World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 16 October 2017
  • Author: Ron Cotterman, Sealed Air and Judith Hochhauser Schneider, WWF

A key premise of the China Food Security Initiative is that addressing the issues of environmental impact, food security and food waste cannot be separated from effective supply chain management. From farming right down to consumption, each private and public entity including the consumer plays a critical role in enhancing food security and reducing food waste. At stake is not only the conservation of precious environment and natural resources, but also reducing cross-contamination and risk of epidemic outbreak of diseases such as the H7N9 bird flu.

This is why the program’s scope takes into consideration the entire supply chain, from in-depth research to engaging key players across each step of the supply chain. A key deliverable of the program was to develop guidelines and best management practices across China’s poultry supply chain to support the government and industry in building a more efficient model that is also safer and more sustainable.

“The rising global demand for food, driven by a growing middle class that can afford more meat, is putting pressure on natural resources. With intensified pressure from climate change, limiting food waste is a critical step the food industry and consumers can take to reduce the resources needed to produce food. As China imports feed from other countries, higher poultry demand drives higher demand for feed which impacts agriculture and resource use.”

Judith Hochhauser Schneider
Director for Private Sector Engagement, WWF-US

Utilizing baseline research that included an in-depth study of East China’s poultry supply chain as well as a lifecycle assessment of the environmental impact of different production methods, a Best Practices Management (BMP) Guide was developed under the initiative.  This is a comprehensive checklist of food safety practices and procedures that can help reduce the loss of product due to contamination and spoilage along the poultry supply chain from slaughter to sale at grocery retail stores. It was developed with input from internationally recognized academic experts and industry practitioners in the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and based on a review of current national and subnational standards, and guidelines from around the globe.

Another key objective of the initiative was to assess the environmental impact and the greenhouse gas emissions generated across the food supply chain or lifecycle, and to identify ways to reduce the impact as well as prevent food waste. Consumers should realize that the total cost of food thrown away in the bin is more than just its retail cost. Waste at the retail and consumer end actually translates to higher environmental impact than waste at earlier stages. This is because of the resources such as feed, water and energy that have been used to get the food to that stage. A Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) was therefore conducted to quantify the environmental impact  of different supply chain systems for packaged and unpackaged chicken, from farming to retail. The Life-Cycle Analysis (LCA) report showed that nearly half of the greenhouse gas emissions are associated with feed alone. It also found that chilled packaged chicken generally showed a lower environmental impact than unpackaged chicken that needs to be frozen, due to lower energy requirements for chilling and longer shelf life. Today, 80 percent of the poultry purchased by Chinese consumers is unpackaged. Overall, the report confirmed that moving to a supply chain in China that incorporates improved farm processes, packaging and cold-chain methods, has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 20 percent.

Other resources developed through the initiative included consumer education materials, infographics and a video.

With the increasing industrialization of the poultry sector in China, which is the second largest in the world, the program has been timely to present opportunities to improve production efficiency and in the process, enhance food safety and quality for the ultimate benefit of consumers.

Just like in China, various developing countries in Asia are facing a transition in moving from small-scale to larger commercial farming and retailing of poultry. Given the vast amount of resources that go into producing a chicken, there exists significant room to increase access to safe, nutritious food while helping to conserve natural resources and preserve vital ecosystems.

“The China Food Security Initiative is a best-case example of how corporations, government, industry and NGOs can work to address key issues that have a global impact on the environment and food security. We see tremendous opportunities to share the learnings and experience from this program with other fast-growth developing countries where meat production forms a significant part of their economies and that are looking to transform their supply chains for the better.”

Ron Cotterman
Vice President, Sustainability, Sealed Air

The China Food Security Initiative is nearing its completion and achievements such as the BMP guide and LCA report will be used to support both public and private sector work to improve food waste processes, food security and food safety across China’s poultry market. The program collaborators are now embarking on industry and consumer engagement efforts to help key stakeholders make informed choices on quality control, safety risk mitigation and waste reduction. Various engagement workshops have been organized to-date with the latest being held in Beijing, China on 28 June 2017 for various government ministries, processors and retailers. In addition to presenting the BMP guide, the workshop also shared best practices from selected countries around the world. Overall feedback from the attendees have been positive and encouraging, with many seeing the BMP Guide as a good first step to improve status quo and accelerate implementation of best practices.

