three people working together to plant a tree
Tree planting in Louisville One of our greatest strengths as an organization is our ability to work in partnership with diverse actors. © Devan King/TNC

Policy and Practice

Principles for Corporate Engagement

Our corporate engagement work is guided by these principles.

Conservation Benefits First

The proposed engagement must advance a Nature United or TNC Global priority and have a defined, tangible conservation benefit that includes places of major conservation value, or a strategy that significantly increases public awareness of conservation, or funding for conservation, or anticipates influencing changes in corporate practices, that will result in increased benefits to conservation with measurable results within three years.

No Endorsement

Nature United’s relationship with a corporation is in no way an implied or real endorsement of a corporation or industry. All public communications regarding corporate engagements are subject to prior agreement by Nature United and the corporation. No third partyentity, including a business, may use Nature United or TNC’s name and/or trademarks without explicit written permission.

No Undue Benefit

The engagement must not result in private benefit to a corporation—whether a financial benefit or publicity—that exceeds the benefits received by Nature United and its mission. The level of promotion should be appropriate to the type of engagement. All promotion will follow Nature United Guidelines for Developing Communication Materials With/About Indigenous Partners.

Aligns with Mission and Values

The engagement must be consistent with Nature United’s Mission and Values, and should respect the sensitivities of Nature United’s members, donors, conservation partners and communities in which it works. Examples of potential compromise include a conflict of interest or an implication that the relationship will influence Nature United’s science or priorities.

One Conservancy

The engagement’s conservation benefit must outweigh risk or potential damage to all Operating Units throughout TNC.

Transparent and Independent Role of Nature United

Nature United must always be publicly transparent about its role in and the use of analysesand data that may be produced as a result of a corporate engagement, including complying with the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Standards for Charity Accountability, when applicable. At Nature United’s discretion, peer organizations, governments, the academic community, and other interested parties may be consulted about the conservation work.

The engagement must always be on the following terms:

  • Nature United and the corporation agree that the primary analysis or work product is not proprietary to the corporation or association, will be freely offered to interested governmental agencies (i.e., Crown and Indigenous governments), other companies and stakeholders, and may be published in peer-reviewed scientific literature or other print media; and
  • Nature United will seek input on its analysis as appropriate from Indigenous communities, regulatory agencies and other key stakeholders; and
  • If Nature United’s work is part of a regulatory process Nature United’s science will be incorporated without editorial or substantive changes into the appropriate public record for review by other stakeholders; and
  • Nature United retains the option to publicly comment on the merits of any corporation’s activities, development proposals or other matters that affect our conservation priorities; and
  • Nature United will disclose the identities of companies with whom it engages and the nature and purpose of its corporate engagements; and
  • Nature United will share general knowledge and expertise gained in corporate engagementsto promote better conservation business practices and public policies at sectoral, national, and international levels.

Commitment by the Corporation to Conservation and Environmental Sustainability

The company must demonstrate a commitment to advancing conservation and environmental objectives of significant, lasting, and measurable scope. The company must have policies or practices to address its significant environmental impacts or intend to develop these through or during its engagement with Nature United. The corporation must report transparently on its progress in implementing these policies and practices. Nature United will engage only when satisfied with the company’s level of commitment and performance, as determined by due diligence.

Commitment by the Corporation to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples

An underpinning of Nature United’s work with Indigenous Peoples is to “Be a Respectful Partner." In order to do this, we are committed to taking responsibility at an individual, team and organizational level to build our knowledge and capacity to bea respectful partner that Indigenous communities see value in working with. We expect a similar demonstrable commitment and associated action by the corporations that we work with, as evidenced by policies, plans,internal resources, and business practicesrelated to respecting Indigenous Peoples.

Corporate Reputation, Policies and Practices Not a Material Risk to Nature United and TNC

The corporation’s reputation, policies, and practices must notpresent a material risk to Nature United’s reputation or ability to achieve any of its conservation objectives that is greater than the achievable conservation benefits of the engagement. These risks include environmental risks; human rights violations orsimilar abuses by the corporation; issues in working with Indigenous Peoples and local communities; prosecution of the corporation for illegalities; regulatory compliance failures in places or countries where Nature United or TNC works; or a highly-publicized controversy related to the corporation.

Nature United Right to Terminate

Nature United will continuously evaluate the conservation impact, the impact on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and real and perceived risks of its work with corporations, and may discontinue concrete corporate engagements if the impacts achieved are not satisfactory. Nature United must retain its unilateral right to terminate a corporate engagement for reasons relating to actual or potential reputational harm or legal compliance, breach of an agreement, and misuse of Nature United’s intellectual property including Nature United’s name.

Acceptance of Funds

In conjunction with any corporate engagement, Nature United may accept funds from a corporation to support the development of a particular project or work product when:

  • It does not compromise, or appear to compromise, Nature United’s independence, objectivity and science, and
  • It does not conflict with an existing engagement with the corporation
  • It does not compromise, or appear to compromise, the rights of Indigenous Peoples