A Round-Up of Business and Biodiversity News
Athletic apparel manufacturer Puma has become the first company to release an environmental profit and loss account. Their accounting tallied the direct ecological impact of its operations at £6.2m, and an additional £74 million environmental cost along the length of their entire supply chain. While the current accounting method only takes into account greenhouse gas emissions and water usage, Puma hopes to expand the scope to measure costs to biodiversity and society.
While Puma has yet to tackle the trickier issue of biodiversity, a group of European businesses appear to be leading the effort to recognize the importance of biodiversity in their operations. Ten companies have performed a Biodiversity Check as part of the European Business and Biodiversity Campaign. The companies are from a broad range of sectors, each having a unique impact on biodiversity, whether direct or indirect. The Check allowed each of the companies to develop strategies to avoid and mitigate environmental impacts. The European Business and Biodiversity Campaign hopes to mainstream the measurement and reporting of biodiversity impacts in the private sector through this initiative.
Other companies are not quite so far along. A group of 23 cement producers (the Cement Sustainability Initiative, a WBCSD initiative) are in the scoping phase of determining how to reduce the industry's negative impact on water use, biodiversity and land management. And at a recent conference on global supply chains hosted by Ceres, a nonprofit that aligns the private sector with sustainability, companies like Disney and Hewlett Packard noted that keeping track of the sustainability of global supply chains is a difficult task. But as issues of sustainability and human rights become more prominent in the discussion those companies and others are taking steps toward greening their supply chain.
...and they should. Or else Greenpeace will be targeting them in their next negative ad campaign. Newly in Greenpeace's crosshairs: Barbie. The toy manufacturer Mattel is the subject of a recent campaign by Greenpeace criticizing Mattel's sourcing of paper for packaging. The campaign centers around a Barbie/Ken break-up because of Barbie's rainforest destruction habits. The activist non-profit is increasing the savvy of consumers in understanding links in the supply chain, saying "The trail leads directly from Mattel to Asia Pulp and Paper and its suppliers in a chain of destruction that spans the globe."
While palm oil has been the target of a past Greenpeace campaign, the industry has been on the offensive to remedy its image as an environmental scourge. Their engagement with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil appears to be paying off, as nine percent of global palm oil supply is now certified by the group - a definite PR plus for the beleaguered industry. Meanwhile, a coalition of palm oil industry groups from Malaysia and Indonesia, the world's two leading producers, are engaged in an effort to promote palm oil within the European Union by establishing the European Palm Oil Council. Ministers from both countries were also visiting Washington to lobby the US government over trade barriers for palm oil imports.
Puma story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/puma-value-environmental-impact-biodiversity
Biodiversity check story: http://www.openpr.com/news/175594/Assessing-corporate-impacts-on-the-environment-and-biodiversity.html
Mattel/Greenpeace story: http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/22521
Sustainable palm oil stories: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2074297/sustainable-palm-oil-hits-million-tonne-milestone, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/20/malaysia-indonesia-palm-oil-defence