Linking planetary boundaries to business
A significant challenge for businesses striving for sustainability is in determining the best actions to take in order to reduce their impacts on the environment and mitigate climate change risk. However, without any real knowledge of what is actually sustainable in our finite global system how can sustainability practitioners understand how their individual companies’ impacts contribute to natural resource limitations at a global scale, or, indeed, whether their sustainability efforts will create positive outcomes more broadly. The concept of Planetary Boundaries can address these unknowns and provide a critical new perspective whereby companies can make more meaningful decisions and responses to help us restore a well-functioning planet. Essentially, the Planetary Boundaries presents a framework that a business can apply to decision-making through the lens of thresholds and limits that are inherent to an ecosystem of any size, either local or global. To highlight the importance of linking Planetary Boundaries to business, Kering and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability (CISL) have published the first White Paper in Kering’s series on Planetary Boundaries for Business today. As a comprehensive overview, it underlines the value of the Planetary Boundaries framework and explores how it can help inform business decision-making and enable companies to stay within their business ‘boundaries’.
Speaking on behalf of the scientific community in the paper, Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre says, “Businesses increasingly call for science-based targets to guide investments, innovation and performance indicators along the value chain. I hope that the Planetary Boundaries framework and the rapidly advancing science on global sustainability can assist in providing Business with the science it needs for responsible business prosperity in the Anthropocene.”
Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer and head of international institutional affairs, Marie-Claire Daveu, concurs and states, “The Planetary Boundaries framework is a fundamental element to include when designing the agenda for managing and mitigating our global environmental challenges. As businesses we need to go far beyond our single, individual issues and contribute to meaningful change at a global level.”