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EWT AND BUSINESS FOR NATURE CALL ON COMPANIES TO HELP REDUCE NATURE LOSS IN THIS DECADE.

Dr Gabi Teren, EWT’s National Business and Biodiversity Network, Programme Manager gabit@ewt.org.za

Healthy societies, resilient economies, and thriving businesses rely on nature. The natural resources that power businesses are under huge strain and the private sector is a major contributor to nature’s depletion. The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN) has joined Business for Nature, a global coalition that brings together business and conservation organisations and forward-thinking companies. Together we amplify a powerful leading business voice calling for governments to adopt policies now to reverse nature loss this decade.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) recognised the need for a body to assist businesses to integrate biodiversity into their strategies and activities and established the NBBN in 2013, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs (now the Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries), and leading SA companies such as De Beers, Pam Golding Properties, Nedbank Limited, Hatch, Pick n Pay, and Transnet. In 2016, the list of NBBN partners grew to include Woolworths and Eskom. The NBBN aims to reduce the impacts businesses in South Africa have on nature by developing and disseminating relevant tools and guidelines to enable a more positive relationship with nature.

Businesses depend on a healthy planet to provide a stable operating environment, customers, and workforces, and the natural resources necessary for production – food, fibre, water, minerals, building materials, and more.

Nature also provides ecosystem services worth at least US$125 trillion/year globally, from which businesses benefit at no cost through, for example, waste decomposition, flood control, pollination of crops, water purification, carbon sequestration, and climate regulation. Losing nature means losing these services and creating extra costs and vulnerability for businesses. In fact, more than half of the world’s GDP – an estimated US$44 trillion of economic value generation – is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services.

Leading businesses are making ambitious commitments and taking decisive action for nature. Businesses have a critical role to play in reversing nature loss, protecting biodiversity, and preserving species, and business action is about more than a responsibility – there are real and material risks associated with nature’s decline.

Businesses that act now to achieve net-zero and become nature-positive across their value chains will gain a competitive advantage.

In October this year, a new global agreement on nature called the ‘Global Biodiversity Framework’ is due to be agreed at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Kunming, China. An ambitious, clear, implementable, and enforceable international agreement at COP15 will help realise nature’s true value to livelihoods, society and our economy.

But businesses cannot address this global crisis on their own. To accelerate action, governments must set ambitious nature and climate policies that provide direction and momentum. This gives the private sector clarity to unlock new business opportunities and creates a level playing field and stable operating environment. Hundreds of companies representing trillions in combined revenue are urging governments to adopt policies now to reverse nature loss through the Nature Is Everyone‘s Business Call to Action.

Whether you are a global corporate giant, an SMME or a sole practitioner, you can sign up your company today to the Call to Action, and join over 700 businesses from around the world who are calling for ambitious and collective action for nature. Companies of any size, location or industry can add their voice.

Sign up here: bit.ly/BfNCTA

For more information on the EWT’s National Biodiversity and Business Network, contact Gabi Teren GabiT@ewt.org.za