Bite-size Case Study

Marriott and the Amazon Foundation: an example of strategic sustainability

Published on April 30, 2019 Originally recorded 2016   4 min
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Most people say, nature is priceless! And I'm going to challenge that notion during this presentation. I'm going to say is nature priceless? Could we possibly put price on nature that would actually help us to understand more that nature is priceless. Well, what would that price be? Is it a $142,700. Maybe it's a $142,700,000, or maybe billions, or trillions. In fact, some researchers have said that this is the price that they have put on nature.
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Now, how did they get at this? They actually looked at all the services that nature can possibly give and provided some value to those. If we had to replace them, for example, by the built environment, by human invention or design. To give you some comparison, what is the world GDP as of last year? Take a moment to think about this. Well, the estimate is almost $78 trillion. That gives you some perspective about nature's price, how valuable nature is. That is almost twice what in fact the world GDP is. So let's take a look at this. Let's take a look at nature, let's take a look at nature's price, let's take a look at the services that nature provides and see if we can understand how we can use this idea as a source of competitiveness. So let me give you some examples of where this way of
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thinking has been used. Here's as an example. In Brazil, this is called the Juma project that generally people talk about. It's a REDD project from the UN, which means, basically, what's happening here is there's a carbon credits and the carbon credits are being valued based on, in this case, forestation in Brazil. And as you see here from 2008 to 2050, there's actually some projections, red is bad, in this case, about what's going to happen with deforestation. So the people who live in that area say that deforestation is bad. We don't want it to happen and is there a way that we can in fact contribute to the environments so we can avoid this ultimate outcome in 2050 of enormous amount of deforestation? The Fundação Amazonas got together and they said, "Well, I think we can do something. We can mount some projects, but we need money to do these projects that will in fact sequester the carbon so the carbon doesn't in fact degrade the forests." So in this case, it's a carbon project. It's evaluation of the carbon, and Marriott pay $2 million to the Fundação. Why would Marriott do that? Well, Marriott is concerned about a lot of things. First of all, it has hotels in that area and it counts on the tourism, and it realizes that if it is a deforested area, that it's going to be in trouble. In other words, people aren't going to go there. There's not going to be in a vibrant economy. The tourism is going to fall off. The other thing is also they're worried about their image. So this is kind of like their brand image. They want to be seen as the environmental-responsible agent in the hotel business. So they gave $2 million and then the Fundação mounted projects to actually avoid some of this deforestation. But the interesting part about this, from our point of view, is that there had to be some basis by which that $2 million would pay and what it was, was in terms of carbon, tons of carbons. There was a price on that and they said, "If you give us this, we think we can actually avoid the negative effects of carbon and the causes of deforestation."
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Marriott and the Amazon Foundation: an example of strategic sustainability

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