Back in February, BSR wrote a blog about forming a coalition of companies and partners to propel the net positive movement, recognizing the enormous potential for business to create positive impacts on society and the environment—in other words, to put more back into the global system than is taken out. This would require collaborative, aligned, and transparent approaches, supported by a common set of principles and best practices.

And today, we’re pleased to announce that this coalition has formally taken shape to align net positive approaches, principles, and tools.

The Net Positive Project includes an exciting cluster of representatives from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., AT&T, Capgemini UK Plc, The Crown Estate, Dell Inc., The Dow Chemical Company, Eaton, Fetzer Vineyards, Hewlett Packard Enterprises Company, HumanScale Co., Kimberley-Clark, Kingfisher plc, Kohler Co., and Owens Corning. The project is supported by BSR and Forum for the Future, who are collaborating with Greg A. Norris, the co-director of the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE), based at the Center for Health and Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The coalition has spent the last few months defining its vision and roadmap to a net positive future. In five years’ time, we want to have built:

  • A net positive economy, where companies drive financial success and create positive impacts by putting more back into society, the environment, and the global economy than they take out.
  • A race to the top by promoting the potential for companies to positively affect the world and hold them accountable for their actions.
  • A critical mass of companies to have successfully executed net positive initiatives, as well as hundreds of organizations making and acting on new, publicly accountable net positive commitments.
  • Alignment of net positive commitments, approaches, and actions across companies and with other important sustainability movements, such as the circular economy.
  • Net positive approaches as a prominent way to generate and assess results against the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

We know that adopting a net positive approach increases the sustainability ambition of companies tremendously, and it can also lead to enhanced company innovation, strategy, brand and reputation, stakeholder relations, and sales.

However, the lack of a common set of principles and best practices for companies to measure and report on net positive claims has presented barriers to progress and limited more companies from taking action. Furthermore, without clear net positive guidelines and measurement methodologies, there is a risk of fragmented, unsubstantiated claims, which could detract and delay the movement and its benefits to society and the environment.

Therefore, in the next year, the Net Positive Project will focus on several parallel initiatives designed to build and propel the net positive movement. We will expand, refine, and agree on defining principles and a theory of change for net positive. We will also build on existing work to advance a framework on how to scope, measure, and communicate net positive outcomes. And we will advance a standardized approach for companies to develop case studies describing how products and services contribute to social and environmental progress.

Open dialogue and collaboration are key to the success of the net positive movement. We are seeking new companies to join the coalition and contribute to the net positive movement. Together, we can go beyond reducing negative impacts to build a thriving, sustainable global economy.

To learn more, please email David Korngold. The Net Positive Project will be featured in a Sustainable Brands plenary session on June 7 at 5 p.m. Pacific, which will be livestreamed here, as well as on a panel on June 8.