From protecting pollinating insects to cutting the hoofprint of cashmere-producing goats, companies are aiming greener

2020-08-25

From helping Mongolia’s goat herders produce cashmere more efficiently to counting insects on “biodiversity plots” planted on farms, some of the world’s biggest brands are blazing a trail with innovative efforts to nurture nature.

Sustainability researchers say businesses have shown a surge of interest in limiting the harm their operations do to the planet, as scientists have outlined more clearly the threats to forests, water, soil, plants, animals, birds – and people.

“For decades we have been trying to get companies on board with this journey but in the past six to 12 months, I have never seen so much interest,” said Eva Zabey, executive director of Business for Nature, a coalition lobbying for stronger government policies and more corporate action.

At least 400 firms have signed up to international commitments to protect nature, and more than 1,200 companies already are taking some steps in their operations, she added.

Britain on Monday said it would start a consultation process on a potential new law that would force big companies to clean up their supply chains by fining them if they used products grown on illegally deforested land.

A World Economic Forum report in January estimated that $44 trillion of economic value generated around the world each year – over half of global GDP – depends on nature and its services.

Those include food crop pollination, genetic material for medicines and mangroves to reduce storm damage, said Cath Tayleur, a senior programme manager for business and nature at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

“The key message is that your business can’t continue to have negative impacts while still expecting to benefit from the positive aspects of biodiversity,” she told a webinar on business and nature this month.

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Thomson Reuters Foundation News, 25 August 2020
; https://news.trust.org/item/20200825085807-3x8ky/