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University of Cambridge calls on businesses to tackle natural resource challenges



The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is calling businesses on to tackle natural resource challenges, from increasing energy and water consumption to environmental degradation, in a report that points out the benefits of responsible business.

The report – Doing Business with Nature –targets international companies that heavily rely on natural capital, including water, soil and timber, which underpin global supply chains. It seeks to highlight how companies can generate business benefits through responsible practices and considering sustainability.

CISL notes that a recent UK government report warned that the decline in natural environment is proving “costly” to the economy. The organisation adds that this has implications for business, not only in the UK but globally, as environmental degradation increases worldwide.

The report explains that climate change, increasing consumption and the degradation of natural resources are pushing companies to find appropriate ways to respond to these challenges. It notes that the effectiveness of responses will “define the future status and condition of our planet’s most vital resources as well as determine the success of business operations across the globe”.

Resource scarcity, and the associated policy, means that businesses much secure their operations, supply chains and licences in order to thrive in the future where “reputations is increasingly a function of sustainability performance”.

Polly Courtice, director of the CISL, said, “Many of the companies we work with at CISL are already implementing measures to reduce their impact on natural capital across their supply chains, but we all recognise the need to go further and get many more businesses involved.

“By developing a body of evidence in partnership with a group of companies we aim to translate the management of natural capital into tangible commercial benefits – highlighting in real terms the financial savings, security of supply and brand enhancement on offer.”

The report sets out challenges for businesses covering water, biodiversity and soil as well as providing integrated solutions.

Photo: Victor1558 via Flickr

Further reading:

Breakdown of business ethics destroying shareholder value, says Ecclesiastical

Taking steps towards a new ethical age of business

Report urges businesses to act on climate change

Business leaders call for stability reserve in EU Emissions Trading Scheme

McKinsey: company leaders rallying behind sustainability


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