The China Food Security Initiative, aimed at modernizing China’s poultry supply chain, has entered its final year of collaboration among Sealed Air, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the China Chain Store & Franchise Association (CCFA). The program aims to minimize the environmental footprint of poultry and to share best practices for a sustainable supply chain that addresses food safety, packaging, storage, and distribution of poultry products in China. Ron Cotterman from Sealed Air and Judith Hochhauser Schneider from WWF highlight the key milestones achieved over the past 3 years of the project.

  • Date: 10 October 2017
  • Author: Martha Stevenson and Kerry Cesareo

How many—and what quality of— forests are needed to sustain life on Earth?

At WWF, we’ve been talking about this with many of our partners. The discussion is inspired by the great work being done on science-based targets to limit climate change below a two-degree increase and on context-based targets for freshwater basins[1].

What we’ve realized is that we can’t answer the question simply by adding up the demand for the many “services” forests provide to people, such as wood for heating and building homes. And we can’t answer it by totaling up the numerous global and corporate commitments to help stop deforestation and forest degradation.

The answer will come from the forests. Specifically, the ecological signals they send to tell us they are healthy, such as tree canopy cover, carbon sequestering soils and rich biodiversity of plants and animals. From these signals, we can see forests as more than areas of land or as production inputs. And using science-based targets, we can better manage forests, so they continue to be healthy, productive and resilient far into the future. This type of future is what we’re calling a “forest positive” future. It’s going to take more than business-as-usual from all of us—particularly the corporate sector—to achieve.

Zhonghao Jin from WWF-China at the Wuling forest plantation in the Xinkai district, Yueyang, Hunan, China. © Theodore Kaye / WWF China

In the corporate sector, the term forest positive has been discussed for several years, inspired by the concept of “carbon positive,” meaning that a company sequesters more carbon than it releases from its activities. Because forests are not as easily rolled into one number like carbon equivalents, we offer three starting concepts for discussion about forest positive and examples of meaningful actions corporations can take as they start on this pathway.

Harness Your Direct Influence
Building toward a forest positive future is beyond any single organization, but it does not negate the need for individual companies to address their own operations as well as the impacts of their sourcing choices on forests. In the forest products sector, there are 200 companies around the world that are part of WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network. These companies are mainstreaming responsible forest management and trade, using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. In parallel, more than 400 companies sourcing deforestation-driving commodities in the forestry and agricultural sectors have pledged to reduce their impacts on forests through zero deforestation commitments and respecting the rights of forest communities.

Set Targets Informed by Nature
Like science-based targets for climate reduction, a forest positive future will require targets to guide forest stewardship actions that are informed by science and based on the forests’ ecological function. In his latest book, Half Earth, E.O. Wilson theorizes that we need to maintain 50 percent of the planet’s surface for nature, specifically to sustain life on Earth, and 85 percent of existing species to maintain fully functioning ecosystems. Will Steffen et al[1] estimates that the tropical and boreal biomes need to maintain 85 percent of forest area and the temperate biome needs to maintain 50 percent of forest area[2]. More localized estimates in the Amazon predict that the forest will transition to a grassland if deforestation reaches beyond 40 percent of the original forest (it is currently at 20 percent)[3]. In absence of global and regional targets for forests, companies are already taking action by assessing their forest footprint and doing more.

Apple, for example, is forging a path toward a forest positive future through its commitment to quantifying the virgin paper footprint from its packaging and zeroing out that impact. One of the ways it is achieving this is by conserving the acreage of working forests around the world equivalent to its virgin paper footprint. The company announced in April that yearly production from 320,000 acres of forest land in China and 36,000 acres in the Eastern United States is now greater than the amount of virgin fiber used in its product packaging during fiscal year 2016. The land in China was FSC-certified earlier this year, as a result of an Apple-funded project with WWF. The land in the US was protected via an Apple-funded project with The Conservation Fund.

Ikea is advancing its forest positive initiative by promoting forest certification well beyond the company’s need, which is one percent of the global commercial harvest. Barry Callebaut, a cocoa company, also has made a forest positive commitment.

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain rage of Colombia. © Day's Edge Productions

Align Toward Something Bigger
Growing the area of sustainable supply beyond a company’s own needs is the start of contributing to a forest positive future. But we also need to build the socio-political infrastructure that will sustain these actions. And that cannot be done alone. It will require working collectively with governments, corporations, NGOs, local communities and others—all lending their voice and resources toward a forest positive future. A great example of this is in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where the world's leading cocoa and chocolate companies agreed to work together to end deforestation and contribute to the restoration of forests and resilient landscapes.[1] They will engage all the necessary people toward this shared goal.

