New paper analyses how using location-specific information can help improve business strategies

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28 July, 2022




Geneva, 28 July 2022 – The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), together with  Systemiq and the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP WCMC​), released a new whitepaper on Spatial intelligence & business: data application for a nature positive and net zero future analyzing how using location-specific information can help inform decision-making, transform & improve business strategies to achieve global nature and climate goals. 

Following the business roundtables on the road to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP 15, which focused on how to align business action with the CBD Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, WBCSD collaborated with Systemiq and UNEP WCMC to deliver this whitepaper that explains the role of spatial intelligence. 

Momentum is growing for action toward a nature-positive global economy to complement ongoing effort on net zero commitments under the Paris Agreement. However, taking action for nature is more complex than for net zero. Unlike greenhouse gas emissions /GHG), nature has multiple layers and is inherently location-specific. Therefore, as consensus builds on the need to recognize the ‘climate-nature nexus,’ location-specific, land- and seascape level approaches that include all stakeholders are needed to harmonize sometimes competing demands and ultimately deliver on global nature and climate goals.   

The importance of spatial intelligence is increasingly recognized in global goals and targets. For instance, spatial planning is ‘Target 1’ of the draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. From a business perspective, Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)’s v0.2 beta framework highlights the need for metrics and targets to align at “global, national, and local levels,” highlighting the importance of location-specific information (i.e. spatial intelligence) to inform decision making to support business to more effectively. 

“It is becoming increasingly apparent that location-specific data is key to unlocking the potential for integrating nature and climate action for business. In the land-use sector, investments in Nature-based Solutions in priority landscapes can help contribute to nature-positive and net-zero outcomes. High-quality spatial data and interoperable data platforms are critical needs for business to take action’” Tom Williams, Senior Director of Nature Action 

Spatial intelligence consists in using spatial (or ‘location-specific’) data, tools, analysis and visualization, to inform sound decision-making.  It can help businesses to: 

  • play a critical role in supporting national spatial planning processes to help mediate competing uses of, and rights to, land for agriculture, industry, infrastructure, nature conservation, etc;  
  • evaluate their impacts and dependencies on nature and assess related risks and opportunities;  
  • transform their business strategies and make robust commitments to support a nature positive, net zero economy; 
  • demonstrate eligibility to access green finance and related products; and  
  • assess and transform their operations and value chains to deliver on their commitments in line with those set out at the national and global levels.

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