TNC's Applied Scientist, Jennifer Carah holds a baby turtle while collecting data at various locations in the Garcia River Forest, near Boonville, California.
Climate Change Mitigation The Garcia River Forest Project is restoring 23,780 acres of productive forest on California’s north coast. © Bridget Besaw

Our Science

Center for Sustainability Science

Helping Integrate Practical Science into Business and Policy Strategies

The Conservancy’s Center for Sustainability Science works with businesses and policymakers to develop solutions – grounded in conservation science – that benefit both the environment and the economy.  

Companies and communities rely on nature for everything: from maintaining resource streams to filtering the air and water to protecting their factories from floods. As ecosystems are degraded, their ability to continue to provide these often undervalued or taken for granted services is limited. 
 
Businesses are increasingly looking to innovative natural solutions in support of their activities – whether it is investing in forests to secure their water supply or restoring marshes to protect factories from storm surges.  

“Understanding the value of nature and nature-based solutions is a pioneering business strategy that can lead to improved decision-making and enhancement of a company’s long-term sustainability,” explains Jen Molnar, managing director of the Center for Sustainability Science and lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy.  

From Strategies to Action

Moving from strategy to action requires businesses to understand and apply conservation research, and this not only entails tools that are accessible to a variety of skillsets and levels of decision-makers within a company, but also adopting them into the culture. And scientists need to work with companies to learn to translate ecosystem science into metrics and tools that are both credible and can be readily used in the business context.

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The Center for Sustainability Science helps fill this gap, through the work of the Conservancy with corporate partners and policymakers to identify and implement nature-based solutions to solve societal challenges. Its goal is to ensure business leaders have access to information and tools grounded in science, while being practical and useful to a broad range of users and decision makers at various levels.

The Center for Sustainability Science:

  • Provides strategic and nimble leadership to bring resources and expertise for working with private and public sectors to develop collaborative solutions. 
 
  • Draws on experience from across the Conservancy’s 3,600 staff in 50 US states and more than 40 countries – from implementing conservation projects on the ground around the world, to influencing policy and practice at the global scale.
 
  • Calls on additional resources through our partnerships with universities, research institutes and other NGOs advancing practical research and applied science.
 
  • Focuses on specific case studies and tools based on real-world collaborative efforts, and incorporates important input from decision-makers from the private and public sectors.
 
  • Facilitates communication of new research and tools to both strategic influencers and public audiences.
 
  • Initial collaborative initiatives have focused on increasing investment in natural infrastructure and transforming supply chains.