Stopping deforestation or freezing the land footprint of commodity production is a laudable leadership action. But it is only a first step. What else needs to be done? And what will determine whether a landscape is resilient?

This is why we need to embed the forests’ requirements into these actions and develop a shared vision for the future of forests. WWF is committed to engaging with others on these efforts. We will listen to feedback as the forest positive concept grows and it is more sharply defined. And together, we will rise to the challenge of creating a meaningful forest positive future together.

Martha Stevenson is Director of Forest Strategy and Research at WWF-US and Kerry Cesareo is Vice President of Forests at WWF-US.

[1] See Science Based Targets for Climate ( Additionally, WWF and others are advancing thinking for Corporate Context-Based Water Targets, that consider local basin conditions and the environmental flow requirements (
[2] W. Steffen et al., Science 347, 1259855 (2015). DOI: 10.1126/science.1259855
[3] The reference for this is pre-industrial conditions
[4] C. Notre, et al., PNAS 113, 39 10759-68. DOI:10.1073pnas.1605516113
  • Date: 29 September 2017
  • Author: Karin Krchnak

Standing in Sarasota, Florida beside colleagues from Coca-Cola, I am inspired by how water connects us all. We’re here as part of the 2017 World Rowing Championship and completely surrounded by cheering fans and Olympic-quality athletes from around the world. Most bring stories of their homes: rivers and lakes where they’ve participated in other rowing events. While they are quick to celebrate the recreational and health benefits of fresh water, we remind them of its hidden footprint: water’s role in growing cotton for the clothes they wear, the food they eat, or the drinks in their hands. Because water is essential to everything.

The critical role of water inspired our partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, which is now in its tenth year, as well as our strategic alliance with World Rowing. While today we’re celebrating these relationships in Florida, their work takes us all over the world.

WWF and Coca-Cola at the 2017 World Rowing Championships

I just returned from Europe, where local teams from WWF and The Coca-Cola Company are in the midst of a seven year partnership for the River Danube and its tributaries. The Danube, which is Europe’s largest river, has seen more than 80 percent of its floodplains and wetlands disappear. This has brought a myriad of negative impacts, including less protection against floods, changed water levels and quality, and a dramatic reduction in fish and biodiversity hot spots. But together, our teams are planning to restore, reconnect and retain floodplains, and promote better management and stewardship throughout the region. In all, this partnership will increase the river capacity by the equivalent of 4,800 Olympic sized swimming pools (12 million m³) and to restore over 7,422 football pitches worth of wetland habitat (5300 hectares) by 2020.

Next week I travel to Brazil, where our local teams have worked together for the Amazon in a variety of ways, from sustainable sugarcane to community engagement. While grounded in the amazing ecoregions of South America, our meeting will focus on something bigger: the eighth World Water Forum. To be held in Brasilia in March, the Forum is a global gathering of influencers positioned to make a difference on water. Together, WWF and The Coca-Cola Company are working with major business platforms, like World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and CEO Water Mandate to ensure nature is adequately represented in the dialogue.

Pandy at the World Rowing Championships

It doesn’t end there. From Brazil I’ll travel to the catchments of the Mesoamerican Reef and then the Yangtze River in China, the signature basins of our global partnership. Stories from these places show how together, WWF and The Coca-Cola Company, have benefited communities and wildlife, reduced negative impacts of business, and inspired and built vast networks of private and public sector partners who are now committed to securing these waters for people and nature. By 2020, in these two basins alone, we anticipate almost 12 million hectares will have been positively impacted by our partnership.

Some of the athletes and fans in Florida are from these regions or have visited these amazing freshwater resources. But even those that don’t know them understand the significance of the work. Without water, none of this would be possible. And it is our shared love of water that brings us all here today.

  • Date: 28 September 2017
Annual Report 2

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Coca-Cola Company have worked together for a decade to help conserve the world's freshwater resources and reduce Coca-Cola's environmental footprint.

Collaboration is at the heart of our partnership. Working with government, international financial institutions, academia, industry, and civil society is necessary to make a lasting impact. Our partnership is committed to tackling the natural resource challenges that impact freshwater and, along the way, elevating awareness of the power of partnership to address these challenges. Learn more about the progress we've made in 2016 to help ensure healthy, resilient freshwater basins in our focal areas of the Mesoamerican Reef catchments in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, and the Yangtze River in China.

