World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

  • Date: 01 July 2021
  • Author: Katherine Devine, Director of Business Case Development, WWF

COVID-19 has led to a home purchasing boom due to low interest rates, with many choosing to move to suburban areas and take advantage of the opportunity to have more space while working from home. For many who were fortunate to shift their jobs to work remotely, the time may have enabled a re-orienting of how time outside of work is spent, with reduced commutes, greater focus on family and hobbies, an acceleration of online shopping habits and home cooking, as well as other changes. Not all changes will stick, but with a significant portion of the population (20-25% for 3-5 days a week, according to McKinsey) likely to have either fully remote or partially remote work options, can that shift also enable more sustainable use of stranded assets?

Not all employees are able or want to work at home full time. Different work styles, home office setups, equipment, high speed internet, or even desire and preference to socialize with coworkers may mean blended models of partial remote work will become more prominent. Furthermore, childcare has proven to be a challenge for working families, leading to an unprecedented exodus of (primarily) women from the workforce. Repercussions of this shift will likely impact the workforce for years to come. While some challenges will be mitigated, for example as vaccines allow schools to reopen, others remain. What if abandoned or underutilized shopping malls in suburban areas could be revitalized to meet several of these needs?

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  • Date: 30 June 2021
  • Author: Katherine Devine, Director of Business Case Development, Markets Institute, WWF

COVID-19 transformed urban spaces from bustling city centers to deserted concrete landscapes. While downtowns may soon return to greater normalcy, it is likely that many aspects of office culture will change. Some companies, such as Twitter and Zillow, have declared that employees can choose to work remotely indefinitely, and more organizations will follow suit either with fully remote work or blended models. This may well lead to a massive transformation of office culture, amenities, and the makeup of city centers and suburban office parks. But how can these changes be leveraged to enable a more sustainable food system?

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  • Date: 29 June 2021
  • Author: Katherine Devine, Director of Business Case Development, Markets Institute, WWF

COVID-19 represents an opportunity to rethink conventional business models. We saw struggling restaurants get creative to stay afloat, with solutions ranging from innovative delivery menus to sales of pantry items. While many of these solutions may have served as temporary fixes during an unprecedented difficult time, others will continue, and they speak to the ingenuity required to drive businesses forward in times of challenge.

With many hotels at limited capacity due to restrictions from COVID-19, as well as limited travel, hotel rooms aren’t the only underutilized asset. Most hotels also offer food in the form of complimentary breakfast, or more robust dining services. With far fewer travelers, much of that kitchen and cold storage space is – or was – not being fully utilized. The same could be said of other venues, such as convention centers and stadiums, which largely lay dormant while crowds were unable to gather en masse. Although many of these resources are now open, there are off-times between events when storage could be used for other purposes, and we can use this moment to consider business models holistically to prepare for future disruptions.

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  • Date: 28 June 2021
  • Author: Katherine Devine, Director of Business Case Development, WWF

The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to shape the future of food systems for many years to come. The question, though, is how? While many countries and businesses are still in or emerging from survival mode, others have the resources to invest in a food system future with sustainability at its core. The reality is that you cannot separate the two—sustainability will enable survival for companies moving forward. It’s been said that COVID-19 is a dress rehearsal for future disruptions, particularly those related to climate change. Now is the time to prepare for what comes next.

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  • Date: 23 June 2021

Images of plastic waste washing up on beaches, suffocating wildlife and polluting our communities have become far too commonplace. A global spotlight has been shining on this problem for years, but we need more large-scale, transformative actions to get us to where we need to be.

The U.S. is no exception when it comes to struggling to implement solutions that can address the plastic waste crisis at its core. But we cannot let that struggle slow our ambition – it’s time to take a collective look at how we’ve mismanaged plastic and begin to reimagine our nation’s relationship with this resource.

To help facilitate this process, WWF launched OneSource Coalition, a group of ambitious companies, environmental organizations, and industry leaders, who together will pave the path for a future where plastic waste is responsibly managed and our products and/or packaging are responsibly recycled and reused.

