The World Resources Institute has announced an initiative that it says will focus on business and finance models for sustainable, low-carbon economic growth in major markets like the U.S., China, Mexico, India and Brazil. The founding members of the Next Practice Collaborative are Alcoa, AkzoNobel, CEMEX, Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, Staples and United Technologies Corporation.
"The Next Practice partnership is about re-imagining the bar for corporate leadership," said Manish Bapna, interim president, WRI. "Leading businesses understand that it is time for real innovation and new thinking, not just incremental improvement."
WRI's Samantha Putt del Pino explains some of the reasoning behind creating Next Practices: "The world in 20, 30 or 40 years will look very different from today and this has fundamental consequences for business. For example, science is clear that greenhouse gas emissions reductions of 80 to 95 percent are needed by 2050 and that climate impacts are already occurring. Our children and grandchildren will be living and managing businesses in a carbon constrained world."
CEMEX, one of the founding partners, joined the initiative to further its sustainable development work, including efforts to "engage low-income 'base of the pyramid' consumers," according to a WRI press release.
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The company is seeking to pioneer new financing models in rapidly urbanizing areas in Latin America and other developing countries that create sustainable housing at the lowest cost of acquisition and total ownership, through resilient and energy-efficient design and materials use
WRI explains more about how Next Practice will work:
Companies will draw on insights from a group of advisors to refine and advance these next practice project ideas. This group includes individuals such as Carter F. Bales, chairman, NewWorld Capital Group LLC; David Blood, co-founder and senior partner, Generation Investment Management; Stefan Heck, Director, McKinsey & Company; Rebecca Henderson, Senator John Heinz professor of Environmental Management, Harvard Business School; Charles O. Holliday, Jr., former CEO of DuPont and Chairman, Bank of America; and Jigar Shah, CEO, Carbon War Room.
Samantha Putt del Pino says this group will explore the following three themes:
- How can corporate investment decisions be aligned with long-term sustainability trends to create more value for the company?
- How do we develop new financing approaches and investment standards to ensure that buildings fit with a vision of a clean energy system?
- How can companies respond to changing consumer needs driven by climate change? The group will explore new product solutions that can enable low-carbon, climate resilient development that benefits solution providers and communities.