Published on December 01, 2022
Across the Channel, cosmetics company Faith in nature has just appointed a director to represent nature on its board of directors. The role is assumed by a pair of two associations for the defense of the rights of nature, Avvocati per la Natura and the Earth Law Center. The goal is to take nature into account in all strategic decisions in order to minimize the negative impacts of activities. A pilot project is launched in France.
This is a completely new approach. British cosmetics firm Faith in Nature has just appointed a director to represent nature on its board, as a non-executive director. For this, she turned to two associations, Lawyers for Nature and the Earth Law Center. “To take its approach further, the firm asked what nature would say if it could speak, based on the principle that nature is boss,” explains Alexandra Pimor, director of academic development at the Earth Law Center.
She was rightfully appointed to bring nature’s voice to the board. A role she shares with a colleague at Lawyers for Nature, supported by a community of experts. “For the moment I have participated in three councils. We are in an observation phase, we discuss a lot with the members and we do research to determine the environmental impacts of this or that project to give an opinion. We will see in the long term what can change, but already , it is the corporate culture that has been transformed, because in all decisions we ask ourselves the question of what nature would say is completely new,” says Alexandra Pimor.
A pilot project launched in France
The company, a pioneer in the matter, had to amend its articles of association to clarify that in addition to benefiting shareholders, the company will do its utmost to “have a positive impact on nature as a whole” and “minimize the prospect of any impact of its business activities on nature”. “Giving nature a vote and a voice within a corporate structure means recognizing the rights of nature and taking a big step towards rebalancing the relationship between business and the natural world. But it only becomes truly powerful when many, many companies follow suit,” said Simeon Rose, creative director of Faith in Nature.
In order for this approach to be replicated, the Earth Law Center has joined forces with Notre Affaire à Tous in France, the NGO behind the Case of the Century, to launch a volunteer appeal and launch a pilot project. in France. “We are in discussions with one company in particular,” says Marine Yzquierdo, a lawyer and advocacy manager at Notre Affaire à Tous. For her, this approach can bring out “a new form of governance that takes into account the other values of nature, and not just the instrumental market values attributed by the law of the market”.
For several years, recognition of the rights of nature has been progressing. Recently a natural ecosystem was granted legal personality status for the first time. This is the Mar Menor, a lagoon located in southeast Spain. Globally, other emblematic ecosystems have been given legal personality such as Te Urewera National Park in New Zealand or the Yarra River in Australia. In India, the Ganges and its tributary, the Yamuna, were also officially given their own legal personality. In France, the most successful initiative is the declaration of the rights of the Tavignanu river in Corsica, supported by a motion adopted by Bastia and the Corsican community.
Concepcion Alvarez @conce1