More than ever, the health and prosperity of individuals, communities, and nations are deeply intertwined with the natural ecosystems that sustain them. The great challenge of this century is to meet the growing demand for food, fresh water, energy, and other resources that advance human development while protecting our ecosystems.
Meeting this challenge requires finding solutions at the intersection of human and natural systems. Our work — with businesses, governments, foundations, and non-profits — recognizes the interdependency of human progress and the environment to protect the world’s most vulnerable people and ecosystems.
Strategy and policy. We design strategies, develop business models, and identify policy changes that align with environmental protection, restoration, and sustainable development.
Advocacy strategy and design. In partnership with our clients, we design and launch campaigns that spotlight major global environmental challenges, often resulting in the long-term legal protection of natural ecosystems.
Partnership building. We help clients identify and build partnerships – through workshops, joint initiatives, and forums – that best leverage each partner’s expertise toward the common goal of marrying sustainable development and environmental protection.
Financing models. We work with clients to design financing models and resource mobilization strategies to drive funding towards environmental problems.
Protecting the Great Barrier Reef
The Queensland government’s approval of the expansion of four major ports near the Great Barrier Reef would have resulted in the dredging of 51 million cubic meters of seabed material. Approximately 80% of this material would have been dumped within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Site, creating new endangered species, coral disease, and reducing tourism. In response, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched a global campaign to protect the reef and its inhabitants.
We first identified the current social, economic, and environmental value of the Great Barrier Reef, looking at metrics such as the number of jobs supported by the reef, tourism revenues, and biodiversity. We compared these findings to the negative impacts and short-term economic gains from the proposed port expansions. Based on the analysis, we built a case for the reef’s protection and a set of concrete asks for the Australian government and UNESCO. In collaboration with WWF’s communications team, we also designed and executed a comprehensive outreach strategy to support the launch of the report and build global support for the protection campaign.
More than 550,000 people signed WWF’s petition asking the Australian government to adopt new reef protection legislation and UNESCO to hold Australia accountable for its World Heritage commitments to manage the reef sustainably. The petition was delivered to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, who voted to maintain pressure on Australia to deliver “effective and sustained protection” of the reef. The Australian government pledged to ban dumping of dredged seabed sediment within the World Heritage Site and to restrict megaport expansions in and near the reef.
To learn more about our Environment work, see our insights or contact:
Sonila Cook, New York
Oren Ahoobim, New York