A Transformative Partnership to Conserve Water: Annual Report 2016

  • Date: 25 September 2017
  • Author: Martha Stevenson

Recent months have witnessed a whirlwind of debate in the bioenergy space, with letters signed by academics on both sides, white papers and responses wielded between think tanks, civil society and industry groups squaring off in special reports, and a hung Science Advisory Board of the EPA unable to make a determination about their guidance on biogenic carbon accounting. It has been a confusing time, even for the experts.

At WWF, we follow these debates and review the scientific literature to inform our position, which is then grounded in the expert field experience of our global network. For those of you seeking to green-up your energy supply and navigate these confusing times, here is our best advice when it comes to bioenergy, while understanding that new studies are coming out every week and that the IPCC won’t issue their guidance on national inventories until 2019.

Use sources of sustainable renewable energy first.

If you are in a sector where there are commercially viable low/no-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels and bioenergy (e.g., solar[1], wind, geothermal) use those first and get creative on how to shift as much energy demand as you can to those systems through electrification. If you are in a sector where these solutions are not commercially viable (e.g., industrial process energy or aviation) then we have two additional pieces of advice.

Only use bio feedstocks that deliver significant climate benefits over fossil fuels and without compromising biodiversity.

The most important question to WWF in the bioenergy debate is “What types of bioenergy provide a significant climate benefit over fossil fuels and do not significantly impact biodiversity?” The first point is crucial given that there are types of bioenergy that, whilst technically ‘renewable’, can have higher impacts on climate change than the fossil sources they replace[2]. Additionally, the connection between climate and biodiversity is important to understand, because the concept of mitigating trade-offs is not so simple.[3] Climate change will have negative impacts on biodiversity and maintaining biodiversity will increase ecosystem resilience to climate change. A benefit to one at the expense of the other is not a sound solution.

With this as context, our cautious recommendation is to look to industrial or municipal wastes and byproducts that are available for energy production, while applying an approach of cascading use[4]. These classes of biomaterials do not increase harvest levels, are unlikely to cause displacement affects (i.e. remove feedstocks from other industries) or further impact soil or biodiversity conditions. These are the lower risk feedstocks for supply, but need to be assessed on a case by case basis while considering local supply, production management practices and potential alternative uses. Before investing in bioenergy infrastructure or long term contracting, develop a rigorous sourcing policy consistent with the above, including what feedstocks are acceptable and conduct an assessment of the availability of policy-compliant, bioenergy feedstocks for the duration of the project.

Assumptions of carbon neutrality leave you exposed to serious risk.

WWF supports life-cycle carbon accounting for any technology that is making climate benefit claims, so that the true impacts are understood and informed decision-making can occur. Assumptions of carbon neutrality limit your understanding of the system and the potential risks, leading to poor decision-making and unwise investments. Given the growing awareness amongst policy makers of the sustainability concerns relating to many types of biomass, they are also subject to significant regulatory risk. We would like to see more companies calculating and reporting their biogenic carbon emissions, including (when important): land use change; impacts to all five carbon pools; forgone sequestration and for forest ecosystems[1] carbon debt over a climate-relevant timescale. Calculation methodologies exist to do all of this and their intent is to understand the full picture of climate impacts, so we can design energy transitions in line with a less than 2-degree future.

There are not many simple answers on this topic given the interlinkage between climate impacts and competing land uses, including biodiversity, but these difficult challenges need to be addressed. WWF will continue to look to the science and engage constructively with other stakeholders to grapple with these complex trade-offs.






 [1] Check out Quantis’ Guidance on calculating Land Use Change


[3] Biodiversity promotes primary productivity and growing season lengthening at the landscape scale. Jacqueline Oehria, Bernhard Schmida, Gabriela Schaepman-Struba, and Pascal A. Niklausa. PNAS doi/10.1073/pnas.1703928114.

[4] ( 

Check out Quantis’ Guidance on calculating Land Use Change

  • Date: 18 September 2017
  • Author: Stewart Van Horn, Director of Global Sustainability at Kimberly-Clark

The Renewable Energy Buyers Association (REBA) recently welcomed Kimberly-Clark Corporation as a formal member of its Buyers Principles and Renewable Thermal Collaborative. World Wildlife Fund had a few questions for Stewart Van Horn, Kimberly-Clark’s Director of Global Sustainability – Energy Solutions, about why renewable energy is a priority.

