Accelerating business solutions for climate and nature – Report I: Mapping nature-based solutions and natural climate solutions

Published: 7 Dec 2020
Type: Publication

Nature-based solutions (NbS), can help to deliver up to 37% of solutions to achieve the Paris climate goal, as well as the potential to help address other societal challenges while being good for business and people. Yet, to scale up investment in Nature-based Solutions, business requires clarity on its scope and requirements.

This report aims to help remove the hurdles to nature-based solutions by clarifying definitions, while supporting the alignment of natural climate solutions (NCS) with nature-based solutions in order to accelerate investments at scale. In addition, the report helps business to navigate the nature and climate agenda by mapping the key initiatives, platforms and conventions for collective action.

This business guidance is part of a series of three reports aimed at “Accelerating Business Solutions for Climate and Nature”, a joint collaboration between our Nature Action and Natural Climate Solutions teams. The next report will focus on “NCS best practice” and the final guidance document will cover "sectoral guidance" for nature-based solutions across the three key systems identified by WEF’s New Nature Economy Report Series: (1) food, land and ocean use; (2) infrastructure and built environment; and (3) energy and extractives.

View the publication.

Below we have compiled a list of 10 questions answered that summarize the content of this business guidance report:

1. Why should business adopt nature-based solutions for climate and nature? 

These solutions can provide 37% of cost-effective GHG mitigation needed by 2030 to stabilize global warming to below 2°C.

2. What are Nature-based Solutions (NbS)?

NbS are actions based on functioning ecosystems that deliver value to society by addressing societal challenges, and benefit nature.

3. What are natural climate solutions (NCS)?

NCS can be considered as Nature-based Solutions for climate. They have been defined as conservation, restoration, and/or improved land management actions to increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands.

4. Do all NbS fall within the definition of NCS?

NbS are likely to have an impact on climate, yet not all projects have an explicit impact on carbon emissions (e.g. coral reef protection that aims at reducing human activity degrading coral reefs).

5. How can we align and connect NbS and NCS?

Projects should consider NCS as NbS for Climate by fulfilling all three elements for NbS, i.e. actions based on nature that incorporate safeguards, providing benefits for nature with no net loss of biodiversity, and delivering societal value.

6. Can NbS and NCS have negative impacts on nature, biodiversity and society?

NbS and NCS could have negative impacts when designed or implemented poorly (e.g. an afforestation project introducing non-native species can sequester carbon emissions, but can also have adverse impacts on biodiversity, or increase the risk of wildfire).

7. How can companies ensure they are investing in high quality NbS projects?

All NbS projects should ensure, at a minimum, no net loss for nature and biodiversity, i.e. do no net harm. Any risk of adverse effect on these two dimensions should be correctly identified and mitigated through appropriate safeguards.

8. What kind of actions/projects are considered high quality NbS?

Ideally, any solution (whether NbS or NCS) should be positive for nature, climate and society, but at minimum good for one of these societal challenges, and not negative for the others.

9. What steps can a company take to achieve a nature positive future?

  • (1) Assess business relation with nature (dependencies, risks and opportunities)
  • (2) Contribute to the development of science-based targets for nature
  • (3) Engage in policy discussions e.g. CBD Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
  • (4) Invest in scalable high-quality NbS projects

10. What role does nature play in the climate agenda?

The twin crises of nature loss and climate change are inextricably linked. We will not achieve the Paris climate goals without Nature-based Solutions in the Food, land and oceans systems. Climate change has been identified (by IPBES) as one of the leading drivers of biodiversity loss. Addressing the climate emergency and nature loss need to be key parts of the future strategy to build forward better following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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