The chocolate bar we buy could contain cocoa, palm oil and soy that have contributed to deforestation. It could have sugar that’s polluted rivers and impacted coral reefs. And it could come in a plastic wrapper that will still be harming our environment in 500 years.
Then again, perhaps it’s been produced by a community cooperative according to the highest environmental and ethical standards. And by buying it, you’re supporting reforestation that will protect both wildlife and people’s livelihoods.
Your choice of chocolate bar – or any other product − is just one link in the complex webs of supply and demand that touch every corner of the planet. Our goal is to influence those markets that have the biggest impact on nature, and make them a force for positive change.
"OUR AIM IS TO SHIFT MARKETS TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE AND DRIVE POSITIVE CHANGE"
The way we produce, trade, consume and waste presents huge threats to the natural world.
Our economies are geared towards continuous growth and rely on people buying more stuff. We’re already demanding more resources than the Earth can provide, contributing to climate change, water scarcity, pollution, and biodiversity loss. But, as the global population grows further, business as usual will accelerate this destruction.
For example, increases in food production to meet global demand are driving the destruction of forests and grasslands, and the loss of wildlife they’re home to. This sector has caused a 70% loss of biodiversity and currently uses 70% of freshwater globally.
Wildlife is being directly impacted too. For example, a surge in demand for elephant ivory and rhino horn in Asia has created a poaching crisis in Africa with 20,000 elephants being lost every year.
Certified products now account for 17% of global timber production, 21% of palm oil and 12% of wild seafood.
Markets can be a force for good
Markets can offer opportunities to create positive change at scale. And can influence production on the ground as well as demand globally.
Consumers can insist that the products they buy are produced in harmony with nature. Companies can influence their supply chains to ensure production is sustainable, and create more sustainable lines of business. Governments can provide incentives and supportive regulation to direct sustainable production and consumption.
And people, especially local communities on conservation frontlines, can improve their livelihoods, by selling products like sustainably harvested forest products or supporting ecotourism, with positive impacts on nature.
We’re working with citizens, consumers, communities and companies to create markets that are
good for people and nature.
That means shifting demand to more sustainable choices for products that have the biggest impacts on nature – commodities like palm oil, soybeans, and beef. And engaging with sectors, like mining and tourism, that can impact nature for good and bad.
It means reducing demand for products that are harming wildlife directly – for example, through shutting down illegal ivory markets and tackling the thousands of pieces of plastic sold every second.
And it means increasing demand for sustainably produced products, in global and local markets. In particular, we’re looking at how markets can incentivize local communities to protect crucial habitats through conservation-based community enterprises.