Bringing together more than 220 of the leading global businesses, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) works to accelerate change in the private sector to advance a net-zero, nature positive, and more equitable future.
Focusing on core issues ranging from food and agriculture to energy, WBCSD’s network includes companies such as Bayer, Apple, Google, IKEA, Nestle, Shell, and Unilever. While some members may see one another as competitors in daily business operations, WBCSD is designed to encourage cooperation to advance common sustainability goals.
These members “recognize inherently that none of them can solve any of these issues on their own,” Diane Holdorf, Executive Vice President of WBCSD tells Food Tank. “And they can go faster if they can work on some of these solutions together.”
Holdorf maintains that businesses are ready for change and understand that pushing toward sustainable practices can benefit them as well as people and the planet. These measures are “really a backbone to business resilience and sustainable performance,” Holdorf says. “That concept is simple.”
Holdorf notes that efforts to protect biodiversity or support food and nutrition security “helps with employee recruitment, employee retention, robust business performance, supplier security.” And as practices become more widespread “it normalizes the thinking around why this is important, why it’s strategic, and why we need to drive a priority around it.”
But the “operationalization” of these changes is just as important—and still requires significant attention. “We need to have the types of metrics and targets and objectives that are recognizable within a business,” Holdorf tells Food Tank. “And that can then be placed across the value chain and worked through with suppliers as well.”
That’s why WBCSD wants to help its members develop the tools, guidance, and aligned metrics to implement these changes within their individual companies and drive change at scale.
Collectively, businesses can ask: “What’s the work? What are the deliverables? How are we going to shift these systems in ways that we can measure and demonstrate progress with?” Holdorf says. “It’s different in every sector, and that really is how we start to make the work move forward together.”
Listen to the full conversation with Diane Holdorf on “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg” to hear about Holdorf’s thoughts on the risks of greenwashing in the private sector, why she believes there is an “inherent readiness” for companies to change, and the work of the Good Food Finance Network as they try to change investment practices to achieve climate goals.
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Photo courtesy of Lou Liebau, Unsplash