Net Positive: A new way of doing business, by Forum for the Future, The Climate Group and WWF-UK, captures - for the first time - the principles of what it means to take a Net Positive approach and provides a route map to help businesses engage with the concept. It calls for the ambition of business to change from ‘doing less harm’ to becoming ‘Net Positive’ to have a positive impact on the world.
Authors explain that a strong sustainability strategy helps businesses in many ways; enhanced reputation, increased sales, cost reduction and engaged staff. Net Positive: A new way of doing business identifies that a Net Positive approach – where businesses demonstrate positive environmental or societal impacts in key areas of their operations – adds further benefits, including competitive advantage, supply security and the space to innovate products and services through moving the organization into a leadership space.
The benefits of a Net Positive approach are already being felt by businesses, including BT, Capgemini, Coca-Cola Enterprises, The Crown Estate, IKEA Group, Kingfisher and SKF. Leaders of these businesses came together with the report authors to share their experiences and help define the Principles of a Net Positive approach. They concluded that failure to deal adequately with environmental and social issues will result in “exposure to supply chain risks and missed opportunities”.
The 12 principles of ‘Net Positive’ are:
- The organization aims to make a positive impact in its key material areas.
- The positive impact is clearly demonstrable if not measurable.
- As well as aiming to have a positive impact in its key material areas, the organization also shows best practice in corporate responsibility and sustainability across the spectrum of social, environmental and economic impact areas, in line with globally accepted standards.
- The organization invests in innovation in products and services, enters new markets, works across the value chain, and in some cases, challenges the very business model it relies on.
- A Net Positive impact often requires a big shift in approach and outcomes, and cannot be achieved by business-as-usual.
- Reporting on progress is transparent, consistent, authentic and independently verified where possible. Boundaries and scope are clearly defined and take account of both positive and negative impacts. Any trade-offs are explained.
- Net Positive is delivered in a robust way and no aspect of a Net Positive approach compensates for unacceptable or irreplaceable natural losses or ill treatment of individuals and communities.
- Organizations enter into wider partnerships and networks to create bigger positive impacts.
- Every opportunity is used to deliver positive impacts across value chains, sectors, systems, and throughput to the natural world and society.
- Organizations publicly engage in influencing policy for positive change.
- Where key material areas are ecological, robust environmentally restorative and socially inclusive methods are applied.
- An inclusive approach is adopted at every opportunity, ensuring affected communities are involved in the process of creating positive social and/or environmental impacts.