Doing business with nature: opportunities from natural capital
The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is working with businesses to identify commercial opportunities from protecting the natural environment.
The report, Doing Business with Nature: opportunities from natural capital, is led by the Natural Capital Leaders Platform and focuses on international companies that rely on the natural resources (such as water, soil and timber) that underpin global supply chains and provide commercial value. In collaboration with companies including Olam, Nestlé, Asda, and Mars, the report highlights business responses that enhance natural capital and generate business benefits.
The report features two case studies, the first on Olam’s palm and rubber operations in Gabon to highlight the importance of engaging and collaborating with other stakeholders to address land, biodiversity and community impacts. The second case study is on the challenge to maintain profitable almond yields in the face of Californian drought through a broader look at soil dynamics and water management. Rather than further exploiting a scarce resource through costly deepening of wells or treating poor quality water, we focused on enhancing the health and water-retaining capacity of another natural resource: soil.
In the report, Chris Brown, General Manager for Environmental Sustainability at Olam, draws attention to the need for a landscape approach that considers managing biodiversity, soil and water simultaneously, commenting that these challenges cannot be addressed in ‘splendid isolation’ but require holistic thinking and concerted collaboration between partners.