Nature is the next big sustainability frontier for business and finance. We have seen over the last few years, leading companies actively calling for an ambitious global agreement on nature.
More recently, at last month’s COP 15, which took place under the auspices of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the number of companies participating was unprecedented, attending with the aim to raise ambition for action on nature.
In total, around $44 trillion in annual economic value generation – over half of the world’s GDP – is moderately or highly dependent on nature, according to the World Economic Forum. In reality, nature powers all industry and enterprise – from pollination and a stable climate to clean air and fresh water, we all rely on nature’s services not just for our well-being and prosperity but for our very survival.
Yet alarmingly, we are diminishing natural capital and degrading natural systems faster than nature can replenish and restore them. Combined with the risk of catastrophic global heating of 2.7°C or more, business faces a dual emergency of nature loss and climate breakdown.
At COP 15, countries agreed a new global framework which will guide action to halt and reverse the loss of nature by 2030, or more simply ‘nature positive by 2030’. Akin to the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, this should become a lodestar for action on nature by governments, business, and civil society around the world.
The overall set of targets agreed in Montreal contained specific targets that will incentivize the private sector to protect and restore nature and whilst also investing in it. These include a requirement for all large transnational companies and financial institutions to assess and disclose their risks, impacts, and dependencies on nature throughout their operations, values chains, and portfolios. This target was supported by over 350 companies across 52 countries through the #MakeItMandatory campaign.
Almost every sector is exposed to nature-related risks in some way – either through suffering disruption to supply chains, markets, and society caused by environmental degradation, or through causing nature loss directly and losing finance and customers as a consequence. Worldwide, the potential collapse of ecosystem services such as pollination and timber threatens an annual decline in global GDP by 2030. This makes protecting and investing in nature an economic as well as a moral imperative.
With these newly defined targets from governments, businesses have a clear direction set for them. Understanding how they impact and depend on nature will not only help companies identify and address nature-related risks and future-proof their business, but also create fair competition, increase accountability and ultimately transform to nature-positive economies.
As part of the brand new INSEAD Learning Hub, the Hoffmann Institute for Business and Society is working in partnership with leading business organisation the Capitals Coalition, international organisation the World Economic Forum, as well as systems change company Systemiq, and innovative start-up rePLANET to explore nature-positive together.
We have created a unique community of business leaders, experts, scientists, and commentators to bring the latest and most relevant insights, research, and thought leadership on how businesses can contribute to a nature-positive world in easily digestible, bite-size chunks. We will help you quickly get to grips with what nature-positive really means in material terms for business and finance – and how you can respond.
Every fortnight we will offer you a new ‘trek’ to explore – a collection of short articles, podcasts, reports, and videos focused on specific topics such as regenerative business, nature and climate change, nature-based solutions, nature and livelihoods, nature finance, and nature-positive governance.
Each trek will be designed to give you a quick practical understanding of how the topic in question is relevant to business, and signpost links and sources where you can find more detailed information. All treks are available for free to anyone signing up to the hub.
Katell Le Goulven, PhD, Founding Executive Director, Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, INSEAD
Mark Gough, CEO, Capitals Coalition
Elisa Dierickx, PhD (INSEAD MBA '21J), Associate, Systemiq
Akanksha Khatri, Head of Nature Action Agenda, World Economic Forum
Isabel Hoffmann, (INSEAD MBA ‘23D), Director & Head of Strategic Partnerships, rePLANET