The UN defines Nature-based Solutions, or NbS, as “actions to protect, conserve, restore, sustainably use and manage natural or modified terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems”. They go on to note that all NbS “address social, economic and environmental challenges effectively and adaptively, while simultaneously providing human well-being, ecosystem services, resilience and biodiversity benefits.” From a business perspective, this means that NbS can solve both societal and company challenges by enabling ecosystems to thrive, delivering a wide range of services to nature (IUCN), people (UNEP/ILO/IUCN), and climate (IPCC). At WBCSD, our members work together to understand the many facets of NbS, how to recognise its true value to a company, and how best to finance and deliver NbS.
As noted in WBCSD’s Vision 2050: Time to Transform, unprecedented global risks and crises continue to build: we are facing a perfect storm in the form of a climate emergency, nature in a state of crisis, and mounting inequality and social unrest. Nature-based Solutions, when designed well and delivered well, offer positive impacts on all three – but achieving this at scale is not straightforward. Recognising and measuring the different sources of value provided by NbS is challenging, and making a case for investment relies upon this step.
The Climate agenda is rapidly gaining momentum; the Nature agenda is not far behind, and a common approach on Equity action will likely follow. New regulations (such as the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) and independent bodies (like Science Based Targets for Nature) are pushing businesses to act. As highlighted in The Climate Drive and the Nature Positive Roadmaps, among other work, our current situation is creating new strategic priorities even as it highlights risks and opportunities tied to companies’ impacts and dependencies on natural ecosystems. The value add differs from one Nature-based Solution to another, but many NbS can deliver for multiple strategic priorities (e.g. Nature and Climate) while offering risk mitigation and opportunity creation (e.g. through improved performance from value chain partners).
The objective of this workstream is to enable implementation and investment in Nature-based Solutions at scale. In order to achieve this, members work together to identify the challenges facing businesses who are looking to deploy NbS, and share tools and approaches they have used to make progress. Importantly, this includes how companies can collaborate with each other and their value chain partners, as well as a network of experts and other initiatives working in the NbS space. Working within and alongside frameworks such as The Climate Drive and the Nature Positive Roadmaps, this enables companies to integrate NbS within their action on Climate, Nature, and Equity.