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The use of nature-based solutions to reduce the impacts of and adapt to climate change has received a lot of attention in recent years. A few years ago, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) even stated that nature-based solutions could help to achieve 37% of required emission reductions. Despite being a major subject of discussion, nature-based solutions have gotten insufficient attention and investment. But why is that exactly?
We know trees are an efficient "technology" for capturing carbon and that regenerative agriculture works to restore nature. However, despite pledges to develop supply networks without engaging in deforestation, forest degradation continues at a startling rate.
Nature is a potent weapon at our disposal to confront this global issue. And businesses across the world need to get together and not only restore nature but also remove carbon to ultimately reverse climate change.
Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a group of practices used to maintain and restore ecosystems while addressing social issues and protecting both human well-being and biodiversity.
NbS function by either reducing greenhouse gas emissions (such as by preventing deforestation) or enhancing carbon storage (such as by planting trees).
It's pretty simple when you think about it. You can either minimize your negative impact on nature or actively give back to nature.
Nature-based solutions include
Restore an area of land to its natural uncultivated state)
(Integration of trees into crop and/or livestock production)
The successful Eden Reforestation Project that we supported here at Earthly is a great example of a nature-based solution.
planted over 334 million mangrove trees across 8 countries and created over 3.3 million workdays for the locals.
Why mangroves? Because mangroves are brilliant! Not only do they store more carbon than typical forests, but they also serve coastal people by protecting them from storms, filtering their water, and generating income. Over the course of its lifetime, a mangrove tree eliminates about 308 kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, that's equivalent to 765 miles driven by an average car. Now, that is pretty amazing!
A lot of it! Researchers can determine how much "mitigation potential" nature-based remedies have using integrated evaluation models. According to several analyses, that amount is comparable to 10–12 billion tonnes of CO2 (GtCO2e) a year, which would be sufficient to lower peak warming by around 0.3C, according to
, the director of the
at the University of Oxford.
The table below is compiled research on natural climate change mitigation strategies. Potential for annual mitigation until 2030 (orange) and 2050 (green), as well as the total potential between 2020 and 2050, are indicated by shading (blue). International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Environment Programme as sources (2021).
The truth is that our planet and environment have suffered harm for 200 years, and although there isn't a single solution to undo the damage, we can collectively make a positive impact – so we can leave the earth better than we found it.
As the pressure to shift to net zero rises, businesses need a sustainability strategy that outlines how they will be reducing their carbon footprint in accordance with global standards.
While measuring, monitoring and managing emissions incur expenses, there are also apparent financial benefits to reducing emissions. Energy efficiency improvements can provide significant returns on investment for any organisation, even small and medium-sized enterprises.
1) Analyze your company's relationship with nature (dependencies, risks and opportunities)
2) Develop science-based goals for nature that will benefit from your contribution.
3) Take part in policy discussions
4) Make investments in scalable, high-calibre NbS initiatives.
There are many things that we can all do to contribute to the fight against climate change — and promote sustainability for both our businesses and ourselves. Businesses should actively investigate nature-based solutions on a regular basis because they are frequently overlooked due to their novelty.
can be implemented immediately, making a positive impact on the global economy and environment.
When we take small steps every day, there is no telling what great things may be accomplished as a result. And if enough people make becoming climate-positive their goal, we will one day create a more sustainable world in which companies can continue to do business while regenerating nature.