Why is Kimberly-Clark pursuing renewable energy?

Within Kimberly-Clark’s Energy & Climate strategy, we deploy both energy conservation and alternative energy programs to minimize climate change impacts, reduce GHG emissions and transform our financial performance. We believe that increasing our use of renewable energy is not just good for the environment, it complements our existing efforts to drive innovation in energy management that creates value for our business.

Power generation from renewable sources like wind is not affected by fluctuating costs for fuel such as natural gas. The fixed prices that come with a renewable energy PPA help reduce Kimberly-Clark’s exposure to volatility in the energy markets, and the potential savings generated by our energy efficiency and conservation projects reduces our operating costs and frees up funds to invest in the growth of our brands and businesses.

You just signed two wind PPAs, which combined is one of the biggest PPA announcements of any company to date. What impact does this have on your footprint?

The impact on our footprint will be significant. The power purchase agreements (PPAs) are a step-change in our energy and climate strategy helping us reduce climate change impacts and benefit cost savings for our business. These agreements mark Kimberly-Clark’s first use of utility-scale renewable energy. The 245 megawatts of wind-generated electricity supplied under these agreements is equivalent to about one-third of the electricity needed to power our North American manufacturing operations.

The renewable power supplied by these agreements will enable Kimberly-Clark to offset around 550,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, effectively reducing the company’s market-based emissions by 11%. Adding wind-generated electricity to the energy mix will enable the company to achieve more than a 25 percent reduction in GHG emissions in 2018, which is four years ahead of the original 2022 target to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels.

You came to REBA’s first meeting last year.  How did that set you on a renewables journey?

The insights we gained from the 2016 REBA meeting informed our plans to increase the role of renewable energy in achieving our climate goals.  We used the Renewable Energy Buyers Principles when evaluating the business case for pursuing our first utility-scale renewable energy agreements.  

We have now formally signed on to the Renewable Energy Buyers Principles and have endorsed REBA’s effort to simplify and streamline the way businesses purchase renewable energy, which will support further investment and development of wind power and other renewables.

Where will you go from here?

Our original 2022 absolute GHG reduction goal of 20 percent was location-based, that is, based on driving actual GHG reductions in our operations through energy conservation, increased operating efficiency and on-site alternative energy projects. We’re now in the process of setting a new market-based emissions baseline and emissions reduction target incorporating the benefits of the renewable energy credits from virtual power purchase agreements.

Kimberly-Clark will continue to evaluate alternative energy sources including renewables as part of our ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.

  • Date: 29 August 2017
  • Author: Daniella Foster, Sr. Director, Corporate Responsibility, Hilton

Just as water gives life to every person on our planet, the same is true for Hilton’s 5,000+ hotels: water is vital to their operations, supply chain, and their communities. In 2008, we started a journey to reduce water consumption in our network by 10 percent over five years. We met that goal a year early and eight years later we had almost doubled it with total reductions of 18.4 percent.

Fast forward to 2017 and we are proud to have celebrated World Water Day by announcing a new commitment to a comprehensive approach to water stewardship, covering our operations, supply chain, our communities and watersheds. This week we take another step on the journey and join other global organizations and leading water advocates at Stockholm’s World Water Week to share our lessons and progress.

To deliver on our new water commitment, we first had to create a baseline for our water stewardship efforts. In partnership with World Wildlife Fund’s Water Risk Filter, Hilton completed its first ever global water risk assessment for all of our hotels.

This assessment identified three high water risk areas in the United States, South Africa and China. Today we launch water pilot programs focused on training and empowering our Team Members on the water risks their communities are facing. Together we will work to mitigate those concerns by engaging in local programs to make a lasting difference.

Building on our strong operational management and existing water conservation efforts, our new water stewardship pilot programs will engage strategic suppliers beyond our operational boundaries. By extending our influence we can leverage our extensive partnerships and increase our ability to positively impact watersheds.

Hilton will continue to measure every drop of water consumed through our Corporate Responsibility performance measurement platform, LightStay. This enables us to collect and track water progress across all of our hotels, and allow us to refine and improve our efforts every step of the way.

Through our partnership with World Wildlife Fund, we are updating LightStay to provide hotels with information about their local risks and collect more locally-focused water data. This information will help us set contextual corporate water targets, and allow managers to make more informed water-related decisions. With better intel, we can continue to evolve and adapt our corporate approach to yield better results in our communities.

