We’re addressing the drivers of environmental degradation and promoting a ‘one planet’ economy where people and nature thrive.
It was a big success for us when the UK government pledged it would develop a 25-year plan for nature. It’s something we’d been calling for, to ensure the value of nature is taken into account in decision-making. After all, we rely on nature’s many benefits – such as clean air and water, fertile soils and a stable climate. During the year we and RSPB called on Defra to consider the UK’s impact on nature in other countries, too, as it develops the plan. This has helped to change Defra’s thinking – and it’s led them to ask to work with us to develop exactly such an approach. Defra has also been using an animation we produced this year to increase awareness of the importance of protecting and investing in nature’s assets. They’re using very similar wording to ours when talking about the objectives of the 25-year plan – about the need to improve the decisions we all take that impact on the environment. Our animation, narrated by our ambassador Miranda Richardson, appears above.
Food for thought
The food we eat has a major impact on our planet. Growing, producing and importing food contributes significantly to climate change. It’s a driving force behind habitat and biodiversity loss. And it’s a huge drain on water resources. To show how things can be done differently, we’ve been working in partnership with global catering provider Sodexo. It’s reducing the environmental impact of the meals it serves by creating more sustainable options. The result is a range of ‘Green and Lean’ meals that combine our LiveWell principles with Sodexo’s Better Tomorrow ethos. In 2016, Sodexo launched the meals in 40 independent schools in England. The meals demonstrate that simple changes – more wholegrains, vegetables and pulses, lower fat dairy products, and sparing use of sugar and salt – can create delicious alternatives that are better for our health. And, by selecting seasonal fruit and veg and sourcing certified and sustainable meat and fish, the meals are better for our planet too.
The broad ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted by the UN’s 193 member states in 2015 means they’ll have an impact on every aspect of our work: from forests, oceans and fresh water to energy, climate change and the economy. It’s vitally important we invest in shaping national plans to implement the SDGs so they advance our objectives. So during the past year we’ve focused on engaging with governments in China, Colombia, India and Kenya and Nepal, as well as in the UK. For instance, in China, WWF brought six government departments together and China has now published its implementation plan for the SDGs. And we helped bring 10 Latin American WWF country offices and their government representatives together. As a result, these and other WWF offices now have a clearer sense of what the priorities are in their countries.
Mapping Kenya’s natural wonders
Some of Kenya’s incredible grasslands, rivers, forests, mangroves, coral reefs and beaches are among habitats we’re determined to protect by influencing new plans that will determine how Kenya’s counties use land for development in the next 10 to 15 years. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to influence how vital habitats are cared for – land that supports people’s livelihoods and precious wildlife. We’re focusing on four counties in particular – Narok and Bomet in the Mara, and Lamu and Kwale on the coast. Our programme has already had a positive influence on national guidelines as to how counties should produce their land-use plans. We commissioned a study into the value that Lamu county’s natural assets (its habitats, species, water resources and soils) contribute to the local and national economy. And we outlined the potential costs that could be avoided if they were restored and better protected. We’ve also mapped critical areas in all four counties that contain the most important natural assets and greatest biodiversity. This gives us a clear idea of places we at WWF consider critical for protection as the new plans are negotiated.
We played an integral role this year in developing robust new guidelines that will ensure investors are more accountable when it comes to the environmental and social impacts of their holdings. We were invited to join the advisory group of a project to agree how the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) can roll out its guidelines for multinational enterprises to the finance sector. We fought for a robust and fair treatment of this important text. We know how vital such guidelines can be: we successfully challenged oil company Soco’s plans to explore for oil in a UNESCO World Heritage site – Virunga national park – by referring to and using the OECD’s guidelines for multinationals. The application of the guidelines to the finance sector will enable further corporate accountability to the important investment landscape.