One Key Move to Improve Private Sector-Led Environmental Problem Solving

What got us here?

I’d say one big reason for our advancement is the diversity of players now in the game. In addition to the business leaders themselves, the roster of key players includes:

  • “Centrist” NGOs who work closely with businesses on developing environmental strategies
  • “Campaigning” NGOs who criticize and target businesses who are off course, often chasing them into constructive projects with centrist NGOs
  • Coalitions of NGOs, academics, regulators, multilaterals, and private sector players bring the environmental community together on specific projects. Examples include the Science-Based Targets Initiative, the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets [Disclosure: I’m a member], and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Stakeholders — customers, employees, shareholders, community members — who more than ever before use their agency, speak up loudly, and push hard for progressive environmental action
  • Journalists who monitor and write about environmental concerns and shine a spotlight on both leaders and laggards
  • Academics who study the issues and data carefully in order to evaluate which actions really work
  • Environmental critics whose scrutiny draws attention to real shortcomings and helps ensure they will be addressed
  • Private sector consultants who are now getting in the ring to help companies improve on their execution of large environmental initiatives
  1. Visit DC (where most NGOs are headquartered), meet with some NGOs and start getting to know them.
  2. Follow up with the ones you like best.
  3. Choose some to support and explore potential projects you could do together. Ask for their input and listen carefully. Invite the NGOs to tell you what they think you should do and how they can help. And remember to ask how you can help and support them too. These things should go both ways.

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Mark Tercek

Mark Tercek

Former CEO of The Nature Conservancy CEO. “Nature’s Fortune” author. Family man, yogi, ice climber, vegan.