On the 4th March we lent the Forum to the WWF’s Dax Lovegrove for the first in our Changemakers series, and were delighted to be joined by Ian Cheshire, CEO of Kingfisher, as our keynote speaker.
The aim was simple: create a movement of Net Positive pioneers, building on the great work being done by organisations such as BASF, Becker Underwood, BT, IKEA, Kingfisher, O2, Oxford Brooks University, PepsiCo, Rio Tinto, SKF and Unilever.
We see the emerging Net Positive thinking as the next evolutionary step in sustainability strategy, an opportunity for companies to inspire colleagues, suppliers and consumers around new initiatives that deliver net good, rather than 'less bad'.
In the weeks before the event, we collected the latest in corporate intelligence via a survey, blogs, roundtables and Twitter, and drew on the views of an outstanding panel that included Tom Burke CBE (Advisor to Rio Tinto) and Dr Cordula Mock-Knoblauch (BASF).
The success of the event depended on the participation of the crowd. The aim was to create a report following the event that captured the latest thinking from the leading minds, which we hope will give Net Positive the chance to fulfil its potential to deliver systemic change.
• Do Net Positive strategies require a greater degree of collaboration than other sustainability strategies?
• Who are natural collaboration partners for Net Positive organisations?
• What can be done to turn the Net Positive pioneers into a movement?
How to choose the issues, and how big the stretch? This table may consider issues such as;
• Is there a case for businesses being a Net Positive contributor to society overall, or is it better to focus on specific issues?
• How do you determine what issues are suitable for Net Positive targets for an organisation?
• What are acceptable time frames for Net Positive targets – are 2050 targets good or bad?
• What is the importance of not knowing how to meet the targets?
• Can the table come up with a menu of targets that a business that is new to Net Positive could draw inspiration from?
What is the potential for Net Positive to deliver systems change?
• What do we mean by systems change?
Why do we need it?
• What types of business strategies and targets encourage organisations to think of themselves as part of a system?
• Are there particular target areas where collective action will deliver systems change?
“This table believes that the majority of companies should have at least one Net Positive target”. A poll will be taken after a discussion.
•How does a business pick out a net positive target around a priority issue or region?
•How does a business present such a target to join the net positive movement while also standing out from the crowd?
•Are any sectors, such as tobacco or oil, not suitable for net positive targets?
How do you turn Net Positive from sustainability community buzzword to a clear message for everyone?
• Based on the Plenary discussion, how would you define Net Positive?
• What are the key touch points for different stakeholders?
• What are the potential weaknesses to be aware of?
• How would you articulate the potential for systemic change?
How can companies engage their supply chain in net positive strategies or targets? The conversation could include;
• What sorts of Net Positive targets would work well with supply chains?
• Is it important to engage suppliers in target setting?
• What do suppliers need to do differently to be part of a net positive ambition?
• How should progress be measured and communicated with the supply chain?
How should Net Positive strategies or goals be communicated? The discussion may include;
• Should a Net Positive communications strategy differ from a reduction-based strategy?
• How can Net Positive ambition avoid being dismissed as greenwash?
• Should comms focus on particular groups to whom specific Net Positive targets are relevant?
• How should Net Positive initiatives be communicated to customers?
Should more companies go Net Positive on carbon? Issues discussed may include:
• How should we define Net Positive in terms of carbon
• How could Net Positive carbon targets deliver systemic change?
• What role should offsetting play?
• Can a Net Positive target be added to any existing carbon strategy?
• What is special about Net Positive carbon strategies?
Will we see a growth in the number of companies who are switching from being a consumer of energy to being a net generator of clean energy? The conversation may include;
• What examples can the table come up with that should be included in the movement?
• Who are the stakeholder groups who are motivated by such moves?
• Are there particular companies / sectors that should consider going Net Positive on energy?
• How can the business case be made – is it justified on simple paybacks?
• What are the additional benefits that can be considered?
• How could Net Positive energy targets deliver systemic change?
What are the best social areas for Net Positive targets?
• How should organisations decide where to focus their energies?
• Where are the areas of greatest common interest between companies?
• How should measurability be factored into target setting?
• Was “Inspiring a generation” a Net Positive target?
Does Net Positive open the door for systemic change in the way we manage biodiversity?
• How does the table define biodiversity?
• Who should be engaged in a Net Positive biodiversity plan? Regulators / local communities / investors / NGOs / employees / competitors etc
• How can biodiversity be robustly measured and see of greenwashing claims?
• Which organisations should be considering such ambitions?
• Are net Positive water strategies inherently more local than, say, carbon?
• Does Net Positive result in greater collaboration, and with whom?
• Where it the business case for an individual company going net positive?
How do you measure beyond zero? The discussion may include:
• How should we define a Net Positive impact?
• What is a credible way to measure beyond zero?
• How do you balance impacts in different areas?
• Net Positive - how do you know when you get there?”
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