Living in a Better World: Protecting Biodiversity through Collaboration
By Mark Eckstein, Managing Director of WWF-US, International Finance June 05, 2013 04:39 PM
For more than 50 years, World Wildlife Fund has been at the forefront of global species conservation. We employ a variety of strategies, from confronting poachers in the field, to protecting important habitats, to working with governments to enact smart policies. During the past decade, we've been focused on an increasingly important track: engagement with the world's biggest companies and financial institutions to enhance our efforts.
• Our Work with Companies:
Much of WWFs work with the private sector focuses on strategic food and fiber sectors whose production and trade can threaten biodiversity and ecosystem services globally. We work with producers to demonstrate the business case for more sustainable production, and we work with multi-stakeholder groups to develop sustainability standards, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, that can shift production practices at scale. Another example is WWF's Global Forest & Trade Network that provides sustainability guidance to forestry companies and those purchasing and financing forest products. As our partner, Citigroup has been an active member of the GFTN North America advisory board for the past six years in support of this work.
• Our Work with Financial Institutions:
As a complement to our work within supply chains of key food and fiber commodities, WWF has a growing program with banks, funds, asset managers and institutional investors globally. We see finance as a way of "getting to scale," by encouraging investors and banks to adopt and implement sustainability conditions in their lending and investment decisions. Many financial institutions need support to integrate sustainability into their business. WWF has seen shared value in working with Citigroup and the Business and Biodiversity Offset Program in the delivery of our Biodiversity for Banks program to more than 100 sustainability staff from 50 financial institutions globally over the past 18 months. This is ground breaking work for all partners. We saw a common need to build the capacity of the finance sector so that banks could make better informed decisions about how to manage biodiversity risks.
The threats we see today to biodiversity are shared challenges, so we need shared solutions. Banks need to collaborate to establish common and consistent ways of assessing biodiversity risks and issues.
Companies need to collaborate in their supply chain management to reduce impacts to biodiversity, and we need to work across these sectors to leverage the best opportunities and influence to deliver large scale conservation successes in the near term.
For more information, check out WWF's blog, On Balance, which explores challenges and potential solutions to achieving balance with nature, and engage in a dialogue on innovative ideas to tackle these threats.