement

Every two years WWF releases the Living Planet Report, our flagship publication chronicling biodiversity trends. And the numbers are shocking. WWF’s 2022 Living Planet Index shows an average 69% plunge in global vertebrate species populations - mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish - between 1970 and 2018. Most alarming is that monitored freshwater populations have dropped by an average of 83%.

While these statistics point to a dire situation, we need to take this as an alarm bell, not a death knell. We are capable of reversing biodiversity loss to secure a nature-positive world. And there are plenty of actors from all sectors helping to lead the way.

In that spirit of hope, we asked some of our corporate partners to share their thoughts about why this issue is important to them and how they are working to reverse these trends.

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  • Date: 05 October 2022
  • Author: Allen Townsend, Senior Program Officer, Freshwater Metrics & Stewardship

Like an archer aligning their eye and arrow on the bullseye, identifying the appropriate target is critical for establishing the path towards action. For companies looking to reduce their dependencies and impacts on the environment, including freshwater, land, biodiversity, and ocean, science-based targets (SBTs) for nature are a critical initiative for companies to take robust and credible action towards an environmentally safe and socially just future. When defined and implemented, these corporate targets will take direct aim at the drivers and pressures fueling nature loss, offering a pathway for critical and measurable corporate action in the right places at the right time.

As a member of the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) and a Freshwater Hub partner, WWF is collaborating with CDP, The Nature Conservancy, Pacific Institute, and World Resources Institute in providing technical expertise for the development of science-based targets for nature. While SBTN's Initial Guidance, published in 2020, provides companies with a 5-step framework for action, the Network has now released more detailed technical guidance for public comment. This draft guidance will provide companies with detailed methodologies to assess and prioritize their impacts on nature, and enable them to progress to setting targets, beginning with freshwater.

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  • Date: 30 September 2022

WWF’s multi-stakeholder forum, Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), works to help advance the responsible development of plant-based, or “biobased” plastics. In this interview series, we hear how members of the BFA are practically applying responsibly sourced biobased plastic as a strategy for circularity.

This week, we spoke with Yaprak Gokbulut, Pharm.D., P&G Baby Care Sustainability Citizenship Communications Director and Rooney Kim Lazcano, Ph.D., P&G Environmental Scientist, Global Product Stewardship, Baby, Feminine & Family Care, to learn how and why P&G is incorporating biobased plastic into their materials strategy.

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  • Date: 29 September 2022
  • Author: Christine Black, The Coca-Cola Company & Mary Jo Snavely, WWF

In 2007, The Coca-Cola Company and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) teamed up to tackle the goal of helping ensure access to quality water for communities, nature and businesses around the world. Our work focused initially on securing 11 priority freshwater basins—from the Mesoamerican Reef in Central America and Yangtze River in China to the Danube River in Europe, Rio Conchos in Mexico and Umzimvubu River in South Africa—partnering in more than 50 countries with local cooperation across all Coca-Cola operating units worldwide. Together, we have helped improve water security in some of the world’s most water-stressed areas.

Recognizing the opportunity to do more for both our planet and communities, we expanded the scope of our collaboration to improve environmental performance across the global Coca-Cola supply chain. We launched projects to address critical global challenges: reimagining how Coca-Cola could source agricultural ingredients, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transform its packaging to reduce plastic waste. What seemed like a novel experiment at the time evolved into the gold standard for corporate/NGO partnerships by catalyzing collective action with governments, local communities and other businesses.

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