Strengthening the Link Between Business and Conservation

Carter Roberts More and more companies are striving to make sustainability part of their business. But meeting their commitments can be a challenge – especially if their supply chains involve commodities like timber, beef, or palm oil that can have serious environmental impacts. In this GreenBiz article, Carter Roberts, CEO of World Wildlife Fund, explains how his organization helps companies implement sustainable sourcing strategies.
Roberts (who is a member of our MomentUs leadership council) encourages businesses to set ambitious goals for positive change. “You should identify what issue you’re linked to, what commodity is big to you,” he says. “That’s where you can make the biggest difference. It’s not the easy stuff, necessarily, but it’s the stuff that’s intrinsic to you, to your reputation, to your business model.”
Looking to the future, Roberts believes that consumers will begin playing a much stronger role in conservation. Partnering with conservation groups can help businesses to better meet consumer demand, along with achieving their sustainability goals.

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Heather Clancy, Contributor to
“It’s hard to go anywhere in the world without running into the panda,” Carter Roberts said with a smile as we made pre-lunch small talk in the Arizona sunshine.
I’d just disclosed my decades-long membership to the non-governmental organization World Wildlife Fund, where Roberts serves as CEO. I’m one of more than 6 million individual members globally — and therein lies the allure for the roughly 70 big companies that work closely with the world’s largest conservation organization.
If Greenpeace’s role is galvanizing awareness about questionable environmental practices, WWF is the go-to ally for sustainable sourcing strategies that align with its conservation goals. Two big success stories: Coca-Cola’s investment in water conservation, still the organization’s biggest overall partnership, and McDonald’s foray into sustainable beef.
“We don’t just want to produce a big report and be done with it,” Roberts explained during our chat at the recent GreenBiz Forum 15 conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We will always go the extra mile to make sure companies can execute against their commitments.”
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Image credit: Gordon Murray

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