Working with the private sector is essential. With pressing needs for natural resources — like food and energy — to accommodate a growing population, it’s more important now than ever for conservation organizations and businesses to work together to successfully and sustainably meet these demands while protecting nature.
The Nature Conservancy is working with companies to protect habitat and improve practices that minimize their impact on the environment. We are developing science-based tools and resources to help companies incorporate nature into their business decisions.
As a result, companies will have the essentials needed to guide more sustainable development — ensuring business decisions direct investments to products, services and site decisions that sustain, enhance and protect the lands and waters that people and nature need to survive.
Our comprehensive approach will help companies:
- Understand and invest in nature’s benefits – fresh water, clean air, food and natural resources – that businesses and communities need to thrive.
- Assess how business decisions impact nature – from where they work to how they use natural resources, make products and develop supply chains.
- Set policies and goals that support the value of nature.
- Guide conservation investments for the greatest impact.
Beyond Carbon Footprints and Energy Efficiency
The Conservancy’s enhanced sustainability work goes beyond measuring carbon footprints and increasing energy efficiency. It lies at the intersection where business practices touch the landscape. For example, our ongoing work with Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Ocean Spray—three of the largest beverage companies in the world whose businesses depend on clean, reliable sources of water—is helping them understand water-related risks and impacts.
The science for assessing a company’s impact on local watersheds and designing mitigation strategies is completely new. Through their engagement with the Conservancy, these companies not only have access to the tools and resources needed to make positive changes for their business and for conservation, but are also seeing these strategies in action through on-the-ground projects.
Leading with Science
Science is at the core of all the Conservancy’s work, and we are setting a new standard for industry to follow in sustainability. With select energy and natural resource companies, for example, we are applying our Development by Design approach to help steer projects away from sensitive, high-value lands and waters with the goal of achieving positive outcomes for conservation.
This strategy goes beyond traditional mitigation, which is often piecemeal and ineffective, to incorporate the Conservancy’s 60 years of landscape-level conservation planning experience. By guiding impacts away from conservation priorities and driving mitigation funds to the places that matter most, we can support positive impacts for nature over an entire area. The Conservancy is currently applying this approach at locations throughout the western United States, Colombia and Mongolia.
With public concern about corporate responsibility heightened, collaborations like these highlight the tangible conservation results that can be achieved by working strategically with natural resource developers and manufacturers to shape business decisions.
A Commitment to Conservation
Businesses are powerful agents for change, and leading companies understand that improving sustainability has a positive impact on their bottom line, local communities and society at large.
The Conservancy is identifying companies whose practices are affecting the places where our conservation work is taking place. In addition, these companies have also shown a commitment to halting the loss of wildlife and its habitats, and to sustaining our natural resources. Some people may be surprised to learn that The Conservancy is working with all sectors, including energy companies or extractive industries. We believe we can’t afford not to work with them. Their impact on our planet is too great to ignore, and if they want to improve their practices and help protect nature, it is our mission to show them how it can be done.
More specifically, we are engaging companies who:
- Are interested in integrating the value of nature into their businesses, who want to change their business practices to halt biodiversity loss, and to sustain and restore natural areas.
- Have a history of commitment and work to managing their businesses more sustainably.
- Have strong management systems that can serve as a foundation for this work.
- Have a history of transparent stakeholder engagement specific to their sustainability impacts, goals and progress.
- Have significant impacts on natural resources.
- Have committed CEO leadership to ensure valuing nature is a company priority and integrated into major strategic and daily operational decisions.
- Are willing to engage in projects of significant scale, duration and depth in order to produce lasting change within their organizations and positive conservation outcomes.
The ultimate goal is for organizations worldwide to realize that investing in nature isn’t just good for the planet; it’s also good for business. From cost saving to consumer awareness to supply chain efficiency, companies are quickly realizing that protecting nature can boost their bottom lines. Most importantly, it will help places, plants and animals that we all cherish and that we all need to survive.