5 min read

The Better Business Network puts Nature on The Board

We spoke to Hannah Cox from the Better Business Network and Graham Hansen, the Network's first Nature Director.
The Better Business Network puts Nature on The Board
The Better Business Summit 2024, Photo credit: Tom Cox

By Lauren Barnard

Just over a year ago, TLT LLP asked the question: ‘Does Better Business mean Nature sits on the Board?’

Now, with the exciting news that the Better Business Network has put Nature on their Board, it appears we have our answer.

We spoke to Hannah Cox from the Better Business Network and Graham Hansen from Lawbox Design about what inspired them to put Nature on the Board and the steps it took to make this model work for the Network.

The Better Business Summit 2024

At this year's Better Business Summit, which took place 17th - 19th January in Manchester, the Better Business Network announced it had put Nature on the Board. 

In September 2022 Faith In Nature (advised by Lawyers For Nature and the Earth Law Center) became the first company in the world to put Nature on the Board. At the same time, we published this open-source guide to the process. Faith In Nature gave a keynote speech at the Better Business Summit 2023, and it's exciting to see the impact that speech has had in directly inspiring the Better Business Network to put Nature on the Board themselves. 

The Network has truly taken on the spirit of Nature on the Board, giving the 2024 Summit a distinct nature-focus: each panel included a representative for Nature and the final day of the conference was a day spent in Nature. 

Simeon Rose, Brand Director of Faith In Nature, attended the conference and had this to say:

“Not only is Nature now on their board, but Nature also has a representative on every panel at the Summit. Meaning absolutely everyone at the event is exposed to Nature on the Board somehow. Sitting in the audience, watching it all evolve and unfold is a beautiful thing.”

Nature Representative at The Better Business Summit 2024, Photo credit: Tom Cox

This reflects our feelings at Lawyers For Nature, as we look on with pride as the Nature on the Board movement continues to grow and expand. Perhaps in the future all panels will include a representative for Nature?

Putting Nature on the Board

Faith In Nature at The Better Business Summit 2024, Photo credit: Tom Cox

When speaking to Graham and Hannah, we were keen to learn about the specifics of this intervention - how had they adapted the Nature on the Board model established by our work with FIN to fit the unique business needs of the network?

The Network worked with Lawbox Design to craft this intervention. They also chose Graham, a Director at Lawbox Design, as their first Nature Director.

In January we caught up with Graham to discuss the approach he took to this work, the changes made to adapt to the Better Business Network's specific needs and how he feels about taking on the role of Nature Director.

Graham also first heard about Nature on the Board from Faith In Nature at the 2023 Better Business Network Summit. He began the practical work of adapting the model outlined in our open source guide in October 2023 and managed to complete this work in time for the January 2024 Better Business Network Summit. Graham described the adjustments made to the original model we developed with Faith In Nature as “practical steps relevant to fit the model for a small business”. For instance, in addressing the issue of resources available to a Nature Director, the Network has opted to use internal resources to research the effects of decisions on Nature, rather than the Faith In Nature model which includes a budget for research and external guidance.

Graham also acknowledged the importance of this role being developed in-action: “We're expecting to learn a lot rolling out the Nature Director role and are excited about the prospect of how this will evolve over the first few years.” This is something LFN have experienced whilst working with Faith In Nature - FIN's end of year review reflected this theme of learning and growing. It is important to choose the right person for the role of Nature Director in its first iteration - as Graham explained: “I'm here first because of my strengths on the legal and the process end of things… the idea is that hopefully then we can get it [the role of Nature Director] into a decent shape. So then I can hand it over to somebody else to bring a different skill set to the role.” 

This focus on the future and the adaptability of the role is something Lawbox Design are continuing to work on. As Graham framed it:

“There is certainly a sense of personal responsibility because we want this to work and we want this to be a good example of how Nature or other stakeholders can be represented in business. For instance, people who often are not heard in business, but are part of its success or impacted by it.”

We look forward to seeing how Graham and the team at Lawbox Design adapt this model in the future.

Does ‘Better Business’ mean Nature sits on the Board?

This question was first posed by TLT LLP in this article and after seeing this intervention come to life, we felt it was important to ask the Better Business Network team directly. 

Hannah Cox, Director of the Better Business Network was kind enough to answer: “Yes, of course. We live on a planet with finite resources, and the capitalism model does not support that. We need to explore other ways to do business that reflect the impact that we have.”

It is exciting to know that the Better Business Network is committed to this intervention, not only for their own internal business practices but also as something to inspire in their members. The Network is in the process of creating resources to share their experience and encourage members to follow in their footsteps. We look forward to seeing the progress they make and hope to see a ripple effect through the Network's members. 


Are you interested in following in the footsteps of Faith In Nature, House of Hackney, the Better Business Network and others? The LFN team is currently in the process of developing a range of Nature-Positive Corporate Governance initiatives, inspired by the success of Nature on the Board. We are also working with a number of third sector organisations to develop the role of a Nature Director within charities, CICs and more. If you work for a third sector organisation or a traditional company and want to put Nature on your Board, please reach out.

Lauren Barnard is Lawyers For Nature's Operations Assistant. A graduate from the University of Kent's European Legal Studies programme, she is currently working part-time for LFN and living in Madrid.