The Business of Biodiversity: why nature is the next frontier for sustainable business

The Business of Biodiversity: why nature is the next frontier for sustainable business
February 21, 2024

When considering the subject of corporate sustainability, many jump immediately to the topic of climate. However, the nature agenda is increasingly ‘growing’ in importance as we begin to understand the reliance of global business on the natural world - and the role corporations are playing in destroying it. So, why is it critical for businesses to integrate nature considerations into their sustainability strategy?

Why Nature is Rooting for Our Attention

We're currently facing a biodiversity crisis, with the planet inching towards its sixth mass extinction. The stakes are high, and it is estimated that $44 trillion -more than half of the world's GDP- is meaningfully dependent on nature's goods and services (the 'ecosystem services' of nature).  From the air we breathe to the resources powering our industries, nature's bounty is the backbone of all businesses, directly or indirectly through the supply chain. And yet, much of this is not factored into our economy or balance sheets - posing an incredible risk for businesses as ecosystems break down.

Climate and Nature Intertwined

Beyond the urgency of addressing the nature crisis, conservation efforts in nature are often the cheapest and fastest way to reach climate goals. Restoring ecosystems is a prime example of this. Ecosystems play a crucial role in regulating climate, cycling nutrients, and providing biomass for food, fuel, and fibre. Their role in carbon capture is essential for the transition to net-zero emissions.

Additionally, ecosystems like mangroves and wetlands provide vital protection against climate-induced events such as storm surges, flooding, and mudslides. Conservation efforts in these areas can offer cost-effective ways to mitigate climate risks.

Getting Started with Nature Integration

To navigate this integration, businesses must start by understanding the risks, dependencies, and impacts of their operations on nature. This means mapping nature to the company strategy, quantifying the value of natural capital, and making informed decisions that account for this value. Tools like the Natural Capital Protocol's risk management framework and the evolving Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) framework can help businesses assess and disclose their interactions with nature.

Operationalising Nature

Incorporating natural capital into daily operations requires a shift in mindset—from viewing nature as an infinite resource to recognising its limits and value. It involves integrating nature considerations into product design, procurement, and investment strategies. Training and awareness programs can help employees understand their role in implementing nature-positive practices, fostering a powerful company-wide culture of nature stewardship.

In conclusion, by prioritising nature in their sustainability strategies, businesses not only contribute to the preservation of vital ecosystems but also secure their own future in a rapidly changing world. With the emergence of new frameworks and regulations for understanding the relationship between business and nature, now is the time to start integrating nature into the heart of business.

How SeedCulture can Help

Are you looking to embed and operationalise nature across your business? At SeedCulture, we're dedicated to helping you educate and empower your workforce on sustainable practices, enabling them to drive positive change from within. As well as a series of learning modules and action missions on nature & biodiversity, we help you communicate your sustainability strategy, why it matters, and how each employee can be involved. Get in touch to request a trial today!

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