How can you apply a one-planet-philosophy to your business? Last week, IUCN NL and WWF NL organized the One Planet Thinking business event at VNO-NCW in The Hague to introduce this philosophy to companies.

One Planet Thinking helps businesses formulate truly sustainable targets in accordance with the planetary boundaries of our planet, whilst looking at the balance between different sustainability impacts such as climate, water use and biodiversity. Several Dutch and international speakers spoke to an audience of about forty professionals from different sectors.

Building on the Natural Capital Protocol

“Nowadays, doing better than your neighbor makes you a sustainability expert”, says Johan van de Gronden, chair of the board IUCN NL, in his introductory speech. “We have to move away from this. There is an urgency in putting the needs of our planet first.” Marta Santamaría of the Natural Capital Protocol built on this in her speech linking the NCP and One Planet Thinking: “One Planet Thinking is a BMI approach. Not only do you measure your weight, but also whether that weight means you are healthy.”

“We already know many alternatives to our current system, but the immense amount of possibilities has led to an unclear mess”, says Diego Isabel la Moneda of the New Economy and Social Innovation Charter. “We have to use our collective wisdom to our advance by letting those initiatives interact like an ecosystem.”

Testing tools in pilot projects

In its pilots with businesses, the One Planet Thinking program combines different tools to measure impact on the most pressing boundaries, set targets, and improve those. Romie Goedicke (Head of One Planet Thinking IUCN NL): “Together with the company we find out what it means to work within the planetary boundaries, and how this influences decision-making on all levels within the enterprise. One Planet Thinking is about innovation, building resilient ecosystems, and reimagining our current world.”

To give guests an introduction to One Planet Thinking tools and techniques they were invited to participate in workshops on systems thinking by Tom Bosschaert (Except) or biomimicry by Saskia van den Muijsenberg (Biomimicry NL). Participants actively looked at how you can map the impacts and dependencies of a company’s supply chain, and how to generate new ideas for innovation and improvement by looking at nature.

Committed companies wanting to start a One Planet Thinking-pilot are guided by the experts of IUCN NL and WWF NL, explain Coenraad Krijger (director IUCN NL) and Jorien Hoogen (project leader One Planet Thinking WWF NL). “We work at the crossroads of practice and science, as the two work synergetically”, says Coenraad.

The One Planet Thinking day inspired companies to the realize that leading companies can and must play a key role in defining sustainability goals that are not only safe for our planet, but also contextually relevant and socially just.