We are all dependent on the common goods provided by nature – such as clean air and water, fertile soils, pollination and favourable climatic conditions. Yet to date, the value of biodiversity and these “ecosystem services” has been largely unacknowledged by companies and their investors. This is despite the fact that ecosystem collapse poses systemic risks to the global economy and society as a whole.
Biodiversity is now a stewardship priority. This paper highlights the value of biodiversity and makes the business case for its protection and restoration. It outlines our expectations of sectors with high biodiversity impacts and dependencies, which include consumer goods and retail, agrochemicals, mining and materials, oil and gas, utilities, real estate and construction, and finance.
We encourage companies to commit to having a net-positive impact on biodiversity throughout their operations and supply chains. The mechanisms to achieve this goal will vary by company and sector, but strategies may include ensuring that there is no deforestation in their value chains, supporting farmers in transitioning to regenerative agriculture, and investing in nature-based solutions to address the dual challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Reducing the corporate pressures on biodiversity, such as land-use change, climate change and pollution, will be critical. Equally, innovation across operations, supply chains and products will be necessary to deliver the ambitious goal of having a net-positive impact on biodiversity at the organisational level. This goal should be accompanied by strong governance, effective measurement, an impactful strategy and regular disclosure.
The global pandemic has once again emphasised the fragility of our relationship with nature. With global biodiversity goals expected to be agreed at the UN’s biodiversity COP 15 in 2021, it is critical that national and corporate Covid-19 recovery plans make provisions for biodiversity protection and restoration around the world.