As world leaders and global companies descend on Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, 24 major companies representing over $500 billion in combined revenues — Alcoa, CH2M HILL, The Clorox Company, Coca-Cola, Darden Restaurants, Dell, Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Ecolab, EKO Asset Management, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, FEMSA, General Motors, Hanesbrands, Kimberly-Clark, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Nike, Patagonia, TD Bank, Unilever, The Walt Disney Company, Weyerhaeuser and Xerox — have come together to make a powerful statement that safeguarding Earth’s natural assets is a business imperative.
Through a collective effort organized by the Corporate Eco Forum and The Nature Conservancy, these companies are undertaking ambitious initiatives to safeguard critical forest, freshwater and marine systems that produce goods and services pivotal to long-term business continuity and global economic growth. While individual approaches vary, together their commitments underscore a compelling case for action by advancing core business interests, including reducing risks, controlling costs, protecting brands, and fueling growth.
“Given the role that trees and forests play in the health of the global environment, and because fiber is such an important aspect of our business, Kimberly-Clark is exploring innovative solutions to provide the high quality products customers and consumers demand, while ensuring sustainability of the world’s forests ” explained Suhas Apte, Vice President of Global Sustainability for Kimberly-Clark. “We’re proud to announce our aggressive new target to significantly reduce our Forest Fiber Footprint, including a goal to transition at least 50 percent of wood fiber sourced from natural forests to alternate fiber sources by 2025, and to join so many other leading companies who are taking steps to value nature in their business models.”
The compilation of new commitments will be launched in Rio through a dynamic open-source e-report, The New Business Imperative: Valuing Natural Capital. Designed for senior business executives, The New Business Imperative illustrates the tangible value that nature provides in concise, business-friendly language. Presented in a highly readable electronic format, the report features 24 new commitments and includes 70 additional company examples across industries. It also outlines a practical action framework and highlights the best-available tools for companies wishing to incorporate ecosystems and biodiversity into business strategy.
“The companies featured in our report are united in the view that immediate leadership to safeguard well-functioning ecosystems is a business imperative, not a matter of philanthropy,” said MR Rangaswami, Founder of the Corporate Eco Forum. “Rio+20 is an extraordinary opportunity to help a critical mass of global influencers grasp the true economic value of our planet’s natural assets and infrastructure. By mobilizing the power of our membership, and providing a platform for business to lead, we hope to catalyze even more private sector action and accelerate scalable solutions that can really have an impact.”
Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy added, “For a growing number of companies, “going green” is now a core business strategy. Those companies committed to making environmental initiatives a core part of their strategy and factoring the value of nature into their business plans are the ones that will lead their industries in earnings growth, productivity, innovation and employee satisfaction. They will also help in solving global environmental and social development challenges in the decades ahead. Leading corporations recognize that smart investments in nature made now can yield positive returns for their business, local communities and the environment.”
This special initiative is the product of a 2011 Clinton Global Initiative commitment by the Corporate Eco Forum and The Nature Conservancy to catalyze a new round of private sector-led commitments to safeguard natural assets. “At risk are critical life-support systems that are also the lifeblood of our global economy,” said P.J. Simmons, Executive Director of the Corporate Eco Forum and co-author of The Green to Gold Business Playbook. “These natural systems far outcompete man-made technology in their capacity to produce goods and services vital to global economic stability and growth. The farsighted companies engaged in this initiative grasp what’s at stake, and their leadership is pointing the way to solutions.”
Download the full e-report, The New Business Imperative: Valuing Natural Capital.