We have already made great progress in our journey, but we are just getting started. With World Water Week now in full swing, we are energized by the dialogue among our peers and partners. We hope that - before the end of the week - we will have unlocked the potential to achieve greater scale and impact in conserving and protecting the planet’s fresh water.

We believe that by helping our Team Members understand the role of water in our business and their role in its conservation, we can inspire our incredible teams on the frontlines of our hotels to be water stewardship champions, preserve our environment, and ultimately make a positive difference around the world!




  • Date: 18 August 2017
  • Author: Anita Van Breda and Rebecca Feinberg

Cyclone Enawo hit Madagascar in March 2017, the strongest to hit the country in 15 years. It killed 81 people, displaced another 434,000, and caused an estimated $400 million in damages--4 percent of Madagascar’s annual economic output.

The country’s agriculture sector alone lost $207 million, much of it from the vanilla industry, which supplies up to 85 percent of the world’s vanilla. Prices spiked to an all-time high of $600 per kilogram, up from $100 in 2015. Since vanilla vines take about three years to mature and start producing, the industry and its largely smallholder farmers will continue to feel Enawo’s impact for years to come.

With support from McCormick, a global flavor company and major buyer of Malagasy vanilla, CARE was among the first humanitarian responders to provide emergency shelter, food, and water to more than 20,000 people. In the subsequent months, CARE supported reconstruction of homes through a program that trains local carpenters to use native materials to build cyclone-resistant homes and to pass on the construction technique to others in the community. More than 430 homes are now under construction.

Trancia, her daughter and mother can attest to the efficacy of such homes. Their home is one of the 115 “cyclone-proof” houses that CARE helped build as part of a disaster risk reduction program between 2014 and 2016.

Trancia in the doorway of her wind-resistant home with her daughter. Photo Credit - CARE Project Manager, Dasy Ibrahim

“We were lucky. Our house is strong and we were safe in it. The neighbors should learn lessons from this cyclone.”

Cyclone Survivor

CARE is not only working with McCormick but also with World Wildlife Fund under the CARE-WWF Alliance to design a strategy to build resilience to environmental and market shocks among smallholder farmers in their vanilla supply chain in Madagascar. WWF’s Environment and Disaster Management program has been working to integrate environmentally responsible practices into disaster response practice and policy for the last 12 years. This means, for example, rebuilding shelters in safer areas, using building materials that are extracted without creating new hazards, sourcing and managing water responsibly for the long term, managing natural resources to support and sustain livelihoods, and avoiding human-wildlife conflict by understanding species habitat and migration patterns. 

Ultimately, green recovery and reconstruction empower communities to protect and manage the ecosystems they depend on for food, shelter, water, income, and jobs. Such efforts are critical to the ability of vanilla producers and other smallholders in Madagascar to adapt to a changing climate and reduce their vulnerability to future disasters that are growing more frequent and more severe. 

The Madagascar cyclone illustrates that disasters not only undermine local livelihoods but also disrupt critical business supplies, operations, transportation, and logistics. As a result, companies like McCormick are engaging more deeply in disaster response and humanitarian action. Indeed, in 2016, more than 400 private sector company representatives participated in the World Humanitarian Summit in part to identify and coordinate more responsible ways to manage disaster response. By collaborating with groups like the CARE-WWF Alliance, businesses can help disaster response actors make climate-smart and environmentally sound decisions to rebuild in ways that are not just immediately beneficial to local communities but also protect biodiversity, natural resources, and other ecosystem services over the long-term.

Businesses and NGOs bring distinct and complementary expertise to improving resilience in smallholder agriculture, including small-scale vanilla production in Madagascar. CARE, for example, engages directly with resource-poor smallholder farmers, including women, youth, and marginalized groups, enabling them to increase productivity, nutrition, and access to markets to improve livelihoods and equity. WWF is working to transform the supply chains of large multinational companies through policy advocacy, stakeholder engagement, and field interventions to mitigate the environmental impacts of the global food system. Companies like McCormick bring market access and opportunity, which incentivize producers and their communities to shift to more sustainable production and recovery practices.

Climate change must change the way we think about disaster recovery. Indeed, just as Trancia urges her neighbors to learn lessons from Cyclone Enawo, so too must we seize every opportunity to learn how we can better help smallholder farmers and their communities—not just to recover from storms, droughts, and floods, but to do so in ways that anticipate and reduce risks from disasters yet to come.

