Nature and Biodiversity

Why the fight against nature loss should be a business priority

An aerial view shows a deforested plot of the Amazon near Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, September 17, 2019.

'The business community has to demonstrate that safeguarding nature makes economic sense' Image: REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

Eva Zabey
CEO, Business for Nature
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SDG 13: Climate Action

Nature is essential to both global economic prosperity and individual business success. We cannot have a sustainable future for people and economies if we do not address nature, climate and people in an integrated way.

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Many businesses understand the value of nature and are voluntarily shifting their practices towards sustainability and longer-term thinking. In order to really scale and speed up, regulatory and financial systems need to reward companies for their performance beyond financial returns – across environmental, social and governance issues.

There were positive signs at the recent summit of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), where Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said: “Research from the Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative ... concludes that non-disclosure is a bigger liability risk than disclosure. That is just one reason why jurisdictions like the UK and EU have signalled their intentions to make TCFD disclosure mandatory.” We should expect nature loss to be next on the list, hand-in-hand with inequality.

Chart showing number of threatened species since 2006
The rising threat to species

In 2020, world leaders have a unique opportunity to forge international agreements to reverse nature loss as they did for climate change in 2015. Business voices and action helped shape the Paris Agreement by demonstrating that fighting climate change is both good for the planet and an economic imperative. To achieve the same in 2020 for loss of nature, the business community has to demonstrate with a coherent voice that safeguarding nature makes economic sense. This will encourage governments to embrace a set of policies that can drive global systemic and transformative change.

The crucial policy recommendations that will drive this change and which businesses must unite behind and call on governments to incorporate are:

Publicly support the adoption of an emergency declaration for nature and people to be signed by heads of state and government in September 2020. This will recognize the planetary emergency, commit governments to reversing nature loss and assert that it is no longer acceptable to run our economies in ways that destroy nature and the livelihoods of people.

Agree ambitious targets based on existing science to halt the loss of nature by 2030 for the benefit of people and their livelihoods, ensuring that:

- Natural areas are protected, restored and connected;

- Productive systems and landscapes are managed using science-based targets which enhance nature and secure livelihoods;

- Man-made environments are re-diversified and re-natured.

Support the transformation of economic and financial systems by adopting coherent incentive mechanisms and regulations that value nature.

Sign-up to the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for Climate manifesto to commit to unlocking the full potential of nature in the climate fight by scaling and mainstreaming NBS, including in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), unlocking finance and enhancing cooperation.

Coherently integrate and harmonize the decisions made under critical UN conventions by recognizing the interrelations and dependencies of the development, climate and nature agendas.

Provide a mandate to the UN to ensure continued ambition for the environmental-related SDG targets with a current end date of 2020.

Graphic highlighting rate of extinctions of plants and animals
Extinctions of plant and animal species are much higher than they should be

We encourage all businesses to make commitments and implement solutions to sustainably manage, conserve and restore nature. Business for Nature has launched a business consultation survey to test, improve and ground our current suggestions in real businesses around the world, from all sectors and of all sizes. Taking action will give businesses credibility when they ask governments to change and implement policy on this issue.

Financial performance is irrelevant on a dead planet. Let’s incorporate nature into the heart of mainstream business, finance and government decision-making.

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Related topics:
Nature and BiodiversityClimate Action
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