Big Business May Be Our Best Hope for Sustainability
Earth’s future is in the hands of big business.
Does that statement sound ominous? It shouldn’t. Take Starbucks’ recent announcement that 99 percent of its coffee is now verified as ethically sourced. Almost every coffee bean in their supply chain is good for the people who grow it, and good for the ecosystem where it is grown.
Why are they doing this? Enlightened self-interest. Starbucks knows that if they are not good stewards of the resources that are fundamental to their business, they will not survive.
This did not happen overnight and it wasn’t easy. For the last 15 years, Starbucks partnered with Conservation International to develop a rigorous set of environmentally and socially beneficial practices for growing coffee. These methods help protect the ecological wealth of rainforests from Mexico to Sumatra and enable farmers to earn a better livelihood, as the beans command a higher price at market.
Certainly, not all companies are as exemplary. But those that are have moved quickly and at scale. Wal-Mart’s sustainability initiatives have changed how the company and its vast network of suppliers operate worldwide, leading to breakthroughs in energy efficiency and reduced waste. Nike has revolutionized material science in the apparel industry in order to reduce its environmental footprint. Coca-Cola has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to protect freshwater resources around the world.
It’s worth noting that these aren’t marketing initiatives – most consumers never hear about these advances. These companies are listening to nature, and what they hear is clear and simple: sustainability is an essential part of doing business.
No individual or government, no matter how well —> Read More