Sustainability within planetary boundaries requires concerted action by individuals, governments, civil society and private actors. For the private sector, there is concern that the power exercised by transnational corporations generates, and is even central to, global environmental change. Here, we ask under which conditions transnational corporations could either hinder or promote a global shift towards sustainability. We show that a handful of transnational corporations have become a major force shaping the global intertwined system of people and planet. Transnational corporations in agriculture, forestry, seafood, cement, minerals and fossil energy cause environmental impacts and possess the ability to influence critical functions of the biosphere. We review evidence of current practices and identify six observed features of change towards ‘corporate biosphere stewardship’, with significant potential for upscaling. Actions by transnational corporations, if combined with effective public policies and improved governmental regulations, could substantially accelerate sustainability efforts.
Research news | 2020-11-24
While hurdles remain, the region can build on the shared history of collaboration to tackle food system challenges together, new insight papers show
Research news | 2020-11-19
Stephan Barthel, Oonsie Biggs, Örjan Bodin, Thomas Elmqvist, Carl Folke, Per Olsson, Garry Peterson and Johan Rockström on exclusive list of world’s most influential researchers
Research news | 2020-11-18
Four ways to understand the complexity of global environmental change sufficiently well to take policy action
Research news | 2020-11-16
On the island of Stora Karlsö, the steel built lab gives researchers access to observe the largest seabird colony in the Baltic Sea
Research news | 2020-11-13
The clothing industry is dominated by a clutch of powerful companies, but interest groups around them are crucial in efforts to make it more sustainable
Research news | 2020-11-12
The pandemic is hitting the seafood industry hard. How can past crises help it survive this one?