On July 2, 2019—at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of New Champions in China, and at the Trondheim Biodiversity Conferences in Norway—a diverse group of influential international organizations has announced a global coalition to elevate a business call for comprehensive action to reverse nature loss and restore the planet’s vital natural systems.
“As an agribusiness, the long-term success of our company and our sector relies on the nature and its ecosystem services. COFCO International is committed to meeting tomorrow’s demand for food in a responsible way, and conserving nature is a key element of our commitment. We support the Business for Nature coalition in its collective efforts to form a clear and strong business voice for nature conservation,” said Wei Peng, Global Head of Sustainability, COFCO International.
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 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It places severe costs on businesses and economies, and makes addressing other global challenges, such as climate change and social inequalities, significantly more difficult.
“The World Economic Forum is thrilled to announce this coalition here in China at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions and it is inspiring to see how Chinese and international businesses are welcoming the initiative. World leaders have a unique opportunity to forge an international agreement to reverse nature loss and increase collective action. 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,” said Justin Adams, Executive Director of Tropical Forest Alliance at the World Economic Forum.
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.
“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,” said Paul Polman, Imagine and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Chair.
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 well-being 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.
“The rate at which we are currently losing nature is posing serious risks for business, both in terms of operations as well as the license to operate. We need to radically transform the main economic systems to be able to move to zero carbon and halt the destruction of nature. By bringing the needed innovations to the table, business is well-positioned to lead this transformation, accelerating impact and scale through the Business for Nature coalition,” explained Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
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.
Business for Nature will convene a united business voice at these 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.
“The mountains, forests, rivers and seas, together with the grass and the trees, have nurtured countless lives on the earth. Protecting the ecological environment means protecting human beings ourselves. On the road to a better tomorrow, enterprises need to adhere to green development, diligent in thought and action, and shoulder the burden. We are looking forward to work together with Business for Nature to build a “Global Health Ecosystem” and share a prosperous future,” added Zhao Xin, Vice President of Yili Group.
Forward thinking businesses have already acknowledged that 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.
“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. 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,” concluded Thomas Lingard, Global Climate & Environment Director, Unilever.
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.
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