July 27, 2023
Prioritizing nature and biodiversity: 7 reasons to drive corporate action
By Pieter van Exter, Product Director of Link
As we know, in business, numbers lead to action. Link, by Metabolic Software, is transforming how organizations assess nature and biodiversity impacts.
Biodiversity and nature have taken center stage on the business agenda, with new regulations and voluntary frameworks set to reshape corporate responsibilities. This year, the introduction of regulations such as the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive), along with voluntary initiatives like TNFD (Task Force for Nature-based Financial Disclosure) and SBTN (Science Based Targets Network), will compel companies to assess and disclose their impacts and risks related to nature and biodiversity across their operations and supply chains.
While businesses acknowledge the importance of the subject, many have been slow to take meaningful action. For example, only 5% of the Global 500 companies have set quantified targets for nature. Another study from the World Benchmarking Alliance found that just 5% of companies they studied had conducted a quantitative assessment of their impact on biodiversity and nature.
As we know, in business, numbers lead to action. In that spirit, we present seven key numbers that shed light on the current state of nature, what’s at stake for our society and economy, and the mounting pressure from stakeholders for corporate action. Together these numbers tell the story of why businesses must start addressing biodiversity and nature today.
The state of nature
69% of wildlife has disappeared
Over the last 50 years, more than two-thirds of the animals on our planet have disappeared. According to WWF’s 2022 Living Planet Report, the total wildlife population, including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish, has plummeted by 69% compared to 1970. This decline in biodiversity can be attributed to changes in sea and land use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive non-native species.
1 million species face extinction
A comprehensive study by the United Nations found that 1 million species on our planet face the threat of extinction, many within the coming decades. The global abundance of species is critical for the functioning and resilience of ecosystems. To exacerbate the situation, the rate of extinction is accelerating due to increased pressure from human activities.
2.4 billion hectares of nature disappeared
Since 1900, forests and wild grasslands have seen a significant decline, with about 2.4 billion hectares disappearing. To put this into perspective, that’s an area larger than the landmass of China and the United States combined. What’s the cause? These habitats have mostly been transformed into croplands and grazing areas for cattle.
The economic importance of nature
$41.7 trillion of global GDP is dependent on nature
Nature and biodiversity provide countless services to society, including food provision, water supply, and protection against hazards. These so-called “ecosystem services” are critical for the health and stability of communities and economies. A study found that 55% of the global economy (or $41.7 trillion) is dependent on high-functioning biodiversity and ecosystem services. The wellbeing of 20% of countries is at risk due to potential ecosystem collapse.
1.2 billion jobs demand healthy ecosystems
A staggering 1.2 billion jobs, or one-third of the total global labor force, are linked to the sustainable management of healthy ecosystems. These include jobs in farming, fisheries, forestry, and tourism. Furthermore, the International Labor Organization estimates that a just transition to a more sustainable economy could create 24 million new jobs instead of removing them.
The opportunity for corporate action on nature
$10.1 trillion of annual business opportunities
Addressing the nature crisis through 15 systemic transitions can open business opportunities of up to $10.1 trillion per year. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, these opportunities can be found in three areas of our economy: food, land, and ocean use; infrastructure and the built environment; and extractives and energy. The food, land, and ocean use sector alone offers an opportunity of around $3.5 trillion annually.
66% of investors prioritize biodiversity
Biodiversity is expected to play a significant role in investment policies in the coming years. A study from Robeco highlighted that 66% of surveyed investors consider biodiversity a significant or central factor in their investment policy over the next two years, a significant increase from 21% two years prior. Investors will increasingly focus more on the biodiversity-related impacts and risks within their portfolios.
Start taking action with Link, by Metabolic
The numbers above are both alarming and compelling, underscoring the tremendous value of nature and the urgent need for action. Preserving biodiversity and ecosystems is not only crucial for the well-being of our planet but also for ensuring sustainable economies and thriving societies.
Start taking action today with the help of our new software solution, Link. Link helps you gain valuable insights into your organization’s impact on biodiversity and nature. Armed with this knowledge, you can then take meaningful steps towards securing a sustainable future.
Link is the science-based sustainability impact and risk assessment platform to support your organization’s nature and biodiversity strategy. It enables companies to understand the impact they have on nature and identify nature-related risks to their business across the supply chain.
Its unique prioritization module brings everything together and enables organizations to identify where to start taking action. Link’s reports and visualizations help build and communicate a compelling business case and are aligned with the most important frameworks expected by regulators, investors, and customers.
Kickstart your nature impact and risk assessment, and request a demo today.
Pieter van Exter
Product director of Link