Tag Archive for: nature positive

Image credit: Bending the curve of terrestrial biodiversity needs an integrated strategy | Nature

 

Our platform lead Lucy Gaffney has written a blog in conjunction with her upcoming presentation at the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management’s upcoming Irish conference: Delivering a Nature Positive Ireland, first published on the CIEEM website.

We are on the brink of the next revolution, the “real” Green Revolution and its emergence signals the end of the ecocidal industrial revolution of the 1800s. For the first time in human history, we are waking up to the notion that healthy ecosystems are the foundation on which we have built our civilisations.

Nature is the great provider. People have become wealthier, we’re living longer and we have the best standard of living that has ever been. But while that curve is on the upswing, there is another curve that is plummeting at an alarming rate – the richness and health of the planet.

We are here because we have burned through the planet’s natural resources with reckless abandon, without assuring that these resources were replenished, without stewardship, without regard to other living beings and indigenous peoples.

But the tide is turning. The business world is waking up to the reality that without investment and stewardship of the natural world, their business is at risk, the economy is at risk and society, as we know it, is at risk.

First Steps
So how can businesses realistically start mobilising for nature? The truth is, that nature is the bigger picture. Our destruction of the natural world undermines the planet’s ability to process excess carbon and greenhouse gases, and our excessive greenhouse gas emissions which cause planetary warming and ocean acidification, perpetuates the loss of biodiversity and interrupts natural cycles.

The first step is really understanding that climate change and biodiversity are two sides of the same coin and absolutely need to be tackled together.

Climate or Biodiversity?
The Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has identified five key industrial drivers of biodiversity loss.

– Pollution; solid, liquid and gaseous waste
– Invasive Species; non-native plant and animal species
– Ecosystem conversion; changing how we use our land and seas
– Climate Change; planetary warming, forest fires, ocean acidification
– Exploitation of natural resources


Many businesses are already planning or implementing sustainability projects and many of those projects are less to do with climate change and more to do with nature. Take single use plastics for example, yes they are made from petrochemicals, but the main reason we are ditching single-use plastics is to reduce pollution, a driver of biodiversity loss. There are of course cross-cutting benefits to eliminating single-use plastic, but pollution reduction is the most impactful.

Water stewardship is another corporate initiative that has a greater positive impact on biodiversity than climate change. Conserving water in areas that experience water stress has a high impact, not just on local flora and fauna but also on communities. As the summer temperatures rise, water stress is becoming a bigger issue, even in countries like Ireland. How many companies or services would grind to a halt if there was a prolonged drought?

Reframing our sustainability portfolio through the biodiversity lens might uncover that we are doing more for biodiversity than we first imagined.

Impacts and Dependencies
Every business depends on nature, whether directly or through its value chain. Understanding these dependencies on nature has the potential to expose hidden risks to your business and its future continuity.

Similarly, every organisation has an ecological impact. Whether it be through pollution, greenhouse gas emissions or buying palm oil for your products, some part of the natural world is being degraded. In order to develop a meaningful biodiversity strategy, businesses must understand these impacts and dependencies. There is no point in planting trees or wildflowers to tick the biodiversity action box, if a core activity in your business is responsible for deforestation somewhere else. That’s not nature positive.

There is a multitude of tools and frameworks available to help businesses, particularly corporates, understand their impacts but they can be quite technical and overwhelming for a lay person to navigate. In simple terms, a business could list core activities and explore how those activities might put pressure on those previously mentioned “drivers of biodiversity loss”. How can your business reduce that pressure? Through better recycling policies? By understanding where your raw materials come from? It doesn’t have to be complicated, any positive action is better than inaction, but it should be evidence-based.

The Role of the Consumer
It has long been my view that businesses need guidance and regulation to get to grips with these issues. But in parallel, there needs to be a shift in consumer sentiment and purchasing behaviour. We need to act quickly to avoid going over 1.5C in planetary warming and to halt nature loss, and the key to quick action is a change in consumer demand. It is happening, but there is still a lack of understanding of the issues in the mainstream. Do the public understand that buying products with palm oil, palm fat, palm kernels is causing deforestation in a tropical rainforest? Palm fat is in chocolate, peanut butter, stock cubes, most processed food, toothpaste, makeup.. the list goes on!

We need better labelling on products so that we, as consumers, can make more informed decisions and catalyse change from the ground up.

Into the future
In the next decade, “the competitive edge” will be redefined. The next great green revolution is coming and if business doesn’t evolve, then extinction is on the cards.

Lucy will be speaking at the upcoming CIEEM Irish Conference: Delivering a Nature Positive Ireland in Athlone, April 25. Book HERE.

 

 

Our platform lead Lucy Gaffney will be speaking on ‘The Business Journey to Nature Positive’ at the CIEEM Ireland Conference 2023 in the Radisson Blu, Athlone on April 25 – registration now open.

Nature Positive is a global movement that advocates for having more nature at the end of the decade than at the start. The Nature Positive mission is to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and has been committed to by the G7 leaders as well as 50 countries, including Ireland and the UK, committing to protecting at least 30% of the worlds land and ocean by 2030.

But what does this mean in the context of the island of Ireland? What will success look like? What are we already doing to move towards this goal and what needs to change if we are going to be fully successful?

Registration is now open and the programme has been released.

The conference opening address will be given by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan. Mr Noonan  oversees the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Heritage Council and the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

Other speakers include Ciaran Fallon of The Nature Trust/Coillte Nature,  Cameron Clotworthy, NPWS, and perspectives from farmers in a session from Caroline Lalor, Nature Based Agri Solutions Ltd and Jonathan Cahill, FarmPEAT Participant Farmer.

