September 21. 2023. 3:18

The Daily

Read the World Today

We cannot move forward with ‘business as usual’ for nature

The EU’s flagship Nature Restoration Law provides a vital opportunity to fill the nature gap in the European Green Deal. Failure to recognise the importance of nature at this moment directly threatens our ability to tackle the climate crisis. Put simply: Both crises have to be addressed together, writes a group of business leaders.

Business is dependent on healthy and intact nature. Nature provides not just critical inputs to companies but, more importantly, enables all aspects of our society by providing health and social benefits, resources for critical infrastructure and supporting livelihoods. We are also aware that the combined impacts of biodiversity loss and climate change create long-term risks to business, investors, consumers and wider society who depend on nature.

Our collective response to today’s twin nature and climate crises will determine the future of our economy and society. That’s why last year, ahead of the UN negotiations in Montreal, over 1,400 companies with revenues of over US$ 5 trillion called on governments to adopt sound policies without delay to reverse nature loss in this decade. We were pleased to see clear targets and policy direction in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to restore nature with and for people.

The EU’s flagship Nature Restoration Law provides a vital opportunity to fill the nature gap in the European Green Deal and provide a real, clear signal for us all that we must invest in protecting and restoring nature.

Despite the EU’s previously stated ambitions, we’re now seeing two European Parliament Committees voting to reject the EU Nature Restoration Law proposal, and the European People’s Party has decided to withdraw from the negotiations in the Environment Committee. As businesses, we have our own ambitious nature restoration goals, and we believe these developments are a concerning deviation from the previously agreed European and global commitments and targets.

Let us be clear: The costs of inaction would be too high to ignore. Failure to account for and recognise the importance of nature at this moment directly threatens our ability to tackle the climate crisis – something that is not possible to do without reversing the loss of nature. Put simply: Both crises have to be addressed together.

That’s why business and investor networks, business associations and companies, as well as civil society and the organisation representing the European power sector, are urging Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to support an effective Nature Restoration Law (NRL).

Companies are also working together to take action on nature and climate. To date, over 1700 European companies have committed to or have set science-based targets for climate, and many are working closely with the Science Based Targets Network to develop similar science-based targets for nature.

In the food and agriculture sectors, many companies are working with farmers and supply chains towards regenerative agriculture to reverse nature loss and restore soil health, enrich biodiversity, contribute to the climate trajectory while supporting farmer communities financially during the transition.

Implementing the EU Nature Restoration Law could help rapidly scale up the switch to regenerative agriculture in Europe by incentivising more farmers to engage in projects and initiatives that facilitate the shift.

In the extraction and construction sectors, companies are investing heavily in restoring nature and moving towards low-carbon and secondary materials.

But there is a clear need for robust and coherent policies to align action on climate and nature.

The EU Nature Restoration Law is necessary to provide the framework to guide and incentivise everyone in the same direction and set the groundwork for ambitious and holistic action.

Bringing nature back to Europe is the right thing to do. But it is also the smart thing to do. It will be a key solution to the challenges we face, from food security to extreme weather events, while building resilience and ensuring the long-term viability of land and materials.

A rejection of the Nature Restoration Law would leave European businesses and Europe’s Green Deal at risk, as well as its global commitments to curb climate change and halt biodiversity loss. A strong agreement on nature restoration, meanwhile, would set Europe on a clear pathway to restoring nature and reaping the huge societal, health, climate and economic benefits this brings, as well as inspire many others to follow with the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Business-as-usual is no longer an option for companies, it should not be an option for policymakers either. Business is counting on policymakers to create a regulatory framework that incentivises business action to halt and reverse nature loss that ultimately benefits biodiversity, livelihoods and communities.

[an error occurred while processing the directive]