As a coalition, we are advocating for a holistic approach to public policy that can enable the implementation of an efficient, effective, and fair waste management system in the U.S. We are calling on U.S. policymakers to advance policies in three key areas: environmental justice, extended producer responsibility (EPR), and international leadership.

Together, we are ready to strengthen the plastic recycling system.

Here is what some of our Coalition members had to say:

“America’s beverage companies commend WWF’s bold leadership as it launches the OneSource Coalition. We are proud to stand with a diverse, committed group of stakeholders leading sustainable solutions to address plastic waste in the environment. Together, we can drive real impact by advancing policies to optimize the collection of our valuable, recyclable bottles and cans, reduce our plastic footprint, and create a true circular economy.” - Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Beverage Association

“Since its founding, Closed Loop Partners has invested in and accelerated solutions that help address the global plastics waste challenge. We know that to build a strong, vibrant circular economy for plastics and advance system-wide impact, collaborating with diverse stakeholders is critical. We are proud to join many leading organizations and brands in the OneSource Coalition, amplifying the call for policies that support our collective work to ensure plastics are integrated into the circular economy––never going to waste in landfills or our natural environment.” - Kate Daly, Managing Director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners

“The OneSource Coalition is a powerful signal to policymakers that stakeholders are ready to see the U.S. become a leader in tackling the plastic pollution crisis and transitioning to a more circular and just economy.” - Erin McCluskey, Managing Director, Ocean Plastics Leadership Network

“As an organization working to solve the climate crisis both through our members’ own practices and by driving science-based U.S. policy action, we are proud to join the OneSource Coalition. Through this coalition, we will continue to advance policies to improve the environment and to implement a national producer responsibility program in the United States. These policies are integral to making the end-to-end system changes that will truly transform our waste management system into a circular economy.” - Sustainable Food Policy Alliance (SFPA)

"The potential for innovation through inspiration from nature is as great as the risk we face by ignoring nature's signals. We want to help unlock that innovation." - Nina Butler, Stina Inc.

“The Coca-Cola Company: The Coca-Cola Company is steadfast in our commitment to help solve the plastic waste crisis, and we understand we can’t fight this battle alone. Joining the WWF OneSource Coalition with other ambitious organizations and industry leaders will help us make a deeper impact in effectively managing waste and ensuring our products are responsibly recycled and reused.” - Alpa Sutaria, General Manager Sustainability, The Coca-Cola Company

“The Ocean Foundation is proud to participate in The OneSource Coalition as we work to shift plastic production towards a design that embraces the circular economy, makes producers responsible as well as consumers, and plans for a just and equitable transition as we integrate these solutions globally.” - Mark J. Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation

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  • Date: 22 June 2021
  • Author: Dan Riley, Director, International Corporate Climate Partnerships and Marty Spitzer, Senior Director, Climate and Renewable Energy, WWF

Last summer, WWF submitted a proposal to the Lever for Change 2030 Climate Challenge, a competition for a $10 million grant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the buildings, industry, and/or transportation sectors in the U.S. by 2030. We submitted the proposal to supercharge our work on the Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC), which harnesses the market demand of large energy buyers (companies, cities, universities) to help break market, policy, and technological barriers preventing the scale up of renewable thermal energy.

Today, we are delighted to announce that our proposal was selected as the winner of this challenge among 68 competing proposals. Our bold vision is to slash industrial thermal energy greenhouse gas emissions 30% by increasing renewable thermal energy use 150% by 2030.

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  • Date: 21 June 2021

WWF, in partnership with Ziba Design, has launched a new toolkit that helps the hospitality and tourism industry communicate about food waste with guests. This resource was designed to provide businesses with guidance, tools, and ready-made campaigns to communicate with guests about food waste and help shift guest behaviors. While many in the hospitality industry have embraced the battle against food waste in their operations, finding ways to engage customers on the issue can feel challenging. Hospitality staff aim to create an ideal experience, and don’t want to alienate guests or sound preachy – this new toolkit can help.

