Key Points

  • The prosperity of every business in every economy depends on the health of nature.
  • The World Bank estimates that simply protecting nature could avert global economic losses of US$2.7 trillion per year.
  • Adopting a nature-positive lens aims to protect our natural environment, safeguard the well-being of communities and people, and drive business value.

The urgency to act on the intertwined crises of climate change and nature loss has never been higher.

The alarming rates of biodiversity loss, species extinction, peatland loss, and plastic pollution have led a leading group of bankers, financial supervisors, and academics to describe it as a “significant and under-appreciated threat to financial stability.”

While nature is critical to business, few companies fully understand, or proactively manage, their impact on nature, which exposes them to significant risk. Adopting a nature-positive lens to both one’s own operations and supply chains will help to reduce risks and drive long-term business resilience.

Investing in Nature Delivers Benefits for All

First, nature provides the ecosystem services—such as clean water and pollination services—that supply chains depend on. Frighteningly, these systems are rapidly deteriorating, threatening business’ access to necessary input materials and production locations. The World Bank estimates that simply protecting nature could avert global economic losses of US$2.7 trillion per year just by preventing the collapse of critical ecosystem services that business and others rely upon.

Second, nature and climate are highly interrelated. The most recent edition of the IPCC report found that virtually any action to preserve or restore nature also has positive benefits on the climate. Yet, certain efforts in the name of climate change can actually harm nature, such as the planting of non-native, monoculture trees in the name of carbon credits destroying an area’s biodiversity. Approaching decarbonization with a nature-positive lens is necessary for long-term success; for example, an estimated 90 percent of Food, Land, and Agricultural (FLAG) companies are at risk of missing their net-zero targets if they do not effectively address the issue of deforestation in their supply chain.

Finally, the regulatory space is developing quickly to align with a nature-positive approach. The European Union’s proposed Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, if passed, would require companies to report on targets, action plans, and progress toward becoming net nature positive by 2030, demonstrating that simply doing no harm is no longer the standard. New global frameworks largely mirroring climate—such as the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) for nature reporting—are quickly being established as the new modes through which companies signal their commitment and report progress. Business can ensure that they understand their risks, mitigate their impacts, and proactively contribute to protect our natural environment.

While many companies have science-based targets and well-developed action plans on climate, few companies are similarly mature on nature and biodiversity. BSR’s work in nature aims to change this. We focus on business’ relationship with land, freshwater, and marine systems in both their operations and value chains, and we support companies as they assess their impacts and dependencies on nature, identify and clarify nature-related risks, and understand how nature overlaps with human rights or climate change. We also work with companies to develop strategies and solutions which aim to achieve multiple sustainability objectives, along with detailed implementation plans to turn ambition into action. 

We have developed specialized tools and capabilities to help our members interpret their nature impacts and dependencies (risks) and develop ambitious strategies and solutions to address and mitigate impacts, both within their own operations and throughout their value chain. Our expanded range of offerings include:

  • Nature Assessment and Prioritization 
  • Nature Strategy Development
  • Supplier Engagement Strategy
  • External Framework Alignment and Stakeholder Engagement (e.g., TNFD, SBTN)

We are excited to work with business to help drive greater understanding, engagement, and action from the private sector. Nature is not just something to be protected—it can also provide many of the solutions we need to address other crisis areas. Long-term business success will require halting degradation and restoring nature, as well as harnessing the unique solutions that nature provides to address other sustainability issues, like climate and a just transition.  

Are you interested in learning more about how you can better understand and take action on your nature risks and impacts? Do you have a nature success story to share? Please reach out to schedule a conversation.