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World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 22 October 2019
  • Author: Julia Kurnik, director of innovation startups, WWF Markets Institute

California produces more than 1/3 of the vegetables and 2/3 of fruits and nuts that are grown in the United States today. However, the warming climate makes the farming landscape in California less certain in the future as the state will likely suffer from more chronic weather (e.g. increased droughts) and severe weather (e.g. heavy rains, flooding and freezes) in the years to come. Some food production is likely going to need to shift in order to build a more resilient agricultural system that can help ensure food security. At WWF’s Markets Institute we are exploring whether fruit and vegetable production could be ramped up in the mid-Mississippi Delta to anticipate these shifts while also achieving win-win outcomes for both the environment and local communities in parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and more.

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  • Date: 16 October 2019
  • Author: Kirsten James and Nicole Tanner

Chances are if you’ve bitten into a strawberry, blueberry, blackberry or raspberry lately, it was supplied by the world’s largest berry company, Driscoll’s. With products sourced from 21 countries, and sold in 48, Driscoll’s supplies one third of the global berry business.

But growing berries can be a water intensive proposition, with the added challenge that prime growing regions are often located in areas of high water stress. 80% of Driscoll’s acreage globally can be found in California and Mexico, regions which coincide with significant water risks to businesses and the communities in which they operate.

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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: 31 July 2019
  • Author: Michele Kuruc, Vice President, Ocean Policy

Turtles entangled in plastic bags; whales dead and filled with plastic; sea lions trapped in six-pack rings: when images like these go viral, we’re motivated to do whatever we can to help ocean wildlife. Companies that produce and use plastic have opportunities to make and keep commitments to eliminate plastics in nature, but what if you’re not in the plastics business?

Plastics makers and commercial plastics buyers aren’t the only businesses that can save marine life. In fact, there is one sector that can have an even larger impact—seafood.

Plastics aren’t killing as much wildlife as unsustainable fishing
What we eat from the ocean impacts the marine world more than the single-use plastics that accompany our food.

Unsustainable fishing remains the single largest driver of declines in ocean wildlife. Currently, one third of the world’s assessed fish stocks have been pushed past their limits and are overfished or depleted. The rest most likely can’t afford the added pressure that would come with increasing catches. Irresponsible fishing has also led to declines in vulnerable populations of shark, turtles, and whales.

Sadly, this isn’t breaking news. But the problem is harder to visualize, so it doesn’t make headlines and garner consumers’ attention as often as plastics do. While there has been a coordinated effort to do something, the sustainable fishing movement needs more champions. Businesses that buy, sell, and trade in seafood can leverage their market power and step up and become leaders, achieving important conservation goals while simultaneously helping their businesses.

Sustainable fishing is a pathway to environmental and economic security
Fishing is a foundation of security for hundreds of millions of people in coastal communities. When effectively managed, fish stocks support livelihoods, provide food, and help maintain balance in critical coastal ecosystems. When ocean life flourishes, communities flourish.

Companies that buy and sell seafood can protect vulnerable marine populations while supporting local communities. They do this by prioritizing purchases from fisheries that are actively working to improve practices, which can be benchmarked against requirements of independent third-party assessment schemes like the Marine Stewardship Council.

Fishery improvement projects can address how fishing is managed, limit the bycatch of vulnerable marine species by modifying fishing gear and practices, and enhance the collection of data on fishing. These improvements can be made at the appropriate scale, whether that is local, regional, or international. Support from the marketplace can incentivize progress on an accelerated timeline.

Improving how the world fishes the ocean is critical but without a transparent supply chain there will never be the accountability necessary to stop unsustainable fishing practices altogether.

Commitments are only as useful as they are transparent
The fishing industry and governments are already using technology to track vessels and trade, ensure legality, and enforce compliance with rules. While there is a lot of information being collected, and some of it is being put to use, we’re not maximizing the potential of this data to curb unsustainable fishing.

The latest frontier of ocean conservation is creating uniformity of data throughout the supply chain, including how it is collected and shared. Industry is leading the design of standards through the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability, which includes participation from seven of the world’s 10 largest seafood production companies with combined seafood sales of well over $35 billion per year.

The dialogue is set to deliver its voluntary standards early next year to enable interoperability, lower costs, and improve the reliability of traceability systems, while substantially raising demand for transparent supply chains.

Plastics may pull at the heartstrings, but it’s not the only problem leading to declines in marine populations. Businesses in the seafood sector have an opportunity to lead on ocean conservation simply by spending wisely—transforming your supply chain in a way that prioritizes sustainable fishing is a response to declining populations of marine life that is well within your control.

And do cut back on single-use plastics in your office and home, too. Every little bit helps.

