Today’s Solutions: March 03, 2024

In a significant move towards sustainability, House of Hackney recently appointed a ‘nature guardian’, marking a pivotal step in integrating nature’s voice into corporate decision-making. Frieda Gormley, co-founder of the London-based interiors firm, regarded this as a natural evolution for a brand with a strong connection to nature.

Nature’s seat at the table

Gormley emphasizes the role of the nature guardian, stating, “If we choose not to take their advice, we’re actually bound to give a reason publicly as to why we haven’t. This is very much about accountability.” This project is inspired by the eco-beauty company Faith In Nature, which was a pioneer in designating a nature guardian.

“Having a presence there speaking for nature is huge,” says Simeon Rose, creative director of Faith In Nature. “You know that nature is there, not necessarily judging you, but getting you to raise your game.”

Nature’s voice amplified

Brontie Ansell, senior lecturer in law at Essex Law School, director of Lawyers for Nature, and the first Faith In Nature nature guardian views her position as demanding. Initially monitoring debates, she gradually voices and votes in favor of nature, resulting in an empowering shift in board dynamics.

Rose underscores the subtle transformation: “By knowing that there is ultimately going to be this lens at the end, where nature’s asked its view, you find that it starts trickling in much earlier in the decision-making process.”

Taking on a greater mission

This strategy is consistent with a broader trend in which businesses reframe their organizational missions beyond financial profit. In the United Kingdom, the Better Business Act campaign aims to match business goals with societal and environmental benefits.

Faith In Nature’s idea has acquired popularity, prompting several requests from diverse sectors looking to emulate it. Rose goes on to say, “All organizations that have governance models can apply it in their own way.”

Tangible outcomes

The impact is already obvious for Gormley, as the firm recently denied a lucrative collaboration that did not satisfy their environmental criteria, demonstrating their dedication to nature’s principles.

Ansell, who also represents nature in the House of Hackney, recognizes the honor of being the initiative’s pioneer: “Like anything pioneering, you never really know if it’s going to fall into the long grass, but the reality is it’s absolutely got a life of its own.”

A paradigm shift

What once required explanation has now become an accepted habit in just a year. “A year ago, we were having to explain the mechanics of this,” Rose says, “but already we’re in a phase where this isn’t weird anymore.”

The inclusion of a nature guardian in corporate structures is a significant step toward a more sustainable and conscious approach to business, underlining that every action influences more than just the bottom line, but also on the world around us.

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