Image courtesy of Flickr user seamusiv.

Unilever provides a good example of partnering for green action. At one time, the company produced a brand of packaged frozen fish, but because overfishing had led to a serious decline of its fishing stock in the 1990s, it feared for the future of its fishing business. In response, Unilever worked with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to create the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which established what has become the leading global standard for certifying wild-capture fisheries. To be certified to the MSC standard, fisheries must prove that they do not overfish their stocks, that their fishing practices do not damage the marine ecosystem, and that they have strong management systems in place to ensure compliance.

Initially a WWF project that was jointly funded by Unilever, the MSC became a completely independent nonprofit in 1999. Today the organization certifies 7 percent of the world’s edible wild-caught fish. Many other companies including Metro, Whole Good Markets, Sainsbury’s, and Wal-Mart, have started sourcing from MSC-certified fisheries.