  • Date: 10 June 2019

Monarch butterflies embark on a marvelous migratory journey. Annually, they travel nearly 3,000 miles from the United States and Canada to their hibernation grounds in Mexico. These travelers arrive at the beginning of November and stay for five months at the Oyamel Fir forest of central Mexico before they migrate back North. Sadly, each year fewer monarchs make that journey as their population has drastically decreased due to climate change and depletion of milkweed along their migratory route, which is the only plant where monarch butterflies lay their eggs. 

WWF and our partners on the ground in Mexico are working to reverse this trend. Together, we are committed to protecting vital monarch butterfly habitat by countering illegal logging efforts, working with local communities and authorities on sustainable forest management, providing training for sustainable tourism, and leading sustainable projects such as tree nurseries that help restore butterfly forest and mushroom production. These measures have also helped to provide additional income to local communities that share the forest with the monarch butterflies.

As part of our efforts to save the monarch butterfly, WWF and world-renowned chef José Andrés are joining forces for the third year in a row to raise awareness and funds for these butterflies. During June 10-16, José Andrés’ DC-based restaurant, Oyamel, will feature special dishes inspired by the region in Mexico where migratory monarch butterflies overwinter. As part of the initiative, Oyamel will donate a portion of proceeds from a special Monarch Week menu to support WWF's work to protect the monarch butterflies.

In addition to Monarch Week at Oyamel, Chef Andrés acts as WWF’s Monarch Squad Champion by raising awareness about this species and encouraging fans to do their part to protect this migratory miracle. In the US, WWF has set a bold goal of getting one million supporters to join the Monarch Squad, to help save the monarch habitat by reducing habitat conversion and the use of herbicides along its migratory route in the US. Join José Andrés and learn more about WWF’s Monarch Squad here

  • Date: 03 June 2019
  • Author: James Snider, Vice President of Science, Research and Innovation, WWF Canada & Annika Terrana, Senior Program Officer of Responsible Forestry and Trade, WWF US

For the last century, the vast majority (80 percent) of the softwood lumber produced in Canada has been imported to the United States. These forest products are used to build homes and make paper products. The demand for wood products is increasing rapidly around the world—and could triple by 2050.

This week—after seven years of rigorous debate, deliberation, consultation and trials—the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) in Canada rolled out a new national forest management standard that sets a high bar for forestry practices around the world.

This new standard holds the opportunity to show the world how 21st century forestry can provide meaningful solutions for collaborative, equitable and sustainable management of our forests.

The new FSC-Canada standard features three key elements:

  • Woodland caribou: Caribou are both an indicator and an umbrella species, meaning they signify the health of the forest and support other plant and animal wildlife. Caribou are also an essential resource for indigenous peoples. Numbers have dropped for many herds and actions to improve conditions for caribou must be prioritized. FSC now includes requirements to directly support caribou habitat and avoid harvest in breeding or migration areas.
  • Free, Prior, and Informed Consent: Over 1.6 million indigenous Canadians live in or near forests. The new FSC Canada standard introduces formal requirements to pro-actively design policies that recognize the rights of indigenous peoples to protect their culture, livelihood and lands, including language that is consistent with the legal definition under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Landscape-level management: The impacts of large-scale land use exist beyond a concession’s immediate boundaries. Landscape-level management is needed to maintain, enhance and restore ecosystem services. The new standard includes requirements to minimize and avoid landscape disturbance, like aligning forestry activities with other industrial activities and protection of waterways.

What’s at stake for Canada’s boreal forest

Canada’s boreal forest—a broad swath of northern forest stretching from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans—is home to more than 2.5 million people and over 600 indigenous communities. It, too, is a key driver of the Canadian economy, contributing up to 200,000 jobs. Timber from the boreal forest is a primary export to the United States and around the world.

The Canadian boreal forest is also home to woodland caribou, which is among the most iconic species of conservation concern in the country. It is one of the few large mammals with populations found across nearly every province and territory, amounting to a truly national species, as memorialized for more than 80 years on the 25-cent coin. The boreal populations of woodland caribou have also become a microcosm of debate on how conservation for at-risk species should occur in the country.

In short, the plight of woodland caribou illustrates the immense challenge of reconciling the growing demand for wood products, the tremendous importance of forests for wildlife and the important role the forests play as carbon sinks, the loss of which accelerates the climate crisis.

New standard is a global model

Canada is not alone in addressing these critically important issues, but in many ways is first in advancing practical solutions with potential to influence other high-forest cover countries, such as Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, that are grappling with similar challenges.

Credible certification standards can help ensure working forests are managed well. And among the certifications, FSC is the gold standard because of its inclusive governance model that equally weights economic, environmental, social and indigenous representation, as well as its performance-based standards that manage for natural forest conditions and preservation of ecosystem services.

Finding solutions is complex and requires leadership. Indigenous rights-holders and the stakeholders of Canada’s vast forests have shown us a new bar for how to be better stewards of our planet, support a stable climate, and ensure healthy forests for woodland caribou. Now it's up to us as forest-users to implement it, and consumers to ask for it. Sign the Pledge.

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