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Investment in nature must guide our work for a fairer, safer world

Realizing the promise of the SDGs — prosperity for all on a healthy planet — relies on sustaining healthy ecosystems and their services, and resourcing and empowering the people and communities best-placed to safeguard them. Earth Day is a moment to celebrate life in all its breathtaking diversity. It’s also a painful reminder that we are failing in our collective responsibility to live in harmony with nature.

Unlocking finance for nature must guide MDB reform

Eighteen months ago at COP26 in Glasgow, in the thick of the pandemic, ten leading multilateral development banks (MDBs) made a significant joint statement on nature, people and planet. Now is the time to deliver on these commitments — and to go further, by making unlocking and scaling finance for nature the raison d’être of long overdue MDB reforms. While there is broad consensus on the need for reform, shareholders at this week’s World Bank / IMF Spring Meetings have a clear opportunity to set its direction.

Four ways financial institutions can shape a nature-positive global economy

With a new landmark global agreement on nature directing governments to eliminate harmful subsidies, align financial flows with a nature-positive future, and require the private sector to disclose nature-related risks and opportunities, the smart money is on implementation and investment in nature. It may not be perfect but the long-anticipated Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) agreed last month finally recognises the urgent need to address the neglected side of the dual climate and nature crisis. As António Guterres put it recently in Davos, we must “stop our self-defeating war on nature”. The GBF’s goal of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030 finally provides the world with a lodestar for action on nature akin to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target for limiting global warming. And its implementation at national and sectoral level will require companies, financial institutions, and investors to act.

Business Action for a Nature-Positive World: Welcome to the Future

Nature is the next big sustainability frontier for business and finance. Almost every sector is exposed to nature-related risks in some way – either through suffering disruption to supply chains, markets, and society caused by environmental degradation, or through causing nature loss directly and losing finance and customers as a consequence. Worldwide, the potential collapse of ecosystem services such as pollination and timber threatens an annual decline in global GDP by 2030. This makes protecting and investing in nature an economic as well as a moral imperative.

Why business and finance should prioritise a nature-positive Amazon

A living Amazon is vital for global stability, not least because of its role in storing carbon and regulating global climate. It is also an ecosystem in grave peril. If there’s one place on the planet where we should prioritise the pursuit of equitable, net-zero, nature-positive business, revive cooperation in a fragmented world, and deliver on global climate and nature goals, it’s the Amazon.

To deliver the global economy we need, we must invest in nature

As the world gathers in Sharm El-Sheikh to focus on implementing the Paris Agreement, and soon after in Montreal to agree a new Global Biodiversity Framework, world leaders must scale investment in nature-based solutions and forge a new narrative of hope. Make no mistake, nature is unraveling, and climate and ecosystem breakdown are upon us. WWF’s Living Planet Report 2022 sets out the science. Global wildlife populations have plummeted by 69% on average since 1970, and unless we limit global heating to 1.5°C, climate change is likely to become the dominant cause of nature loss.

Opinion: The right to a healthy environment for everyone, everywhere

In the midst of compound environmental, socioeconomic, and security crises, the United Nations General Assembly has the chance this month to make history — by recognizing the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. This would not only fill a longstanding gap in the international human rights framework but, around the world, trigger greater pursuit of environmental action that delivers real benefits for people and the planet, and lays the foundations for lasting peace and prosperity.

How rattan farmers in Borneo are saving the forest and orangutans

Today, only around half of Borneo’s original rainforest cover remains. Indigenous Dayak communities could hold the key to its survival, with traditional rattan production a lifeline for local people, the forest and wildlife. In Katingan District in Central Kalimantan, WWF and IKEA are working with them for people and planet. Into the wild - Reaching the Kamipang water catchments area is a proper jungle journey into the heart of the peat swamp forest. Its final leg relies on narrow two-person canoes whose small smoky motors fizz and pop, protesting their load as they grind through shallow peaty canals at midnight. Headtorch beams penetrate the black, startling frogs and water skaters, and then surrender to flickering low voltage light, smiling faces and a broad dry deck. “We chose this place because it’s some of the last remaining peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan,” says Ibu Rosenda Chandra Kasih, WWF Programme Manager in Central Kalimantan. “It’s prime habitat for orangutans and a lot of other endangered wildlife.” Starting off as a field and community officer, Sendy, as she’s known to her team, is an indigenous Dayak and has worked with WWF in Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo for twenty years. The place is half a million hectares, recovering from historic illegal loggingv but its also home to around 6.000 orangutans.

