Editor's Note: News about conservation and the environment is made every day, but some of it can fly under the radar. In a recurring feature, Conservation News shares three stories from the past week that you should know about.
Conservation International’s chief scientist encourages the public to channel their anxiety for the environment into action, outlining a broad three-step plan to achieve greater sustainability.
The Story: Johan Rockström, Conservation International’s chief scientist, emphasized the importance of developing strategies to protect the Earth’s resources before they are depleted in a piece for The Telegraph last week. The IPBES report published in May outlined the Earth’s dwindling biodiversity and the potentially catastrophic future for ecosystems around the world due to humans. Rockström urges world leaders to heed the call to action toward sustainability.
The Big Picture: According to Rockström, there are three major steps that must be undertaken “to move from incremental to exponential action”: establishing new scientific targets for the Earth, shifting away from GDP as the only measure for economic and social well-being, and creating new international policies at major UN conferences in 2020.
The majority of big companies pledging their commitment to the environment may not be following through with their sustainability promises, a report says.
The Story: In an article reported by Matthew Green from Reuters, the charity CDP stated that 70 percent of 1,500 large companies failed to report data related to their impacts on forests. CDP works with institutional investors to help assess the environmental impacts of influential corporations across the globe and has gathered data for this report since 2018. As many consumers become increasingly dedicated to learning the effects of their shopping on the environment, investors are pushing major corporations to reveal the risks they may face if the climate continues to break down.
The Big Picture: “The silence is deafening when it comes to the corporate response to deforestation,” said Morgan Gillespy, global director of forests at CDP. The organization warns that for these large companies, contributing to deforestation is also putting their corporate revenue in jeopardy and diminishing their source of natural materials such as timber. Without full transparency from the majority of companies, it is difficult for scientists and governments to assess the scope of damage to forests and strategize the next course of sustainable action.
British designer Stella McCartney was named sustainability advisor for LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world's largest luxury group.
The Story: Stella McCartney’s eponymous fashion brand and LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton entered into a partnership last Monday, reported on by the New York Times. LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault stated that McCartney’s dedication to sustainability was a critical factor in moving forward the marriage of these two fashion companies. McCartney will act as a sustainability advisor to LVMH, working directly with the brand’s sustainability department to accelerate its environmental initiatives.
The Big Picture: The fashion industry has a notoriously negative impact on the environment, producing 20 percent of global wastewater and 10 percent of global carbon emissions. With an entirely vegetarian brand and a range of policies against animal testing, McCartney is a leading figure for the environmental movement within fashion. As the new sustainability advisor for luxury powerhouse LVHM, she has the potential to influence brands — and sustainability practices — throughout the entire industry.
Kiley Price is a staff writer for Conservation International.
Cover image: Slash and burn deforestation in Rondonia, Brazil. (© NASA Earth Observatory)