Sustainability Made Stronger, Pt. 1

How companies are leveraging innovative partnerships to reduce their impact on the environment.

Today marks the beginning of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France. For the next two weeks, world leaders are negotiating legally binding agreements to reduce carbon emissions.

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Companies are taking steps to avoid the planetary consequences of greenhouse gas emissions.

The endgame is capping Earth’s greenhouse effect temperature at no more than a 2 degree Celsius increase above pre-industrial levels.

More and more, companies around the world are taking substantive steps to avoid the planetary consequences of greenhouse gas emissions. As a clear stakeholder in accessing natural resources and ensuring stable markets for their products and services, the business community is increasingly designing effective solutions.

Several of them came to Atlanta last month to visit UPS to specifically talk about reducing their impact on the environment and how innovative approaches might help them do it.

Longitudes spoke with two of those organizations after the event: EJ Hullverson, Marketing Manager for Nestlé Purina and Jena Thompson-Meredith, Vice President of Business Partnerships at The Conservation Fund.

EJ works on the Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets brand team, while Jena partners with companies like UPS to help them achieve their carbon reduction goals in an innovative way we’ll discuss in part two of this series, posting tomorrow (12/1/15)

Today, we focus on the reasons why companies like Nestlé Purina are increasingly becoming interested in reducing their impact on the environment.

[Also on Longitudes: Time for Business to Step Up]

James: Welcome and thank you for joining us on Longitudes.

You traveled long distances to come here today to discuss sustainability with UPS. Why did you come and what did you learn?

Jena: We came to share new ideas and approaches to sustainable practices – ways businesses and partner organizations can work together to keep our planet healthy. For example, we spoke with EarthWatch – a remarkable nonprofit focused on connecting everyday people with the world’s top scientists.

While touring woods surrounding the UPS corporate campus, we talked about the importance of forests and how their sustainable management not only offers climate benefits but also provides clean air, fresh water and economic benefits.

EJ:  We also met with other like-minded companies I think the visit helped me learn more about ways Nestlé Purina might be able to work with them to do something really innovative to make our planet healthier.

James: Did you find that partnerships like you’re describing are increasingly being made to unlock better results?

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People want to buy products that align with their values.

EJ: Clearly. That’s one of the main things I’m taking away from this event – the power of partnerships and the unique opportunity that they create for people in the business world and in the NGO world. Partners and suppliers working together to find solutions are just stronger.

James: Why do you think businesses like Nestlé Purina are becoming increasingly involved and aware of sustainable efforts to reduce their impact on the environment?

EJ: Consumer research shows that people want to buy products that align with their values.  They want to choose companies that not only produce good products, but also produce and deliver them the right way. At Nestlé Purina, we’re really driving ourselves, asking the question “what can we do to innovate, to be better?”

Jena: I think EJ’s really on to something regarding brand impact. There are studies that show that brands with purpose — those brands like Nestlé Purina and like UPS that are very transparent, that do more than the status quo — actually see more return over brands that aren’t as transparent. There’s a very real business case to be made for operating in a way that does good by the world.

[Also on Longitudes: Making Sustainable Products…Sustainable]

James: What are some of the other factors driving interest?

EJ: I think it’s a business imperative. It’s about being transparent with customers. Working with companies like UPS and The Conservation Fund allows us to do this.

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It takes business to really drive change.

At Nestlé Purina, we want to be a valuable part of the communities where we work, play and sell our products. To do that, we’ve got to maintain a healthy environment from which to source our quality ingredients. That’s not only good for our four-legged friends, but their owners as well.

James: In the next segment of our discussion, we’ll specifically talk about how The Conservation Fund is working with UPS and Nestlé Purina and their innovative approach. Jena, is the perception about sustainable practice and efforts changing?

Jena: I grew up thinking that if you worked for an environmental nonprofit that you were probably going to be a tree hugger. But what I found is that this is all about business. And it takes business to really drive change.

Without business at the table, I think that you have an incomplete environmental conservation solution. So, I get really fired up about making sustainability work for businesses.

Don’t miss Part 2 of the series posting tomorrow Dec. 1, 2015.  goldbrown2


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James Rowe is Creative Director of Longitudes and co-host of Longitudes Radio.

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Reprinted with permission of Longitudes, the UPS blog devoted to the trends shaping the global economy.