Sustainability has developed into something that companies do not just have to incorporate into business practice, but something that they are driving. For me, this is brilliant. This is one of the main reasons I wanted the job I have; I’m a strong believer that businesses are in the best position to tackle climate change.I spent two educational inspiring days last week at an Innovation Forum conference on deforestation and how businesses can tackle it. The differentiator between this event and those I have attended in the past is that this one looked to FUTURE actions rather than past actions (pretty obvious right?). So, just how can businesses tackle deforestation?
The overarching answer to this is closing the gap between commitment and implementation. It is easy to “commit” to eradicating deforestation, or “zero-deforestation” or even “deforestation-free” targets but businesses only implement the means to achieve this if they really care.
But what actual actions can be taken?
- Get in touch with each element of the supply chain; encourage transparency, communicate on all levels, dedicate resources to maintaining relationships.
- Take advantage of the advance in technology. Mapping, data collection and communications are all now far simpler.
- Put away your notions of society and communicate with the people you are impacting – work out how to provide them with benefits equal to the monetary value of deforesting their land.
- Help your suppliers: make it easy for them to improve. Align the requirements you have with competitors or peers to enable suppliers to streamline their business; educate them on the importance of the sustainability of their business; positively reinforce their good work by awarding them more business or recommending them to others; continually challenge them to become leaders themselves.
So to all of you, who work in any business where there is even the most tenuous link to forests – think about the ways you might change not just what you do but also how you might be able to influence others to take a greater responsibility.