It was encouraging to read The Necessary Revolution for this month’s Page to Practice™. It’s easy to focus on who’s not doing their part to help combat global climate change – and, by doing so, shift the blame for the crisis – so, it was heartening to read that, in fact, many big companies – including Coke and DuPont, just to name two – are taking the lead in global sustainability efforts.
Coke, for example, has partnered with WWF, the largest multinational conservation organization in the world, to conserve water resources and replace the water used to produce its drinks. And DuPont was ranked number one in the United States and number two globally by Ceres, a well-respected environmental watchdog, for meeting the business challenges associated with climate change.
What the authors of Necessary Revolution stress, however, is that even if a business such as DuPont wants to commit to sustainable practices, partnerships with nonprofits are essential to make any real progress. Coke couldn’t do it alone; it needed WWF’s expertise to help it better understand water conservation and how water affects whole systems, particularly within the communities where Coke operates. Dupont reached out to Greenpeace, which had spent decades attacking the company.
Companies are starting to realize that they must partner with nonprofits when developing any business strategy that involves sustainability. No one entity – not even a global nonprofit such as WWF – can address sustainability issues alone. Companies can offer market clout and financial resources; nonprofits can offer their credibility, knowledge of the larger system, and their ability to bring the right people to the table; and governments have regulatory power. All are needed to make any real progress.