Building on a pioneering partnership with Hilton Worldwide on the food waste strategy for their global operations in 2015, WWF’s food loss and waste team has been working with many across the industry through close collaboration with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA). This work led to the development of Hotel Kitchen—a platform offering guidance and tools to prevent and manage hotel food waste, drawing on universal mechanisms to cut food waste in commercial kitchens. This platform has been introduced in over a dozen countries and adopted by hotels around the world.

Food waste is a senseless—yet persistent and complex—problem. We spend labor, money, fertilizer, water, energy, and land resources to grow our food; then we pay waste management companies to haul it away (and the majority of food waste is water) to be buried in landfills where it decomposes to become the third largest emitter of methane gas in the US.

“Our research demonstrated that everyone is willing to do the right thing…but only for their own good reasons. We set out to understand cruise and hotel goers’ motivations and emotional needs. Fueled by these guest-centered insights, we crafted messages that resonate across a variety of guests mindsets.”

Rob Wees
Ziba Design Creative Director

In the US, it’s estimated that nearly 40% of the 80.6 million tons of food waste generated annually comes from consumer-facing businesses – think hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and commercial cafeterias. Resources like Hotel Kitchen and 86 Food Waste (a toolkit for restaurants) provide easy-to-use, accessible tools and guidance for reducing food waste and reaping the rewards of lower food costs, more efficient operations, and increased employee morale, along with the environmental benefits of an improved footprint. But we still see critical holes in the food waste initiatives inspired by these toolkits, a major one being consumer engagement.

Most food service businesses, especially hotels and cruise lines, are focused on delivering an experience to their guests. This experience has historically hinged on abundant food offerings, which unfortunately can translate into a lot of excess and waste. But, and especially in a post-COVID world, the traditional approach to hospitality is being outmoded in favor of more personalized dining, focused on maximizing experience, ingredients, and food safety.

Once a hotel or cruise has adopted strategic interventions to prevent and manage waste in their operations, they have an opportunity to bring their guests into the conversation. The new Toolkit for Communicating Food Waste to Guests guides hotel, cruise, and other tourism businesses through researched guest insights and communication strategies to develop their own branded food waste campaign, or download assets ready to use in their marketing, communications and operations. The guidance and sample campaigns are designed to meet guests where they are, acknowledging their travel priorities and celebrating their contributions.

We all must play a role in reducing food waste. Businesses can take the lead on prevention within their operations and show guests and customers that this is an issue that matters to their brand, but also one we as individuals can act on to reduce our own impacts by changing expectations and habits.

The simple and thoughtful messages in this guide could help disrupt unintentionally wasteful behaviors and empower different decisions at points of action. Together, food businesses and their guests will play a huge role in building a culture free of wasted food and reducing our impact for the benefit of people and nature.

  • Date: 18 June 2021

Every day, plastic pollution is flowing into our natural environment at an unprecedented rate, with at least a dump truck every minute entering into our oceans alone. It’s time to turn off the tap, together. We need everyone—industry leaders, policymakers, and everyday consumers—to play a role in transforming the broken systems by fixing how we source, dispose of, and reuse the plastics we need in our daily lives. And, the more we can coordinate these large-scale actions together, the more impactful we’ll be.

Building the foundation for collaboration is especially important in the United States, where the plastics landscape is defined by patchwork infrastructure frameworks, conflicting policies, and inefficient silos between stakeholders. As a result of this disjointed nature, the U.S. only recycles an estimated 13% of plastic packaging and has become one of the world’s top generators of plastic pollution.

The United States needs a national strategy – and this is where the U.S. Plastics Pact comes in.

Led by The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund, the U.S. Plastics Pact is a collaborative, solutions-driven consortium, and part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastic Pact Network. Since it launched in 2020, the consortium has brought together more than 90 U.S. Pact “Activators”—the companies, municipal leaders, NGOs, and other representative stakeholders on this issue—behind a common vision of a nationwide circular economy for plastics.

