CEF Spotlight

The Power of 1 Trillion: Mobilizing Global Companies to Value Natural Capital

On September 23rd, the Corporate Eco Forum announced a major new commitment to action at the Clinton Global Initiative: “The Power of 1 Trillion: Mobilizing Global Companies to Value Natural Capital.”

As CEF Chair P.J. Simmons describes in this video, “The Power of 1 Trillion” builds on the success of our 2011 Commitment, which leveraged the June 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit to broadcast a powerful message to global influencers about the true economic value of our planet’s natural assets and infrastructure, and to demonstrate that putting a value on nature has become a business imperative.

Joined in Rio by our partners at The Nature Conservancy and several of our members, including Coca-Cola, Disney, Dow Chemical, FEMSA, Kimberly-Clark, Marriott International and Weyerhaeuser, we announced CEF’s groundbreaking e-report, The New Business Imperative: Valuing Natural Capital, a collective statement from 24 leading companies – totaling 500B in revenues – that investments in natural capital can reduce risks and costs, fuel growth, and build brand. The report showcases a globally significant set of private sector‐led initiatives to safeguard natural assets, including forest, freshwater and marine systems—systems upon which businesses and the global economy depend for sustained success and growth.

The response to our collection of commitments was overwhelmingly positive. Our effort was held up as a powerful example of meaningful action by the private sector that contrasted with governments’ lackluster results at Rio. In Deconstructing Rio and Finding Some Inspiration, Mark Lee, the Executive Director of SustainAbility, wrote:

the finance sector’s Natural Capital Declaration and the promise made by the twenty-four major companies (collectively worth a half a trillion dollars) assembled by The Nature Conservancy and Corporate Eco Forum to “demonstrate the business imperative of valuing nature” around developing means to measure and account for natural capital may, in time, prove to be the most transformational events of the summit.”

While the initial results have been promising, we know that our initiative will only succeed in accelerating truly transformational change if it continues to scale. And that’s where our new commitment comes in.

In Phase 2, we will again link up with The Nature Conservancy to mobilize another round of private‐sector commitments aiming to engage more CEF and CGI member companies, while also opening the platform to companies in Mexico, Australia and India, leveraging key CEF members and partners. Our next major goalpost is the World Economic Forum (Davos) in January 2014, when we plan to announce commitments from companies totaling $1 trillion in revenues, and to use that marker to draw attention to progress made on our original 24.

We have purposefully given ourselves sufficient lead, because we hope to catalyze some truly innovative and new cross‐industry efforts. Many companies don’t realize how connected their business model is to natural capital, and we hope that the 24 examples from our first phase – captured in “The New Business Imperative” – will help inspire a groundbreaking new round of initiatives and partnerships. But it’s not only about new commitments – it’s about informing the standardization of valuation metrics and connecting the dots with other key players – such as the TEEB for Business Coalition – to ensure we are all working in concert for the greatest possible impact.

Our international “road show” has already begun. In Mexico City last week, CEF Director Amy O’Meara was joined by FEMSA’s Francisco Suarez and Luis Fernando Ramirez at the Green Business Summit in Mexico City, where our invitation to Mexican companies was received with great interest, and will be followed up at an invitation-only breakfast next month. At the same time, but on the opposite side of the world, CEF Founder, MR Rangaswami, joined Former Ambassador Robert Hill, Dow Chemical’s Neil Hawkins, and Chair of The Nature Conservancy Australia, Rob McLean, to begin spreading the gospel of natural capital to Australian manufacturing companies in Sydney. In October we’ll l be convening the attendees of CEF’s 2012 Member Challenge in the Amazon to discuss ideas for collective actions that can help value the vast and vital natural capital of the Amazon rainforest. And in November, we’ll begin reaching out in India with the help of CEF member Tata Consultancy Services and The Energy Research Institute (TERI).

To learn more or find out how your company can engage with the VNC Initiative, please contact CEF Director, Amy O’Meara.

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