WRI Private Sector Work Expands Focus onCustomers and Markets

Building on the Institute’s important work highlighting and addressing the business risks of climate change and environmental impacts, 2016 saw a purposeful expansion of programs catalyzing markets as drivers of corporate sustainability across all aspects of our work.

WRI’s successful track record of working with the private sector to reduce supply chain risks from a changing climate and finite natural resources has helped build enthusiasm for our groundbreaking tools and initiatives. These include the Aqueduct and Global Forest Watch platforms that monitor and measure water and forest risks, and the Science Based Targets initiative, which has drawn more than 200 companies to commit to cutting corporate greenhouse gas emissions in line with the best science.

Building on this strong foundation, we’re increasing our focus on influencing customers to create sustainable market opportunities. To assist corporate buyers in making better sourcing decisions, the new Global Forest Watch PALM Risk Tool empowers companies to improve supply chains and purchase deforestation-free palm oil. Since half of all packaged consumer goods contain palm oil, this buyer-oriented tool will help create demand for sustainable forest products. Similarly, through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, WRI and its partners identify companies that want clean power, aggregate that demand and connect those customers with utilities with the potential to provide innovative services.

By 2030, 3 billion people will join the global middle class. Across sectors, WRI helps business leaders develop strategies to safeguard economic growth by identifying ways to meet demand for everyday goods and services without exceeding the limits of natural resources. The Better Buying Lab initiative aims to drive individual consumer demand sustainably, helping companies identify ways to shift customers’ diets toward more plant-based foods, which are less resource-intensive to produce than meat. This diet shift is key to enabling business to grow and our population to be nourished within the planet's capacity to provide.

Classic sustainability focus has been on business risk. We’re building on that foundation to focus also on stimulating markets for sustainable solutions, so there’s a pull as well as a push, a carrot as well as a stick.

Kevin Moss

Global Director, Business Center

The New Climate Economy has shown that countries can separate economic growth from growth in carbon emissions. Our Tomorrow’s Markets project takes this concept into the business world, challenging the idea that business growth depends only on selling more stuff to more people. Innovative business models for a resource-constrained world will continue to make people’s lives better, transform customer behavior and create new markets to build a sustainable 21st-century economy that prospers without devastating the planet.