As governments and businesses look to rebuilding the global economy post-pandemic, a new study from the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that ‘nature-positive’ solutions can create 395 million jobs by 2030.
The Future of Nature and Business provides blueprints for companies to tap into a $10.1 trillion business opportunity by adding value to nature.
The report cites existing examples in which business outcomes have been improved by nature-positive outcomes:
Smart farming utilizing sensors and satellite imagery in Indonesia has improved average crop yields by 60 percent.
After the Milan World Expo 2015, which covered 100 hectares, the land was repurposed and transformed into the European Innovation Hub – a scientific hub and community-oriented neighborhood that includes smart, nature-positive infrastructure and has created roughly 1,000 jobs
In Viet Nam, coastal communities saw their incomes more than double from aquaculture products such as shells and oysters, following the restoration of critical mangroves.
The report sets out how 15 transitions across three systems — food, land and ocean use; infrastructure and the built environment; and energy and extractives — illustrate the potential for nature-positive transitions to generate up to US$10.1 trillion in annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030. Here are just a few examples:
Diversifying diets: Some 75 percent of the world’s food comes from 12 plant and five animal species. A shift to more plant-based diets, with a broader range of vegetables and fruits, can create $310 billion in business opportunities annually by 2030.
Circular solutions: Scaling circular models for the use of items such as textiles and auto parts can save millions of tons of waste annually and keep those materials in use much longer. For example, $500 billion is lost every year as a result of discarded clothing. Reusing, refurbishing and recycling clothes could lead to $130 billion in savings and prevent 148 million tonnes of textile waste by 2030. And some $870 billion can be saved by refurbishing and reusing some auto parts by 2030.
Smart infrastructure: Large-scale creation of smart buildings and use of smart sensors could save roughly $940 billion by 2030.
Renewables: Opportunities of $650 billion, ROI of over 10 percent and millions of new jobs are expected from the renewable energy sector by 2030. Solar energy without subsidies matched fossil fuel costs in over 30 countries and were projected to be cheaper than coal in China and India by 2021.
A companion report aims to help policymakers see nature as a form of capital; and, if properly managed, the basis of society’s long-term well-being, resilience and prosperity.
The WEF report informs the working priorities of the Champions for Nature — a community of business leaders laying the groundwork for a nature-positive global economy; as well as a Policy Companion report which sets out how governments can ensure nature is integrated into economies as part of a Great Reset post-COVID.
WEF’s roadmap jibes well with the C40 Mayors’ Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery and Joe Biden’s $2T climate plan, both also released this week; as well as bold new strategies from companies including Dole, Nestlé and Procter & Gamble that generate business value by prioritizing the health of nature and the communities that they serve.