Anita van Breda is senior director of WWF’s Environment and Disaster Management program. Rebecca Feinberg is director of development, strategic partnerships, and alliances for CARE. 

The CARE-WWF Alliance was founded in partnership with the Sall Family Foundation in 2008 and continues to thrive thanks to their longstanding support. Our joint work is also generously supported by USAID, several anonymous foundations and many others.

  • Date: 02 August 2017

In the fight against climate change, we are focused on a key number: 2. A 2-degree Celsius rise in temperature is what we must avoid to limit changes in weather and sea level that could have catastrophic impacts on our planet.

But this year, there’s another 2 we need to worry about: August 2.

August 2 is this year’s Earth Overshoot Day – the day when we begin to use more natural resources than the Earth can replenish in a single year. That means in just over half a year’s time, we have already drained our planet of the resources it creates. And we get worse every year. In 1977, Earth Overshoot Day was on November 17. In only 40 years, we have bumped that timeline up 2.5 months. This is simply not sustainable.

We owe it to future generations, our own children and grandchildren, to better protect our natural resources and ensure they have what they need to survive. Even the smallest changes make a difference – taking the subway instead of your car once a week, finishing all the food on your plate, throwing your plastic water bottle in the recycling bin – there are endless easy ways to make a positive impact.

Protecting our natural resources is possible, but it’s something we must all do together.

To find out more about how you can contribute to a better, more sustainable future, visit our Earth Overshoot Day page.

  • Date: 01 August 2017
  • Author: Alexis Morgan, Water Stewardship Lead & Lindsay Bass, Manager of Corporate Water Stewardship, WWF

A win for (North American) water: Nestle Waters North America received recognition last week for its dedication to water stewardship.  The company was awarded the continent’s first ever Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) certificate from SCS Global Services for a work site in California. This milestone represents a commitment to collective action at the local level to protect freshwater ecosystems and ensure sufficient water for people and nature. It also sends a public call to other businesses across the state and country to follow suit.

The concept of water stewardship is one that WWF has played a formative role helping to shape. Nearly a decade ago, when this journey began, a group of NGOs came together to discuss whether it would be possible to codify what “good and responsible water stewardship” looked like and to test the idea of certifying good water stewards. In 2009, the AWS was born, and has now grown to become a global system with over 75 members and certifications on four continents – Asia, Africa, Australia and now North America.

Back in 2007, the corporate discussions around water focused primarily on ‘water management.’ Fast forward ten years, and most companies are speaking in terms of ‘water stewardship.’ This shift is a critical one: it takes companies from an ‘in the fenceline’ (management) response that is focused on minimizing impacts on others, to a ‘beyond the fenceline’ (stewardship) approach that is focused on addressing shared water challenges to reduce impacts and mitigate risks.

However, while risk awareness and terminology are critical starting points, actions speak louder than words. AWS is a standard that can guide appropriate action, and a verification system that can ensure action and measure impacts. Certification ensures contextually-appropriate actions start with a company’s own operations and stretch across their supply chains. Certification provides an important stepping stone toward WWF’s ultimate goal – basin sustainability. In this regard, WWF is pleased to see Nestle Waters North America “walk the talk” and certify its sites to the AWS Standard, putting in place a process for continued action and community engagement on important shared water issues. However, though certification is a key milestone, there is still much work to do to ensure holistic basin sustainability.

In recent years, many companies have started to push back against certification calling it ‘burdensome’ and saying that proprietary codes of conduct are the way of the future. While standard systems must always listen to corporate challenges, in our opinion, standards and certification remain critical. Standards are the thin red line upon which many sustainability claims are made and supply chains respond. Unlike company codes, ISEAL standards, such as AWS, must enforce monitoring and evaluation of impacts. Furthermore, these multi-stakeholder systems also provide a common framework for supporters to rally behind. Certification is as much a testament to transparency and collaboration as anything.

Freshwater ecosystems remain under threat around the world and the ability to restore them is beyond any one actor. Working together, through collective action, is the only pathway to ensure that nature and people can flourish side by side. Water stewardship lays the foundation for such collaboration and those who certify to the AWS standard are making a statement of intent to not only address their water risks, but to address the shared water challenges facing communities across the globe.

WWF toasts the first (of many) AWS certificate(s) in North America!