In 2011, The Dow Chemical Company and The Nature Conservancy embarked on a novel collaboration to help Dow and the business community recognize and incorporate nature into business decisions, strategies and goals.
“Large companies need to be able to value the benefits from nature that they depend on — and conversely, conservation needs to understand how to integrate the values of those benefits into business planning,” says Michelle Lapinski, director of corporate practices for The Nature Conservancy. For example, investing in natural infrastructure — such as restoring a marsh—could be an innovative approach to sustaining water resources.
Nature provides benefits, often called ecosystem services, which we all depend on. However, our activities can impact nature in ways that limit our ability to rely on them. The collaboration embraces a theory of change that the inclusion of ecosystem service and biodiversity assessment models in business decisions has the potential to produce stronger business performance and improved conservation outcomes.
Scientists with The Nature Conservancy and Dow selected Dow’s Texas operations in Freeport, Texas and Santa Vitoria, Brazil to serve as “living laboratories”. Their objective is to implement and refine models that support corporate decision-making related to the value and resources nature provides. Results will be used to make informed sustainable business decisions at The Dow Chemical Company and hopefully influence the decision-making and business practices of other companies.
This collaboration is an example of how companies and organizations from different sectors can work together to make real change happen.
Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature, is a “critically important” book from Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy and science writer and conservation biologist Jonathan S. Adams.