Sustainability & Risk

Fast Four ICYMI: What’s the Value of Nature to a Business? Three Companies Weigh In

By Chris Chiappinelli

Four webcast presenters speak about the outputs of nature

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Trace the inputs of most businesses far enough, and you’re likely to encounter the outputs of nature. The shower gel sold around the world began as an acai berry in the Amazon. The concrete used in some of Europe’s most ambitious new buildings traces back to a quarry in Switzerland. And the corn in popular breakfast cereals is the product of Midwestern soil.

Nature-based inputs are critical to today’s businesses, but the relationship between nature and commerce is changing. Here, three companies from different areas of the world reveal how they’ve integrated nature into corporate strategy—and how they measure the value of nature in their businesses.

This ICYMI edition of the Fast Four series features an excerpt from WhereNext’s webcast The Nature of Business, with experts from Holcim, Land O’Lakes, and Natura. Watch the short video or read the transcript below.

Chris Chiappinelli, WhereNext: I’m curious about the executive role—a couple of things: The executive role in nature and where nature fits into the corporate strategy, and then also just about value. Why are these nature-positive practices beneficial to your companies?

Robert Nothnagel, Holcim: I think in our executive committee the spirit is quite clear. We want to work in a circular economy and then try to use as much as . . . in the construction business as much demolition waste as possible to actually keep the raw material in a life cycle instead of wasting it and dumping it somewhere.

Then one big challenge for us as a group is the CO2. So, there are severe and challenging CO2 targets, emission targets. We want to reduce our outputs substantially. And then the group, executive committee, they put in place a nature policy two years ago or three years ago that entails that every site, every quarry worldwide, needs to have a formal rehabilitation plan. It needs to have this measurement of biodiversity KPI as a baseline, by this year actually. And by 2030, we have to prove nature-positive improvements on each and every site.

So, there’s a strong incentive from the group to work on nature. And so what we’re doing here in Switzerland . . .  we are working since a few years also on this thing. It’s all completely aligned with our top management. And I see a really sincere and strong commitment to get things going.

Carlos Talini, Natura: At Natura, our executive board is deeply committed to the role of nature in our corporate strategy. This commitment sets us apart from our competitors, and our executives are fully aware of that, of this importance, as nature is inside our business model. So, it could not be different.

And nature-positive practice brings significant benefit to the company, including strengthening brand awareness, the presence to our consumers. And this last point can be evident in the reports such as the one led by Brand Finance organization, which ranks Natura as the strongest cosmetic brand in the world for the fourth consecutive year. So, this comes from the practice that you have on nature and biodiversity and also on social points.

Benoit Mourot, Land O’Lakes: Well, it goes back a little bit to what I said earlier, the fact that our members are our owners as well. So, definitely from a strategy standpoint, it’s core to it. We have to make sure that they have a good soil health, and that we maintain that over time if we want to maintain a good yield from, again, financial and for the environment. So, those are the aspects that if you want those farmers to be successful year over year, we have to address that and do the research for them to have a positive impact overall.

But also, as you think about finite resources, like water, how do we help them address those concerns for the lack of water in some areas, the drought and those kinds of things? So, it’s really key for some of those farmers, if we want them to survive in that business, that we help them address those nature problems. So, it’s very core to our corporate strategy in a way.


For more on how location intelligence helps these companies promote nature-positive practices, view the full webcast.

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