Aerial view of TNC’s oyster reef restoration work along Jeremy Island in South Carolina.
Oyster reef restoration Aerial view of TNC’s oyster reef restoration work along Jeremy Island in South Carolina. © Clay Bolt

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The Business of Change: WEF calls for nature-positive transformation of corporate landscape

The Nature Conservancy joins growing chorus of global organizations calling for transformation of unsustainable business as usual

Today, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published The Future of Nature and Business – the second instalment in its New Nature Economy Report (NNER) series following January 2020’s Nature Risk Rising, which estimated that over half the world’s GDP – some $44 trillion of economic value – is at risk due to businesses’ reliance on dwindling planetary resources.

Citing the unprecedented turbulence of the intervening months, WEF stresses that, in the face of climate breakdown and nature loss, business as usual is no longer an option. The report does, however, draw optimism from the speed of global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, signifying confidence that the corporate world can mobilise with the urgency required to tackle other imminent existential challenges. The report also states that although climate change is a significant driver of nature loss, changing how we use our lands and seas is equally important to prevent a collapse in Earth ecosystems.

The Future of Nature and Business identifies three key socio-economic systems, collectively representing over one-third of the global economy, which pose the greatest threat to biodiversity – and provides a blueprint for business to generate up to $10.1 trillion and 395 million jobs by 2030, by pointing to 15 systemic, ‘nature-positive transitions’ including embracing regenerative agricultural practices and reducing urban sprawl.

Commenting on this landmark report, Jennifer Morris – Chief Executive Officer of The Nature Conservancy – said:

“In any given year, the findings of this latest WEF report would make for a thought-provoking read. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, they feel particularly sobering—but they also point to a better way forward.

“The pandemic has disrupted lives, livelihoods, and communities around the world. The conservation space has been deeply impacted, too, from impeding the enforcement of protected wildlife areas, to forcing the postponement of much of 2020’s rare ‘Super Year’ of major environmental summits – effectively deferring a host of planet-critical policy decisions for another 12 months. Nature simply cannot afford for us to waste any more time.

“Businesses, governments, and communities around the world can work together to move us toward a future where nature’s value to society is widely understood and we take collective steps to protect it. WEF’s report highlights specific ways in which the corporate sector in particular, can take a lead role in reversing decades of environmental degradation, human-driven climate change and species loss—and highlights potential business benefits for those organizations willing to rapidly embrace this unprecedented scale of change.

“None of this will be easy – system change at this scale never is. WEF’s report underlines that it is our collective responsibility to transform the ways in which we eat, live, grow, build, and power our lives to address climate change and halt biodiversity loss by 2030. The roadmap and policy recommendations outlined show that we can build on lessons learned from the pandemic and work together with the necessary urgency to create a brighter and more secure future for people and the planet.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.