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Multinationals launch "Net Positive" initiative

LONDON: British Telecom and a number of other multinationals have launched a campaign to encourage businesses to become "Net Positive" – going beyond a zero carbon footprint to replenishing natural resources.

Richard Gillies, group Sustainability director at Kingfisher plc explains: "People want businesses to be about more than profit. Net positive provides a framework to help the business community become a force for good - positive for people, planet and profit.

"We believe it's a win, win, win formula. Indeed we believe it's the only formula for securing a sustainable business over the long term, which is why we have launched our Net Positive approach to business. We don't have all the answers and we can't do it alone so we are delighted to be a part of this unique collaboration of partners, aspiring to accelerate the transition towards a wider Net Positive movement."

Kingfisher says by becoming "Net Positive" it can secure the resources it uses and provide access to a large new market for in-home energy efficiency estimated at €70 billion in Europe by 2020. In addition, by harnessing closed-loop approaches the kingfisher BQcompany thinks it can take advantage of a Europe-wide cost-saving opportunity it estimates at US$630 billion a year.

The company's B&Q subsidiary has already committed to a 50 percent reduction in CO2 across business travel and haulage by 2023 against a 2006/07 baseline. Progress towards this target is reportedly at 36 percent.

Together with NGOS Forum for the Future, the Climate Group and WWF-UK, Kingfisher and the other multinationals want to create a step-change in how companies approach sustainability by promoting the acceleration of global resource replacement.

The group says it aims to grow the number of businesses that are going "Net Positive" by promoting the triple bottom-line benefits of this approach and will also explore how customer and supplier innovations can open up new markets for businesses that have a positive impact on value chains, systems and society.

Sally Uren, CEO of Forum for the Future comments: "This group is absolutely critical for a sustainable future. The businesses involved all share the ambition not just to be a little less harmful – not even to get to 'zero harm' – but to be a positive force."

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group adds: "Net positive can be the basis of a new positive circle, where innovation and sustainability are translated into new business practices and tangible benefit to communities everywhere. It also offers real business benefits: in a tough market environment net positive leaders can better connect with consumers and better protect their brand and their bottom-line."

SKF director of Corporate Responsibility Rob Jenkinson says his company is participating in Net Positive in order to draw attention to the way businesses can contribute to positive environmental development. James Robey, group Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability director at Capgemini notes: "Net Positive signals a step change in how a business addresses its undisputed obligations to corporate responsibility and sustainability."

In confirming his company's involvement Joe Franses, director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) explains: "We recognise that the sustainability agenda is not just about reducing business impact. It is about the positive social, economic and environmental contribution that businesses can make to the communities in which they operate. We welcome the opportunity to work with other like-minded businesses to develop a definition of net positive and to explore the benefits of setting net positive commitments."

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