Business Group Builds Economic Case for Biodiversity

The coalition Business for Nature, announced earlier this month, plans to play a big role in global negotiations around biodiversity, using the Paris climate agreement as a template.

A new business coalition realizes that changes in climate and businesses’ use of natural resources could threaten the broader ecosystem. And it wants to counteract that problem.

Business for Nature, announced earlier this month at the Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity in Norway, plans to elevate the role that corporations play in protecting nature. The coalition includes figures from well-known environmental groups, such as the World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy, but also major business groups such as the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Economic Forum.

In a news release announcing the new coalition, the groups said that their goal was to improve understanding of the ways that nature and the economy worked together.

“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,” the release stated. “For instance, combating climate change cannot be achieved without addressing our impacts and dependencies on nature.”

The group, working ahead of a potential biodiversity treaty similar to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, plans to help build a united front for businesses in these negotiations, with a goal of highlighting the economic importance of such work, while ensuring any agreed-upon solutions make both business and ecological sense.

“Our entire economy is a subsidiary of nature,” said Paul Polman, the chair of the International Chamber of Commerce, in the news release. “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.”

Speaking to Food Navigator, Peter White, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s ambassador for biodiversity, emphasized that the coalition would aim for broader goals in its negotiating process.

”We have high-level policy asks. We are calling on governments to adopt an ambitious science-based target to halt the loss of nature by 2030. We need targets,” he told the outlet. “In climate we have a 2 degree target. We don’t have a 2 degrees for nature or food systems. We need high-level targets people can align around.”

White added that “degraded ecosystems” could prove a serious long-term threat if not remedied.

“Diversity brings stability. Biodiversity brings ecosystem stability. Loss of nature, ecosystem degradation, takes away a lot of the resilience, exasperating climate change,” he said.

(Rodolfo Ribas/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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