Introducing the Net Positive concept
Net Positive is a new way of doing business which puts back more into society, the environment and the global economy than it takes out.
Organisations that take a Net Positive approach share an ambition to grow their brand, have strong financial performance and attract the brightest talent. Spread across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, they recognise that business is a marathon, not a sprint, along new routes that are still emerging. The destination for each is the same: to become thriving organisations that deliver benefits that extend far beyond traditional organisational boundaries.
Becoming Net Positive requires organisations to be ambitious and plan for long-term success. They have to go beyond risk avoidance and incremental improvements and start to innovate.
The Net Positive Project
The Net Positive Project opens its arms to all organisations committed to becoming Net Positive. It is made up of several of the founder NPG members (please see below), as well as a breadth of other businesses, NGOs and academics, including BSR and Gregory A. Norris, co-director of SHINE.
At its launch on 7 June 2016 at Sustainable Brands San Diego, the Net Positive Project set out a five-year vision of what a successful Net Positive movement will look like, and fleshed out a road map for how we will get there.
The project aims to establish itself as the global authority on Net Positive, making it a standard way for companies to quantify, assess and enhance their positive impacts. The project will have an ongoing responsibility for developing resources, such as best practice, guidance and tools, aligning Net Positive with other parallel movements such as Circular Economy, strengthening the theory and driving awareness and engagement.
The first publically available resource is a set of four guiding principles, unveiled in October 2017. The principles define the Net Positive ambition and aim to assist companies in devising strategies that go beyond conventional business approaches to sustainability.
Other work in progress includes a detailed methodology to support the scoping out and measurement of Net Positive outcomes, and a standardised method for developing case studies, both of which are expected to be launched in 2018.
Whether your organisation has already made a Net Positive commitment or is thinking of doing so, we want to hear from you. Please get in touch with Ben Kellard at email@example.com to tell us about your Net Positive journey and discuss ways of getting involved with the project.
How we got here
In 2013, Forum for the Future worked with The Climate Group and WWF to convene the Net Positive Group (NPG) - a collaboration of different organisations united by their aim to have a positive impact and a commitment to increasing the number of companies making these ambitious pledges.
Members of the NPG included BT, Capgemini, Dell, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, Ikea, Kingfisher, Pepsico, SKF, The Crown Estate and TUI Group. Within a collaborative, creative and trusted setting, they worked together to share knowledge and experiences to develop a mutual understanding of the Net Positive concept.
Within a year of inception, the group laid out 12 principles that characterise the Net Positive approach, tying together all of the areas in which organisations should act.
The NPG also developed a Net Positive measurement framework to enable outcomes to be measured accurately and consistently, and provided guidance on how to communicate an organisation’s approach in a clear and compelling way.
The NPG was a strong affirmation of the wide interest in the concept, and of the vast potential of creating a movement to transform the way business operates in today’s social, economic and environmental context.
Find out more
For more information please visit The Net Positive Project website.
The following reports have been developed to help organisations that are thinking about making a Net Positive commitment and are free to download:
- Net Positive: A new way of doing business – 12 principles that can be used as a checklist for good practice;
- Measuring your way to Net Positive – intended as a guide to helping you to put the right measures in place;
- Communicating Net Positive – this guide will help you to tell your story in a clear and compelling way.
- Net Positive: how a new frame on sustainability can drive the outcomes we need, by Sandra Seru
- Eight steps to make the idea of 'net positive' more than simply jargon, by Sally Uren
- Net positive - the next step for sustainability pioneers, by Sally Uren
- Over the overdraft, by Zoe Le Grand
- The many benefits of being net positive, by Zoe Le Grand
- Net Positive- Revolution not Evolution, by Helen Clarkson
- Telling your Net Positive story: 7 principles for demonstrating your company's positive impact, by Zoe Le Grand