World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

Better business for a better Earth

At World Wildlife Fund, we believe deeply in the private sector’s ability to drive positive environmental change. WWF Sustainability Works is a forum for discussion around strategies, commitments, technologies and more that will help businesses achieve conservation goals that are good for the planet and their bottom lines. Follow WWF Sustainability Works on twitter at @WWFBetterBiz.

  • Date: 09 January 2024
  • Author: Jason Clay

With COP28 now in our rearview mirror, it’s clear that insufficient attention has been paid to what is perhaps the most complex climate issue of all: How to reduce the environmental footprint of producing food and address the impact of climate change on future food production. To address these issues, we should consider what I call the “1% Solution,” which would add a 1% environmental service payment to the price of food exports.

Current market prices do not cover the actual costs of food production in many, if not most, parts of the world. Those costs include what are often referred to as social and environmental externalities—unacceptable impacts like deforestation and conversion, soil erosion and degradation, poor livelihoods for farmers and farm workers, malnutrition and insufficient food.

Most governments can’t afford the fundamental changes to their food systems necessary for more sustainable food production, even as global population and food consumption continue to increase. Global trade, meanwhile, has doubled every 20 years, from 6% of global production in 1980 to 30% in 2020. What if we tapped into that explosive growth in trade to cover the cost of sustainability?

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  • Date: 04 January 2024
  • Author: Cihang Yuan

Infrastructure, permitting, and tracking systems key to success

On December 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released proposed rulemaking for the clean hydrogen production tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The IRA offers a production tax credit of up to $3 per kg of hydrogen produced based on carbon intensity. Electrolytic hydrogen, produced by using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, could be eligible for the highest-level tax credit if zero-carbon electricity (i.e. electricity produced from renewable sources or by nuclear power) is used. The average cost to produce green hydrogen, renewable-based electrolytic hydrogen, before the tax credit is approximately $5-6/kg. This means that the tax credit has the potential to significantly lower the production cost of green hydrogen.

Green hydrogen is a versatile and critical decarbonization solution for hard-to-electrify sectors like heavy industries (e.g. chemical and steel) and long-haul heavy-duty transportation. It could also play an important role in enhancing grid resilience and reducing renewable curtailment in the power sector.

The main issues to look for in the proposed guidance are the “three pillars” related to the electricity used to produce hydrogen: temporal matching, incrementality, and deliverability. Together these create a framework environmental groups and many in the hydrogen industry have advocated for to ensure that green hydrogen delivers genuine climate benefits and contributes to greening the electric grid. The hydrogen industry has been anxiously awaiting detailed guidance as it will have significant implications for their project siting, design, and profitability.

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  • Date: 20 December 2023
  • Author: Jason Grant, Manager, WWF Forests

How can wood furniture help ensure forests remain standing? Using wood from responsibly managed forests can actually help keep forests healthy for generations. Forests managed under rigorous environmental and social criteria can generate income while allowing forests to regenerate naturally, so they continue to provide goods and services that benefit people, wildlife, and climate. This market incentive also helps keep forests from being degraded or cleared for agriculture or other uses. As a result, companies that offer wood products in the marketplace are essential to addressing the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss through their responsible sourcing decisions.

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  • Date: 19 December 2023
  • Author: Maud Abdelli, Lead WWF Greening Financial Regulation Initiative

Our Planet needs nature to survive, and so does our financial system. Increasing biodiversity loss represents serious environmental and social risks to the stability of our price and market economy. With over half of the world's GDP heavily dependent on functional natural ecosystems, nature loss does not only directly affect companies and industries for example through supply chain disruptions, but also impacts communities who depend on fragile natural resources for their livelihood.

Findings from our recent annual assessment (SUSREG), which tracks progress on the integration of environmental and social risks in central banking and supervision activities in 47 countries, mostly members of the Network of central banks and supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), the Basel Committee (BIS) and International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), shows that since our first assessment in 2021, several central banks, financial supervisors and regulators are making notable progress.

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  • Date: 15 December 2023
  • Author: Jason Grant, Corporate Engagement Manager, Forests

WWF’s Wood Risk Tool helps companies tackle unsustainable logging and unacceptable trade while supporting responsible forestry

Conserving forests requires a tremendous worldwide effort from all sectors of society — governments, companies, communities, conservation organizations and individuals. And while we can celebrate successes around protecting priority threatened forests, driving large-scale forest restoration, and improving management practices in working forests, these vital efforts continue to be undermined by illegal and unsustainable logging that harms nature, people and climate. WWF’s new Wood Risk Tool is one step toward addressing this pervasive problem by helping companies stem the flow of illegal and unsustainable timber into the market.

