National Forest Foundation

Green Biz 2020: Key Takeaways from Corporate Sustainability Leaders

Trees, NFF Corporate Partners

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For the first time, National Forest Foundation (NFF) staff joined one of the leading sustainability conferences in the nation. The GreenBiz 2020 conference brought together more than 1,400 leaders in sustainability, including leading American corporations, universities and nonprofit organizations in Scottsdale, Arizona for three days to explore the nexus between business and sustainability.

Forests in Focus

With the increased attention towards reforestation and its promising role in mitigating global climate change, corporate reforestation efforts is at an all-time high. As reforestation becomes a more prominent theme, there are now more options to support reforestation than even before.

However, in tandem with the uptick in popularity, corporate leaders are also more skeptical of reforestation than ever before. We heard from a number of leaders looking for strong administrative oversight, science-based reforestation approaches – components of the NFF’s reforestation campaign that we are proud of. Just planting trees anywhere – or through any means – is not enough. Corporations want to ensure that sustainability investments are sound, targeted, and are in line with advanced reforestation practices.

Transparency, Quality, and Credibility

We spoke with representatives from several leading American companies who recognized that consumers are not only demanding that companies make investments in sustainability through external partnerships, but consumers are demanding highly credible, sound, and transparent investments.

“Flash in the pan” short-lived marketing campaigns are no longer enough to demonstrate leadership in corporate sustainability. Corporate leaders are seeking trusted, credible organizations with demonstrated experience for their partnership journey. From a business perspective, these qualities reduce risk to sustainability investments, ensure wise stewardship of partner funds, and help build trust with consumers.

The high marks the NFF receives on charity watchdog sites such as Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and Better Business Bureau provide assurances that the NFF offers the highest level of credibility and transparency in its reforestation efforts. Learn more about how the NFF is accountable.

Partner for a Public Good

Consumers are increasingly demanding that companies source sustainable materials, reduce energy inputs, and have programs to support recycling, waste reduction, and more. While these efforts are integral to supporting sustainability within that company’s footprint, we spoke with several sustainability directors who lamented that these efforts are not as visible to customers and consumers. With strong internal sustainability programs, many companies are looking beyond the walls of their own operations. Businesses are looking to connect with customers, share a sustainability message, and invest in partnerships that have a positive impact for the public.

Partnerships that support reforestation in private lands, or in far-flung locales are not as resonant as those benefitting the public at large. For reforestation, this means an increased focus on improving U.S. public lands rather than high efficiency reforestation efforts abroad. Numerous sustainability professionals we spoke enjoyed that 100% of the NFF’s reforestation efforts are focused on restoring native forests on our publicly owned U.S. National Forest lands. Learn more about our impact.

Professional Expertise

For a company looking to make its mark in sustainability, alignment with nonprofit partners that have demonstrated experience and leadership. At the NFF, our reforestation efforts are supported by a strong partnership with the most advanced forest management agency in the world – the USDA Forest Service. Through this partnership, 100% of our projects are planted through a rigorous science based approach that has been refined through more than one hundred years of experience.

GreenBiz 20 was a valuable opportunity for the NFF to gain unique insight into the research and trends that are driving corporate sustainability efforts. We look forward to continuing to engage with the GreenBiz network in 2021 and beyond.


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