One Planet Approaches: Methodology Mapping and Pathways Forward (2017)

One Planet Approaches consist of a family of tools, methodologies, frameworks, programs, and action plans, which recognize the need to measure and reduce human impact in relation to the absolute boundaries of the Earth system.

Primary Functions

  • Develop an understanding of One Planet Approaches (OPAs) and how companies can bring them into practice to mitigate impacts on the environment.

Detailed Description


Planetary changes such as rising global temperatures and persisting downward trends in biodiversity show that humanity is placing increasing pressure on the natural resources and the resilience of our planet. The research around planetary boundaries by Rockström and Steffen et al. reveals that on a global level, the boundaries for biodiversity, phosphorus and nitrogen flow have already been breached; whereas those for land system change and climate are at risk of irreversible and abrupt environmental change. The world community has acknowledged the need for action and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to address these issues.

There is a strong business case to invest in pathways that are compatible with the limits of our planet. Many companies have developed approaches and strategies to measure and value their impact, define environmental objectives and improve sustainability practices. They include, for example, accounting initiatives such as the Science Based Target initiative (SBT), the Natural Capital Protocol (NCP), and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), as well as certification programs for responsible production, such as the Roundtables on Responsible Soy or on Sustainable Palm Oil (RTRS, RSPO) and the Forest and Marine Stewardship Councils (FSC, MSC). These initiatives are all important elements on the path towards more sustainable business models.

Nevertheless, maintaining the habitability and resilience of this planet for future generations requires the need to address the most relevant issues and set targets at sufficient ambition levels. In order to find solutions to these questions, WWF has started the One Planet Thinking initiative based on the planetary boundaries concept. It seeks to unite a broad alliance of partners from business, science, civil society, and governments under the common vision of a world where humanity lives thrives within the planetary boundaries. The initiative aims to support companies throughout the economy to seize business opportunities while staying within the planetary boundaries by developing methodologies and approaches for setting targets and measuring progress.

This report maps and analyzes many existing One Planet Approaches. It acknowledges what is already available and identifies scientific gaps and necessary pathways for further development.


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Topics & SDGs

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WWF Mitigation