Incorporating community-based conservation efforts incentivizes and enables members to take sustainable actions that protect the environment and traditional ecological practices supporting legislative action of existing protections.
The goal of environmental conservation is to minimize the rate of extinction and protect the planet’s biodiversity. However, many threats to biodiversity like deforestation, urbanization, pollution, poaching, and such are all man-made. Thus, these issues should be solvable by humans.
Economic gain is the main driver behind such threats, yet sustainable companies reject that norm and thrive. A well-known example is the beloved Ben & Jerry’s. They have a public statement, “Towards a Vision of Sustainable Agriculture.” They offer transparency about how they source their ingredients and even address their shortcomings and how they aim to overcome them. Prioritizing sustainability within your business for your community does not mean foregoing a decent profit.
Another well-known example is Patagonia, a clothing company that is very transparent about its journey. Their mission statement is: “we’re in business to save our home planet.” The bold claim they’ve backed up through engaging solely in environmental activist work. For some insight, they fund grantees who work on issues related to land, water, climate, community, and biodiversity. Moreover, Patagonia supports environmental grassroots organizations that they believe directly link to real change.
That being said, a lot of good can be done when the priority is to build a strong community that cares about sustainability throughout the supply chain.
4 Ways Business Can Support Community Conservation Efforts
1. Encourage Employees to Volunteer
Getting employees involved in local green efforts can build sustainable values while also boosting morale. Ideally, businesses would incentivize these efforts with bonuses or extra vacation days.
Additionally, community beautification projects or hosting presentations about environmental concerns encourage employees to participate. They could even share the company’s vision for improved sustainable practices.
This form of engagement creates the opportunity for many people to become more aware. They’ll be mindful of everything from the products they source from suppliers to their energy use. Such a small incentive could influence an entire industry to be more active in implementing sustainable solutions via community conservation.
2. Provide Information on Local Biodiversity
An excellent way to promote involvement is to inform the everyday customer what your business contributes and what they can contribute.
More importantly, people protect the things near and dear to them. So, informing locals about unique biodiversity in their area is good motivation for involvement. Information is powerful. It bridges the gap between people and the environmental issues that feel too far out of their reach to fix.
Take Offset for example. This is a B Corp that prioritizes both biodiversity and the people that coexist with it. Offset has been able to donate 2% of their top-line earnings to non-profits. They use these earnings in hopes of improving people’s lives and reducing CO2 emissions for years to come.
One of the 501(c)(3) charities they fund is Paso Pacífico. They work to “restore and protect the endangered dry tropical forest and coastal ecosystems of Mesoamerica’s Pacific Slope,” and are able to do so through engaging with the local women and youth in Central America. This project is great at centering the people and supporting communities that really need it.
3. Partner with Conservation Orgs
Wildlife Conservation Network is an organization that works with conservationists who work for the protection of wildlife. As a partner, they provide financial resources and other means of support the conservationist require. This is just one example of what kind of partnership businesses could create to actively contribute to conservation efforts.
With that, there is also the opportunity for a business to donate or collaborate on fundraising events in partnership with their organization of choice. There’s nothing like directly funding causes that align with a business’s core values. Back to Patagonia, they pledge 1% of all their earnings to organizations. Moreover, Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia co-founded The World Trout Initiative to support those working to “restore a protect wild, self-sustainable trout, salmon, and other fish species within their native ranges.”
4. Sustainable Sourcing
Businesses that get their supplies from ethical sources provide the options that conscious consumers are willing to pay for. Not to mention, doing so reduces the business’s contribution to practices harmful to the communities nearby.