The Nature of Business – A Conservation Conference Session Recap

On the first day of the Conservation Conference last November, Sue Kelsey of General Motors (GM), Kristen LeForce of DTE Energy and Sita Daavettila of Summit Materials convened a session to discuss the importance of conservation programs in developing a new or enhancing an existing corporate sustainability strategy.

Sue Kelsey, Global Biodiversity Program Manager, GM, kicked off the Nature of Business: Linking Habitat to Corporate Sustainability Plans session by demonstrating how GM’s engagement with WHC Conservation Certification enriched GM’s sustainability strategy. In particular, GM has committed to achieving Conservation Certification at all of its manufacturing facilities by 2020. During her presentation, Sue showcased many of these facilities, describing how she worked with WHC strategy and planning staff to provide toolkits and specialized remote or on-site guidance to help initiate conservation programs and achieve certification. With programs at 49 of its manufacturing facilities (and an additional 13 non-manufacturing sites) around the world WHC-certified as of November 2016, GM is already more than halfway to its goal.

Kristen LeForce, Wildlife Habitat Coordinator, DTE Energy, discussed how conservation activities can even be a gateway for initiating a sustainability strategy. For DTE, that means incorporating conservation into the planning process for operational activities. This helped to create a culture of sustainability and ensures funding for these activities is allocated during the planning process, rather than after budgets have been finalized. This successful strategy, along with Conservation Certification metrics, has been detailed in its Corporate Citizenship Report.

Finally, Sita Daavettila, Social and Sustainability Coordinator, Summit Materials, conferred the importance of gaining support from company leadership to make substantial change. In addition, Sita reinforced the power of stories, and how themes or alignments among projects can be used to tell a broader story to leadership or stakeholders. In fact, Summit Materials uses its website to feature the stories of some of its accomplishments, including programs that have achieved Conservation Certification.

To learn more about the programs at GM, DTE and Summit, and how you can integrate conservation activities into your company’s CSR or sustainability strategy, contact the WHC Strategy and Planning team.

Read more WHC blogs.

Skip to content