Geneva, Switzerland, 15 July 2020 – The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented job losses and economic uncertainty. As governments and businesses look to stimulate growth, a new study from the World Economic Forum found that ‘nature-positive’ solutions can create 395 million jobs by 2030.
The Future of Nature and Business Report provides blueprints for businesses to tap into a $10.1 trillion business opportunity, focusing on industry actions that are nature-positive, meaning that they add value to nature.
The report is built on real world examples where business outcomes have been improved by nature-positive outcomes. Smart farming utilizing sensors and satellite imagery in Indonesia improved crop yields on average by 60%. Suzhou Industrial Park’s green development in China has seen its GDP increase 260-fold partially through green development. In Viet Nam, people living in coastal communities saw their incomes more than double following the restoration of critical mangroves.
“We can address the looming bio-diversity crisis and reset the economy in a way that creates and protects millions of jobs,” said Akanksha Khatri, Head of the Nature Action Agenda, World Economic Forum. “Public calls are getting louder for businesses and government to do better. We can protect our food supplies, make better use of our infrastructure and tap into new energy sources by transitioning to nature-positive solutions.”
The report, written in collaboration with AlphaBeta, segments actions into the following three areas or socio-economic systems where change can be scaled.
Food, land and ocean use: What we eat and grow makes up around $10 trillion of global GDP and employs up to 40% of the global workforce. Nature-positive solutions can create 191 million new jobs and $3.6 trillion of additional revenue or cost savings by 2030. Here are some examples:
Infrastructure and the built-environment: About 40% of global GDP comes from the environment we build – office buildings, homes and transport. Nature-positive solutions can create 117 million new jobs and $3 trillion in additional revenue or cost savings by 2030. Here are some examples:
Energy and extractives: The energy we produce and what we extract accounts for almost a quarter of global GDP and 16% of global employment. With energy demand growing, there is an opportunity to create 87 million jobs and $3.5 trillion in business opportunities by 2030. Here are some examples:
Guide for Finance Ministers
A policy companion outlines how governments can complement and enable businesses to act. Finance ministers can combine six cross-cutting policy measures to put the right incentives in place as part of stimulus packages and create jobs without destroying nature. They include better measurement of economic performance beyond GDP, incentives for innovation, improved spatial planning and management of marine and terrestrial assets, the removal of subsidies that endanger long-term job stability, investment in reskilling, and increased financial support for natural solutions.
This companion report, written in collaboration with SYSTEMIQ is intended to help decision makers see nature as a form of capital and, if properly managed, the basis of society’s long-term well-being, resilience and prosperity.
Quotes from Partners
“We must use the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reset humanity’s relationship with nature. Investing in biodiversity and the environment offers the chance of building better economies and our resilience as a species,” said Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica. “Costa Rica has shown that the transition to a carbon-neutral, nature-positive economy brings greater prosperity, jobs and new developments. It’s time to mainstream this model.”
“As we enter into a historic decade of action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and address climate change, business has a critical role to play in environmental stewardship of our planet,” said Inger Andersen, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. “They have the technology, innovation and financing to make the shifts we need towards increased investment in nature’s infrastructure and nature-based solutions.”
“Biodiversity threats are increasingly becoming a core concern to businesses across every sector of the economy and so-called ‘business-as-usual’ is not an option,” said Fraser Thompson, Managing Director of AlphaBeta. “The good news is that this report demonstrates there is a pathway for business that can not only strengthen the resilience of operations but create major new growth opportunities.”
“Whilst there is still uncertainty in how COVID-19 will unfold, we must recognize this as an opportunity to accelerate efforts to put nature at the centre of all decision-making,” said Alan Jope, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever. “There will be no jobs or prosperity on a dead planet!”
“Nature is critical to creating jobs, as well as supporting public health and resilience,” said Jeremy Oppenheim, Founder and Senior Partner, SYSTEMIQ. “As finance ministers look to stimulate their economies amid the fragility exposed by COVID-19, they must seize the moment to integrate nature into fiscal policy; both supporting businesses to invest in nature-positive opportunities and making sure that we protect nature through the recovery.”
Notes to editors
Read the full report and explore more about the Forum’s Nature Action Agenda
Read the Policy Companion report
Explore the Forum’s Strategic Intelligence Platform and Transformation Map on Climate Change
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