By 2025, the U.S. Pact aims to: define and eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging; ensure 100% of plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable; undertake ambitious actions to effectively recycle or compost 50% of plastic packaging; and establish an average of 30% recycled content or responsibly sourced, biobased content.

This month, the U.S. Pact released the Roadmap to 2025. The roadmap illustrates a path to reaching the four above targets through an ecosystem of diverse workstreams, driven by U.S. Pact Activators, to create scalable solutions that are tailored to fit the unique needs and challenges of the U.S. recycling system.

WWF joined the U.S. Pact as a founding member because driving the transition from a linear to a circular economy at this national level will have resounding impact felt worldwide. And through our data driven-lens, we are helping ensure that the 2025 targets are being met with rigorous and transparent reporting. As part of this role, we have integrated our ReSource: Plastic Footprint Tracker accounting framework as the tool all Activators will use to measure and report on annual progress. WWF has also helped design the Pact’s political engagement strategy through developing recommendations around emerging issues such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) and multistakeholder representation in policy discussions.

Read more about the U.S. Plastics Pact here.

  • Date: 10 June 2021

A Q&A with Linda Walker, Senior Director of Corporate Engagement for Forests, World Wildlife Fund


What is Forests Forward?

Forests Forward is a new WWF corporate program that engages companies around the world to help them reduce their forest footprint and support other on-the-ground actions—like forest restoration—to keep forests thriving for people, nature and climate.

The program is a one-stop shop for companies looking to implement best practices around nature-based solutions to deliver on their sustainability and business goals. Drawing on our deep expertise in forests, science and climate, WWF works with companies on both long-term and near-term strategies and collaborations that have lasting benefits—not only for the companies but also for local communities.

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  • Date: 08 June 2021

Plastic waste is choking our planet -- polluting the air, water, and soil both people and wildlife need to survive. And as this crisis spreads to every corner of the globe, WWF is leading the charge to help reimagine how we source, design, dispose of, and reuse the plastic materials communities most depend upon. One of the biggest challenges we need to solve for is the broken promise of recycling.

Only 13% of plastic packaging in the United States is recycled, which is a hair above the 8% global average. These alarming figures show that our waste management and recycling systems are not currently set up to handle the large amounts of waste we create today – let alone in the years to come, as the world is expected to double our production of new plastic by 2040 .

We need policy makers and business leaders to take game-changing actions to help us transition from our current linear, “take – make – waste" relationship with plastic to a circular one. Circular economies will help stem our demand for new virgin plastic by ensuring that the plastic products we rely on every day are re-used and recycled, and that the valuable resources we’re taking from the planet to make the material aren’t quickly ending up as the trash polluting it.

There are many large-scale interventions that will help transition to circular economies. One that has significant potential and requires urgent political will and action is Extended Producer Responsibility—or EPR—in the United States.

While it is as technical as it sounds, EPR is a waste management concept that is emerging at the forefront of the plastic waste conversation.

So – what is EPR exactly, and why does it matter?

EPR is policy framework that would revamp recycling in the US. At its foundation, EPR would shift the financial burden of waste management away from local governments and put it on the producers of plastic packaging.

A national EPR system in the US has the potential to not only bring much needed funding and efficiency to recycling, but also incentivize packaging to be designed to be recyclable or reusable and innovate solutions that minimize the environmental impact of their products. As a policy mechanism to streamline recycling operations in the US., it will also ensure consumer access and equity to recycling for all Americans.

EPR isn’t just an environmental priority; it’s a business one. Together with American Beverage Association, we’ve built consensus on how EPR should be built in the US. And, through the OneSource Coalition, we’re also rallying companies to tell policymakers that we’re ready to make EPR a reality as part of a three-pronged approach to plastic waste policy.

More importantly, 68% of the American public believes that the companies which produce plastic should be responsible for the collection, sorting and recycling.

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