Jason Clay, vice-president of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), presented brilliant strategic plans at a TED Talk in 2010 to convince mega corporations to go sustainable. He identified the top 15 commodities that pose the biggest threats to the places that have the top biodiversity because of deforestation, water use, over-fishing, soil loss, and pesticide use. Then he identified the top 100 companies that consumed at least 25 percent of the top commodities, which includes, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Kraft, Starbucks, Walmart, Gap, and Nestle. At that time, he got 20 companies to sign an agreement and had more on the way.
I loved how Clay said that it’s not just about conserving our planet, but also to help companies stay in business in the future. When companies rely on resources that could possibly be gone in the future, companies could go out of business or completely change their products:
[Mars doesn't] want to be an I.P. company; they want to be a chocolate company, but they want to be a chocolate company forever.
Cocoa beans, the main ingredient used to make Mars’ chocolate, come from cacao trees that are found commonly in the equator zone, in hot, rainy tropical areas. Thus, this case certainly argues the need to conserve plants in order to continue to produce Mars’ chocolate and Nestle’s chocolate. Who would miss Nestle’s Toll House chocolate chip cookies should if cacao trees become extinct? What about Hershey’s chocolate bars too?
Coffee originates from coffee beans that are grown on coffee trees. Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Nestle certainly need to conserve coffee trees in order to continue earn profit from coffee. There would be no Cocoa Cola if sugarcane gets wiped out. Nestle and Starbucks would without any doubt be out of business too, as sugar is one of their biggest resources. Many products from Gap, Walmart, and Ikea come from cotton plants.
Watch the video from TED.com to hear the details on his strategic plan:
After watching the video, I searched to see where WWF is today in working with companies to go sustainable. As of September 2011, WWF got three more of top 100 companies to sign an agreement and was in discussion with 44 more companies.[1. Click here]