Leadership
Business for Nature:
Our Economy, Wellbeing Depend on Restoring Biodiversity

Today, at the Trondheim Biodiversity Conference in Norway, a diverse group of influential international organizations launched a global coalition to elevate a business call for comprehensive action to reverse nature loss and restore the planet’s vital natural systems.

There is mounting evidence that the health of the planet is declining at rates never before seen in human history. This destruction of nature undermines human health and well-being, societal resilience, and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It places severe costs on businesses and economies, and makes addressing other global challenges, such as climate change and social inequalities, significantly more difficult.

A few short months after a group of conservation scientists, NGOs and indigenous leaders urged governments to adopt a “Global Deal for Nature”, to tackle the interlinked crises of biodiversity loss and climate change; and weeks after the launch of the “Glowing, Glowing, Gone” campaign highlighting the global danger signaled by fluorescing coral reefs, the new coalition — called Business for Nature — says it will convene a united business voice at international negotiations to clearly demonstrate that the protection of nature is an economic as well as a moral imperative; and to call on governments to adopt an ambitious new deal for nature and people, to protect and enhance the natural world, supported by specific sets of actions.

2020 marks a critical opportunity to halt the deterioration of the natural world, the decline of life on Earth, and the loss of the natural capital and ecosystem services that underpin human wellbeing and the global economy. During this year, world leaders have an opportunity to forge international agreements to reverse nature loss, similar to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

In order to encourage governments to embrace this crucial set of policies, the business community has a critical role to play in demonstrating that the safeguarding of nature makes economic sense, and in identifying the policies and mechanisms needed for global systemic and transformative change in the private sector. To secure the buy-in of the business community, and to foster a sense of shared ownership over the agreements and outcomes, the private sector must be included from the outset in the development of these agreements.

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“World leaders have a unique opportunity to forge an international agreement to reverse nature loss and increase collective action,” said Justin Adams, Executive Director of Tropical Forest Alliance at World Economic Forum. “Working together — as a coalition of parties who care about sustainable production, livelihoods and nature — is the only way we can deliver more transformative change.”

In a statement, the group points out that in order to halt the loss of the natural world, we must ensure that a clear understanding of the relationship between nature, people and economies is integrated into all economic sectors, and at all levels of decision making. For instance, combating climate change cannot be achieved without addressing our impacts and dependencies on nature.

Forward-thinking businesses have already acknowledged that, and begun to quantify just how much, they depend on the health of the natural world to ensure the success of their operations, and that business as usual is therefore no longer an option if they wish to remain successful into the medium to long term.

Business for Nature will demonstrate the existing scale of business actions to protect and enhance nature by uniting, amplifying and helping to scale existing business commitment platforms, by driving the global narrative around the economic importance of a thriving natural world and by showcasing business solutions that translate commitments into actions for meaningful impact. The coalition partners include: World Business Council for Sustainable Development, We Mean Business, the World Economic Forum, WWF, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Natural Capital Coalition, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Entreprises pour l’Environnement, the World Resources Institute, the Confederation of Indian Industry, The Nature Conservancy, the Food and Land Use Coalition and the Tropical Forest Alliance.

“I am excited to see the Business for Nature coalition bringing business leaders together to act and advocate for nature. Our entire economy is a subsidiary of nature. Business needs to come together now, as we did for the Paris Climate Summit, to ensure that we collectively protect that which makes our very existence possible.” Paul Polman, Imagine and ICC Chair.

This announcement comes after ongoing discussions with business representatives that have been welcoming Business for Nature as an opportunity to bring some simplicity in the many but disconnected business platforms to demonstrate that all these efforts add up to a bigger movement.

“We all depend on nature, and yet traditional economic incentives and pervasive short-term thinking are contributing to its destruction, not its regeneration. We want to change this,” said Thomas Lingard, Global Climate & Environment Director at Unilever. “The launch of the Business for Nature coalition creates an opportunity for businesses to work together to demonstrate how protecting nature is at the heart of building truly sustainable economies and livelihoods for millions of people around the world.”

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