Four principles for regenerative companies
Leave things better than you find them
Successful companies are developing strategies that progressively improve people’s lives and the environment around them. Do you know how to transform your mindset and actions from ‘doing less bad’ to ‘doing more good’?
Support a healthy society
Leading edge companies recognize that their long-term success relies on all parts of society prospering. If one community or country suffers, we all end up being affected. Are you engaging with society, building community, and supporting those being discriminated against?
Think about your whole ecosystem
Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are reminding us that all our lives depend on a diverse and healthy environment. We cannot separate our personal wellbeing, our company’s profitability or the global economy from the planet’s ecosystem. Are you recognizing fully the impacts you have on the environment and helping nature to regenerate?
Include all voices
Visionaries, entrepreneurs, creatives, policy makers, activists, and business leaders. Diverse groups are better innovators. Who can you team up with to create success based on regenerative principles?
Seventh Generation’s ‘Social Mission Board’ to increase ambition
Eco-friendly cleaning products, ‘nurturing health for the next seven generations.’ Acquired by Unilever in 2017 and run as a B Corp, based in Vermont. Its Social Mission Board of outside experts is tasked with continually raising the bar. They have pushed for 100% planet-based inputs, 100% renewable energy, and increasing racial diversity. Recently they encouraged the company to double its internal carbon tax to $12/ton, sharpening incentives to make changes.
H&M Group - strategic commitment to a planet positive fashion sector
H&M has taken a leadership role in apparel industry collaborations trying to develop circular business models. In 2020 its former sustainability head became its first female CEO. Its SELLPY online platform is a pioneer in clothes’ resale. Its TREADLER program offers other retailers access to H&M’s supply chain. It gives long-term contracts to suppliers with the best sustainable impact ratings. Active ‘changemaker’ partnerships with many NGOs, academics, unions.
Natura & Co - building its business around biodiversity
Natura owns Body Shop and Avon. Its purpose-based brands take a stand on animal testing and women’s empowerment. With many suppliers across the Amazon region, Natura sees biodiversity as a core mission. Since regulation is weak, it looks for a business case against deforestation. For example, cutting down a ucuuba tree earns a farmer $7, but selling its seeds for soaps pays $12. Natura uses an Environmental P&L internally to guide budgeting and resource allocation. Aiming for Net Zero emissions by 2030 as a competitive advantage.
Interface’s 30-year journey to net zero… and beyond
Interface’s founder Ray Anderson had an epiphany at age 60: why should his company harm the planet when making carpet tiles? Interface developed an innovation mindset around energy and water efficiency, conducted experiments with yarn suppliers, reformulated their glue, and even quit their own trade association. 30 years later they hit net zero impacts. Now they’ve raised their ambition again to “run our business in a way that’s restorative to the planet.” Future carpet tiles will use bio-materials that store carbon.
Neste - from regional oil company to global leader in renewables
Finnish oil company Neste faced a burning platform after 2008 when the oil price collapsed. They adopted a new purpose: “To leave a healthier planet for our children.” They accelerated their shift to renewables and became the world leader in fuels from palm oil waste. The stock has out-performed. Making such a huge shift required deep culture and leadership work. They’re now ranked one of the most sustainable companies in the world, and one of the past decade’s Top 20 business transformations, according to Harvard Business Review.
Iberdrola - outperforming stock, transforming its business mix
The world #1 in wind power after a 20-year transition from coal and oil. Persistently advocating for zero carbon, and for companies to align their strategies with the most relevant Sustainable Development Goals. Iberdrola has won praise for guaranteeing jobs and minimizing damage to the local economy when closing coal-fired plants. A pioneer in issuing green bonds to finance new investments. Now finding growth opportunities such as charging station networks for EVs in Spain. Its growing market capitalization is beginning to surpass the oil majors.
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