More information on the CIEEM site HERE.

After a phenomenal week in Brussels as co-hosts of the European Business and Nature Summit (EBNS), I noted that there was a distinct lack of attendance by the Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) community, despite having numerous sessions dedicated to them. Why is that?

Having previously run an SME myself, I know only too well that engaging with something like EBNS is incredibly challenging for an SME. The day-to-day work of an SME is ever-changing, dynamic and all-consuming. How can an SME possibly undertake any more challenging, seemingly external problems, like becoming nature-positive? My view is that SMEs won’t truly mobilise until they have to. Regulation and mandatory disclosure is the only way that we can push this sector of the economy forward, but it needs to be simple, a word that is not typically associated with nature and biodiversity.

SMEs often feel like this kind of work is only relevant to large corporations and that their relative impact is small and insignificant. This is something that those of us working in this space need to demystify. SMEs have a massive collective impact and like everyone else, they too need to assess their impact on nature and try to minimise it. It is estimated that around 60-70% of environmental impact comes from the SME sector. (Marshall Report)

To have any chance of making progress SMEs need a few key things. Regulation, funding, education and long-term support. There is a significant awareness and education gap within business that needs to be addressed quickly. SMEs need to build their own capacity to manage these new business strategies that we are expecting them to produce. Most will probably need external expertise and that costs money. Should we employ a “Robin Hood” style approach to mobilising SMEs? Where larger corporations fund the SMEs in their value chain to help them become more nature-positive. Or should this kind of support come from government or local authorities?

Either way, for SMEs to mobilise for climate or nature, they need:

  • Awareness & understanding of the issues
  • Additional financial support to help them develop & action environmental strategies
  • Long-term support to enable them to continue to operate in an ever-changing economy

More than that, real change will only be triggered with regulation. And that needs to happen quickly.

Registration is now open for the European Business & Nature Summit, co-hosted by Business For Biodiversity Ireland with the EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform in Brussels this October. A number of high-profile speakers have been announced.

Orange card with headshots of various speakers

The European Commission-backed event, taking place at The Egg venue on October 18-19th, will also be livestreamed. The two days will feature high-level political round tables and thematic practical workshops and side events to help businesses on their journey to ASSESS, COMMIT, TRANSFORM and DISCLOSE their relationship with nature.

The 2022 summit will be an important milestone in the road to Phase 2 of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) later this year. Business For Biodiversity Ireland is delighted to contribute to strengthening Europe’s growing Business for Biodiversity movement. The event aims to help our business community shape and prepare for the imminent transformative shift toward a nature-positive business model.

Speakers announced include:

  • Moderator Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director for Natural Capital, DG Environment
  • Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director-General, Environment Department, European Commission
  • Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary, IPBES
  • Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, EC
  • Richard Mattison, CEO, S&P Global Trucost
  • And many more sustainability & business experts.

Business For Biodiversity Ireland Platform Lead Lucy Gaffney said: “In a world suffering drastic biodiversity loss, ‘business as usual’ is no longer acceptable. It is only with long-term vision and strong collaboration that we will be able to turn the tide and protect the natural ecosystems on which societies and economies depend.”

Register now for the European Business and Nature Summit and be part of a European movement of corporate leaders taking steps towards integrating biodiversity into their business models, while also addressing its ‘twin’ crisis – climate change.

Check out the programme for more details of agenda and speakers and register on the European Business & Nature Summit website.

#EUBiodiversity #BusinessNatureSummit #EBNS22 #NatureIsEveryonesBusiness #ForNature  #BiodiversityCrisis #JoinTheEvolution #BizBioIrl

Many of us have heard this term “nature positive” used in the context of business and biodiversity, but what does it actually mean?

“Nature positive” does not have an official definition…yet, but a nature-positive business is generally understood to have certain qualities and values.

Nature positive businesses understand how their business operations impact on the environment, and they also understand how they benefit from nature, or how they depend on it, for example, through an ecosystem service like pollination.

Once a business understands their impacts and dependencies, they can transform how they do things to avoid or reduce pressure on the natural world. The impacts may be hidden within their value chain, but a business has the power to switch suppliers and make that shift towards organisations that are more tuned in to their environmental or social impact.

A nature positive business mobilises resources to enhance ecosystems and enrich biodiversity. They can do this by enhancing the natural habitats that occur within their landholding, by working with communities to enrich local ecosystems or by providing funding to NGOs to enable rewilding projects further afield, perhaps in key geographic areas and ecosystems that have high biodiversity value or critical habitats, like the Amazon Rainforest.
Carbon storage is another priority for a nature-positive business. Cutting carbon emissions, protecting natural carbon sinks, and transforming agriculture to enhance sequestration are fundamental ways that businesses can improve their carbon storage capacity.

Respecting the right to safe water means that businesses must be compliant with liquid waste disposal and discharging into rivers and streams.

Experts claim that we may have entered an era of pandemics driven by the anthropogenic degradation of nature and biodiversity. If we are to escape this quagmire of rapidly spreading global diseases, we need an enormous shift towards prevention. It is estimated that there could be another 850,000 undiscovered viruses that could have the ability to jump to human hosts. The way we currently use our land, trade unsustainably, disrupt natural systems, interfere with wild populations of animals paves the road towards increased pandemic risk. This risk is lowered significantly by intercepting the drivers of biodiversity loss.

The cost of inaction is growing exponentially. The longer we leave it, the more it will cost us, financially and in terms of our heath and wellbeing.

Momentum is building and percolating down to businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. The Nature-Positive movement is here, and it will make us stronger, happier, and more resilient.

Join the evolution of business. How can your business become more nature positive?