Global Agenda Council on Biodiversity & Natural Capital 2012-2014

 

The challenge

Pressure on the Earth’s ecosystems and the remaining natural capital stock is significant. A few figures point to losses: an estimated 35% of mangroves, 20% of coral reef areas and 80% of planetary forest cover have disappeared.

“The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) estimates that the costsfor losses in biodiversity are around US$ 4.7 trillion per year – quantified in terms ofthe environmental and social costs of lost ecosystem services and pollution.”

Deforestation, climate change, population growth and industrial development continue to affect the remaining natural capital base. Declining natural capital influences human development and opportunities. This impact is visible today and expected to become more severe as pressure increases.

What the Council is doing about it

The Global Agenda Council on Biodiversity & Natural Capital has identified the disconnection between natural capital and the economy as one of the biggest challenges to address. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) estimates that the costs for losses in biodiversity are around US$ 4.7 trillion per year – quantified in terms of the environmental and social costs of lost ecosystem services and pollution. For industry, the primary production sector runs losses in “unpriced” natural capital costs of US$ 7.3 trillion, about 13% of global economic output, according to TEEB. Globally, damage to forests and other aspects of nature could halve living standards for the world’s poor and reduce world GDP by about 7% by 2050, it says.

To bridge the current disconnect, the Council’s work has started by synthesizing expertise from Members incompelling business cases highlighting the significant links between natural capital and industry operations along the value chain. The next step is to validate and refine the arguments with key industry leaders that have been identified as “game changers” in terms of their impact on driving land use change. Members aspire to spur a long-term oriented and rational use of natural capital by industry and host governments.

Beyond the realm of the Council, collaboration opportunities will be prioritized with influential external networks such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Consumer Goods Platform and TEEB for Business coalition. The Council is also seeking input from other Global Agenda Councils linked to the finance and consumer industries in preparation for the Summit on the Global Agenda 2014.

To get involved please contact

Research Analyst: Daniel Akinmade Emejulu, Global Agenda Councils, Daniel.Emejulu@weforum.org 
Council Manager: Lieske van Santen, Associate Director, Environment Initiatives, lieske.vansanten@weforum.org 
Forum Lead: Dominic Waughray, Senior Director, Head, Environmental Initiatives, dominic.waughray@weforum.org