Why did we do it?
Nature and its assets are of great importance to the future of our planet and to the people that inhabit it. It is vital for businesses to understand how their business operations create an impact on nature as well how nature is crucial for the continuity of their operations. To facilitate this understanding, it is key that businesses learn more about the role they can play in preserving the precious natural resources that they depend on.
To help achieve this goal, a consortium of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Natural Capital Coalition, IUCN, ICAEW and Oppla has launched the We Value Nature campaign, EU Horizon 2020 funded three-year campaign (2018-2021) to support businesses and the natural capital community to make valuing nature the new normal for business across Europe.
We Value Nature has, among other things, created training materials for businesses to support them in integrating natural capital into their decision-making processes. The Food & Beverage industry was highlighted as a key focus sector as Food & beverage companies are highly dependent on nature and the services it provides, whilst also having a significant impact on nature and biodiversity. Nature^Squared was asked to co-host a virtual Roundtable with Food & Beverage businesses on May 7th 2020 to develop a better understanding of how these companies are already working with natural capital and what they would need to progress on their natural capital journey. Based on the insights from the Roundtable, Nature^Squared has been commissioned by the WBCSD to tailor existing natural capital training materials to the Food & Beverage sector and to develop additional materials to further support natural capital integration into business decision-making.
How did we do it?
To ensure that the support materials would match the needs of Food & Beverage companies, we used the insights from the Roundtable and conducted interviews with Food & Beverage companies that had already started their natural capital journey. Similarly, we have organized meetings with leading (network) organizations including One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B), Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Program (SAI), and the Global Agribusiness Alliance (GAA) to gain a better understanding of the collective efforts on natural capital in the sector. These interviews provided valuable input for the training modules and inspired the form of and content for the additional support materials.
Finally, we have organized feedback rounds with relevant actors, ranging from Food & Beverage companies to network organizations, the We Value Nature consortium and the Capitals Coalition Advisory Panel, hence giving them the opportunity to reflect on the support materials. We incorporated their valuable feedback and finalized robust training materials on natural capital that meet the needs of the Food & Beverage sector.
What did we do?
Nature^Squared realized an extensive range of support materials to help businesses in incorporating natural capital in their operations by developing training modules, documenting natural capital stories, developing an infographic on natural capital thinking, exploring a network analysis and designing persona action cards to establish internal buy-in.
Natural Capital Stories
The interviews with representatives from various Food & Beverage companies have led us to develop four inspiring case studies of companies that have already conducted a natural capital assessment. The companies (The Coca-Cola Company, Eosta, Metro AG and Jerónimo Martins) have shared useful insights into the process of conducting a natural capital assessment and provided practical tips for companies who wish to start their natural capital journey.
Persona Action Cards
To effectively spur change within businesses, it is vital to establish internal buy-in. The chances of a sustainability project succeeding increase when the majority of the organization is on board. To achieve this goal, we have developed persona action cards for several key positions within a company, including the CEO, CFO, Sustainability Manager, Procurement Manager, Marketing Manager and the farmer. The action cards elaborate on useful actions they can take, the challenges and needs, and guidance for effective engagement on the topic of natural capital.
Infographic – Entry points to natural capital thinking
A lot of concepts related to sustainability have been developed over the past couple of years, including amongst others Nature-based Solutions, life cycle analysis and ecosystem services. We have created an infographic that visualizes how natural capital links to a lot of the sustainability approaches that companies are already familiar with. The infographic shows that natural capital can provide a useful lens to uncover how various sustainability efforts are interconnected. The elements in the infographic have been linked to the four different stages of the Natural Capital Protocol to demonstrate in which stage they are most applicable.
A network mapping guides companies through the various network organizations that are relevant for the Food & Beverage industry. Several organizations, like the Capitals Coalition and One Planet Business for Biodiversity are similar in goal but differ in specific focus areas and the type of services they provide to members. The network analysis thus serves as a guide through the different network organizations and can illuminate which organization is the best fit for your business. We have analyzed 13 international Food & Beverage networks that companies can join to to collaboratively learn and spur collective action on natural capital.
In order to get the Food & Beverage industry to actively engage with natural capital, we have tailored two existing We Value Nature training modules – introduction to natural capital (module 1) and scoping a natural capital assessment (module 2) – to the Food & Beverage sector. These trainings help businesses understand what natural capital is, what their impacts and dependencies on nature are, and how they can start a natural capital assessment themselves. We have launched the two trainings during the We Value Nature 10-day Challenge Event. Furthermore, we have developed instructions for future trainers that allow for the replication of these trainings, therewith ensuring that the insights provided by the trainings can be shared with everyone who wishes to advance their natural capital journey.
Spreading the word
We Value Nature virtual office hour call – 20th May 2021
The launch of the Food & Beverage support materials was scheduled during the We Value Nature virtual office hour call on May 20th 2021, which has been recorded and can be viewed here. During this call, we have walked businesses through some of they key resources and how these can be applied. We also had a chance to hear from a Dutch Food & Beverage company about their journey to integrate natural capital in decision-making. The We Value Nature Virtual Office Hour call was an inspiring opportunity to share experiences, and learn from peers in a collaborative, supportive space.
Share and inspire!
So far, we have received great feedback on the training materials and we hope that more and more companies will become inspired and supported to work with natural capital. All the materials are freely accessible and can be adapted to specific purposes. We encourage others to share the materials with colleagues and make use of the training materials to further mainstream natural capital integration in the Food & Beverage industry.