Kimberly-Clark and General Motors are among the two dozen companies pushing for more visibility into the true cost of natural resources -- from water to forests to soil to minerals – that are vital to the creation of their goods and services. By acting collectively to bring additional leverage to individual actions, they hope to galvanize other companies to value nature in a similar way.
The effort, organized by the Corporate Eco Forum and The Nature Conservancy, was highlighted at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this week in Rio de Janeiro. The details of the companies' commitments are published in a report titled "The New Business Imperative: Valuing Natural Capital."
"The companies featured in our report are united in the view that immediate leadership to safeguard well-functioning ecosystems is a business imperative, not a matter of philanthropy," said M.R. Rangaswami, founder of the Corporate Eco Forum, during the press conference in Rio.
The joint publication issued by the Corporate Eco Forum and The Nature Conservancy echoes another report out this week from sustainability advocacy group Ceres. That analysis, "Clearing the Waters: A Review of Corporate Water Risk Disclosure in SEC Filings," found that 90 percent of the 82 public companies studied were concerned about physical water risks such as scarcity or flooding. That's up from 76 percent just two years ago.
Although the Ceres analysis is focused more on the need for businesses to mitigate risks, both reports come to the same conclusion: there should be a more explicit business case for corporate environmental philanthropy.
Next page: Nine ways to start repaying your natural debt