How micro-enterprise is improving livelihoods in the Punjab

Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of thousands of cotton-growing communities in Pakistan. Together with WWF and IKEA, Khanewal locals Ramzana Bibi, Sarfaraz Bati and Irum Shehzadi are helping their communities fight back, through pioneering climate-resilient cotton production and developing micro-enterprise. Realising a dream - “We’re poor people,” says Ramzana Bibi. “I wake up at dawn, pray, wake up the kids, feed them and send them to school. Then I clean my house and go off to find work.” Ramzana is a cotton picker in Khanewal, a typical agricultural district in Punjab province which produces nearly 80% of Pakistan’s cotton. She lives with her husband, a casual labourer, and their four children in a one-room house in a small dirt yard between the local mosque and primary school. Every day from September to November, she picks cotton. It’s back-breaking work under hot sun and the rewards are slim – she makes around 200-300 rupees ($1.25-$1.90) a day for picking half a mound (20kg) – so in the off-season, she works as a maid or joins her husband, taking whatever work is available.

Transitioning to net-zero requires a nature-positive economy

There is growing global recognition that delivering the transition to net zero, tackling climate breakdown, and building lasting social, economic, and environmental resilience relies in no small measure on investing in nature and forging a global economy that is nature-positive as well as net zero. This is encouraging — but we currently have neither a North Star for action on nature akin to the Paris 1.5°C target for climate, nor the policies, incentives, or finance necessary to realize the nature-positive ambition.

For security and survival, business must go all-in on nature

Global supply chains rocked by climate change, the pandemic, and war in Ukraine are driving fuel, fertiliser, and food prices to all-time highs, threatening supplies of wheat and sunflower oil, and triggering a global food crisis. In responding to this perfect storm, governments and businesses must balance meeting immediate needs with creating the conditions for long-term stability, including tackling the climate emergency and nature loss. Government and business leaders meeting in Davos, Switzerland at the end of May must signal an all-in pursuit of food system transformation and nature-positive production, a foundation for which must be creating deforestation- and conversion-free supply chains.

Every Company Needs to Assess Its Nature-Related Risk

Nature Loss and Climate Change Are Two Sides of the Same Coin. In a piece of good news, the TNFD has released its first beta framework for managing and disclosing nature-related risk, offering highly practical 'how to' guidance for nature-related risk and opportunity analysis. Nature loss and climate change are two sides of the same coin, and the TNFD recommendations align with the now well-established Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

What We Need for Long-Term Peace and Prosperity

Russia’s war in Ukraine is a humanitarian catastrophe that violates the United Nations Charter and international humanitarian law, and has exacerbated socioeconomic and environmental crises around the world. It is also the latest manifestation of a global system that does not improve the human condition. Our imperfect responses to climate change, biodiversity loss, the COVID-19 pandemic, rising energy and food costs, and war reveal international systems in dire need of redesign.

Biodiversity: Why Should Business Care?

Unlike the climate crisis, biodiversity loss is just starting to get the attention it deserves. On a typical day, one minute I might find myself reading about the rescue of stranded dolphins by the Maio Biodiversity Foundation – a Cabo Verde conservation organisation I helped set up in 2011 – and the next, about 1,100 dolphins dying on French beaches. Extremes of hope and despair are common in conservation – and as conservationists, we need to find coping mechanisms. One of mine involves engaging business in finding solutions to biodiversity loss. But why is biodiversity so important?

Conservation must put people and rights front and centre

As we mark Human Rights Defenders Day (December 9th) and Human Rights Day (December 10th) at WWF, we are committed to delivering inclusivity in all our work, upholding and championing human rights, and supporting and protecting those who defend them for us all. Recognition of the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment at the Human Rights Council that took place in Geneva this October marked a significant step toward filling a longstanding gap in the international human rights framework.

Race to Zero: Biz Schools Must Supercharge Firm Engagement

By the end of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), countries responsible for over 80 percent of global CO2 emissions had made net-zero emissions commitments. But the Glasgow Climate Pact is no climate action thriller. It keeps alive the possibility of avoiding climate catastrophe by limiting global heating to 1.5°C, but only just. With climate-related business and financial risks growing, the private sector must now take the lead and fast-track the transition to a net-zero economy. Business schools need to furnish all sectors with the know-how and leadership to do this as quickly, fairly and effectively as possible.
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