(c) David Wootton (rspb-images.com)

This is the fifth in an exciting blog series exploring our vision for a Nature Positive world and how we can make it a reality. We’ve previously looked at what ‘Nature Positive’ means to us and which areas we are focusing on. In this blog, Senior Policy Officer Kim Dunn discusses how business can lead the way and start taking action towards a Nature Positive future now.

 

Businesses need to identify their impacts and dependencies on nature, whether direct or indirect, and start driving change now.

 

The role of business in Nature Positive change

The importance of nature in addressing the climate crisis came across loud and clear at the COP26, and as the Global Goal to halt and reverse nature loss is gaining momentum, the voice of business leaders has a critical role to play in leading the charge for both a net-zero, and Nature Positive future.

The climate and biodiversity crisis requires urgent action, backed by strong, scientifically set targets. Nature Positive extends the ‘protect and restore nature’ discussion to whole system change – not just the 30% to protect and conserve, but includes the other 70% too, looking at how the whole of society can improve their relationship with nature, with businesses at the centre of the movement.

 

Where do we start?

The move towards a Nature Positive economy is complicated, with many interlinking elements. Economic system change is reliant on everyone playing their part in moving towards Nature Positive, with different roles across different sectors. There will be elements that cannot be changed through the actions of single entities, and therefore, will require wholescale change. This can feel too vast and daunting to approach, so we need to look at how Nature Positive can be understood by all actors involved.

Nature Positive guidance and toolkits are emerging globally from both the private and public sectors, as well as different collaborative bodies – including the ‘Building Blocks of Nature Positive’ from WBCSD, or the Nature Handbook for Business from Defra. Nature-related actions are increasingly recognised as a key strategic area for companies, to address both climate change and biodiversity loss. New initiatives, such as the TNFD LEAP framework, and the Nature and Biodiversity Benchmark from the World Benchmarking Alliance, are all looking to engage and drive corporate action for nature.   

 

Taking action now

While all these existing products are under development, we believe that businesses must start acting now, regardless of the state of the other areas of work. Knowing which tool, which collaboration or which resource is most relevant for the company is getting increasingly hard due to the complexities of the Nature Positive arena. We know enough about positive and negative impacts on nature to start making changes, and should take action without waiting for the perfect solution. Metrics, measurements and global targets all have their place, but as we are already nearly 3 years into the decade to secure a Nature Positive future, we don’t have time to wait.

Many business leaders are driving forward with Nature Positive strategies, especially where businesses have a capacity to understand and implement Nature Positive actions, and the knowledge sharing, case studies and testing of actions will be fundamental to a successful transition to a Nature Positive Economy.  We must point businesses in the right direction and support the identification of biodiversity impact and dependencies on the areas they have control over, and highlight where they are able to drive change through indirect approaches. There is a role to support businesses and – perhaps even more so - business associations that can influence their members. This will require having a coherent Nature Positive narrative, public recognition of what Nature Positive looks like, and using shareholder activism as a pressure point to make change happen. 

 

Where can businesses make a difference?

Businesses should familiarise themselves with the elements of Nature Positive which sit within their sphere of control – what actions can they take right now and have direct control over? How can they influence positive action by applying pressure on their supply chains, financial decisions and how can they advocate and support wider elements, such as policy changes, or social behaviour changes, to be the leaders of the Nature Positive movement?

There are many different actions that can contribute to Nature Positive, whether it’s the planning and spatial elements of a new housing development, changing national policies to incentivise Nature Positive action, exploring financial streams in support of nature, or engaging local communities. Businesses can begin by identifying where they can have immediate impacts, building this out to a comprehensive approach to Nature Positive where the goal is constantly one step further, as there is always more we can be doing for nature.

 

The Nature Positive movement is about: 

  • Acting when you can
  • Influencing what you can
  • Advocating where you can be heard 
  • Supporting everywhere else. 

 

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