Illegal logging is a scourge of truly global proportions. It accounts for most of the timber harvest in many producer countries, particularly (but not exclusively) in the tropics. Indeed, 10%–30%* of the global timber harvest is estimated to come from illegal origins.

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  • Date: 14 December 2023
  • Author: Erin Simon, Vice President and Head, Plastic Waste and Business

Plastic waste has been found everywhere, from city streets to the depths of the Mariana Trench, where it harms economies, ecosystems, and human health. While the crisis feels ubiquitous, there has been strong momentum recently to find solutions, from city initiatives to negotiations for a Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution. The Global Plastics Treaty, in particular, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for businesses, governments, and communities to create a world free of plastic pollution.

As the world continues to grapple with the best approach to end plastic pollution, one thing has become abundantly clear over the last year: action is required at all economic levels (including individuals, companies, and governments) if we wish to see real change this century. The first step in addressing plastic pollution is understanding the scope of the problem and emphasizing that plastic reporting is not only possible, but critical to change. The corporate Members of WWF’s ReSource: Plastic initiative are demonstrating this possibility through continued efforts to transparently report their plastic footprints and progress against plastic waste goals. This work is showcased in the just released annual report, Transparent 2023, which details and tracks the latest year-over-year progress of ReSource Member companies’ efforts to reduce plastic waste.

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  • Date: 12 December 2023
  • Author: Jason Clay, WWF Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Markets Institute

Over the past decade there have been increasing references in the media about climate change’s disruptive impact on food production. But there is already a more systemic impact on the global food system that we are missing — what I call climate loss.

Climate loss is pre-harvest food loss: the uncalculated losses farmers suffer from not planting a crop, changing crops due to weather, or extreme weather reducing or wiping out a crop before harvest. It can also be caused by increased predation, pests, and diseases that are triggered by climate change.

This is not a new issue. Farmers have long had years when they could not plant crops, or at least the desired crop, because of weather. But the situation is now more extreme than ever.

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  • Date: 06 December 2023
  • Author: Jason Clay, WWF Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Markets Institute

Transforming any food system will require new policies and difficult choices. This is particularly true if we acknowledge from the outset that by simply improving the way we produce food, we can achieve 80% absolute reductions of food-related GHG emissions and 50% for the rest of food’s footprint. Current improvement rates will not cut it. We need nothing short of transformation.

The first questions are where the biggest impacts that need to be addressed exist, who is producing them, why, and what incentives could induce them to change. These are the targets. We need to move the bottom, the poorest performers. And since our goals are metrics, our assessments should be as well. The biggest impacts and the most wasteful production come from the least efficient producers.

The bottom 10-20% of producers of any commodity produce 60-80% of the impacts but only 5-10% of the product. By improving their efficiencies, we can achieve absolute reductions of environmental impact at a scale that is both significant and sufficient. More importantly, a focus on these producers is the only way to reduce impacts by 50% absolutely. Working with the better producers will not fix the problem.

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  • Date: 01 December 2023
  • Author: Francesca Edralin, WWF

Walking through the halls of GreenBiz’s Bloom conference, attendees are met with the luscious sounds, scents, and plants of the rainforest. Bloom’s decor is emblematic of the conference's theme and focus: biodiversity. The first conference of its kind, Bloom gathered stakeholders across the private sector, nonprofits, and local groups alike to discuss the future of biodiversity, especially as an increasingly important topic in the corporate sustainability space.

I had the privilege of attending this inaugural conference, and while I left with many meaningful takeaways, what resonated with me most was the diversity of stakeholder groups and perspectives spotlighted throughout the conference and the learnings that came about from these conversations. Indigenous leaders and youth activists alike spoke alongside corporate sustainability leaders to discuss the need for greater collaboration and strategic ideation across groups, leaving attendees with some fruitful takeaways:

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  • Date: 01 December 2023
  • Author: Emily Moberg, WWF

Setting deforestation- and conversion-free commitments can come with a steep learning curve. One of the first hurdles to overcome is deciphering some commonly used—and commonly misunderstood—environmental science terms and concepts. One of the questions I get the most often: what is the difference between cutoff dates and target dates? In the following post I’ll delve into specific definitions and context, along with why this is so crucial to get right.

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