How do nature-based solutions help create responsible and profitable businesses

Purpose and profit: The role of nature-based solutions in creating responsible businesses

10 Aug, 2022

How do nature-based solutions help create responsible and profitable businesses

Your business success depends on a great team, clear purpose, knowing your audience and strategic leadership. So much of our success is based on what we create, that it’s easy to overlook the natural world and its importance to our business. 

Nature provides everything from raw materials, energy, and pollination of food plants, to protection from floods. However, many of these ecosystem services are not recognised or valued financially, although they are critical to the future of most businesses. 

The

World Economic Forum

states that

“over half of global GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature”

and that

it underpins roughly $44 trillion of global output

- more than the US, China, and Japan's GDP combined.

Climate change and biodiversity loss are significantly disrupting economic activity

as a result of costly repairs, displacement of people, job loss, scarcity of natural resources, etc. 

However, there is a way of planning and ‘future-proofing’ your business. Businesses of all sizes are looking to become regenerative. A regenerative business factors impact on humanity and nature into all decision-making and strategic planning across the company. 

Walmart

, for example,

has committed to protecting, managing or restoring at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030

to help combat the cascading loss of nature threatening the planet. 

It’s clear that an increasing number of businesses understand the importance of investing in nature-based projects. This valuable climate solution helps profitability, reduces risks, and enables companies to thrive in a sustainable future. 

Beyond net zero: the background

Many countries, including the UK, have committed to

reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions

by 2050.

COP26

at Glasgow

outlined the way forward and put pressure on political and business leaders. Working towards climate goals requires technological fixes and regulation, but only focusing on the number of emissions leaves a gaping hole: it can overlook the ecosystem services and natural capital on which we all depend. 

That’s where nature-based solutions come in.

Nature-based solutions help you achieve your net zero goals

Kasigau Wildlife Corridor, Dryland Protection in Kenya

What are nature-based solutions? (NbS) 

NbS offers key benefits that help responsible businesses go beyond net zero. They address climate change, protect and enhance natural habitats and bring major benefits to people. As the

British Ecological Society explains,

“Nature can be our ally in tackling both climate change mitigation and adaptation, through processes such as carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, flood risk reduction, ecologically connected landscapes and better urban environments.” 

For example, a purely climate-focused model might be planting fast-growing conifers to lock-up carbon quickly. A nature-based solution would instead plant a broadleaf native woodland, knowing that it brings carbon benefits and provides a rich habitat for hundreds of species and a place of recreation for local people. In addition, the capital value of the woodland will be enhanced. 

But what does this mean for your business?

Risks of ignoring nature-based solutions

  • Regulatory pressure

Be under no illusion: the heat is on. Regulations and penalties are increasing as governments respond. This comes with increased requirements for transparency, for example of supply chains. Compliance is essential, but competitive advantage exists by being ahead of the curve. Proving you are climate positive today avoids panic in the future. 

  • Disclosure

Sustainability Disclosure Requirements

mean that

certain businesses must disclose their environmental impact so that consumers and investors know if they align with net zero

. Increasingly, information on sustainability strategies is required for business proposals and requests for proposals and grant applications.

Companies with a positive environmental and social footprint are receiving favourable market terms

. “Green" companies issuing debt have seen their issuances be 3.4x oversubscribed vs 3x for ordinary companies and have received advantageous rates compared to non-regenerative issuers. 

  • Future business risk 

If collectively we fail to act, longer-term business risks include resource scarcity, price surges, increased risk of natural disasters and other issues that will limit or prevent business continuity. Investors know that and will increasingly focus on organisations with greater environmental, social and governance factors. 

BlackRock

, the world's largest asset manager, with over $10 trillion in assets, now puts sustainability at the centre of its investment process. It has embedded ESG risk analysis across 100% of its portfolio risk reviews.

Sustainability-related risks are considered in the same structured investment risk management process as traditional risks

like credit or liquidity risk.

What are the benefits of investing in nature-based solutions?

Seaweed farming Innovation, Cornwall, UK

Benefits of investing in nature-based solutions

  • Positive stories to share with customers 

Increasingly, consumers are asking about sustainability, supply chains and carbon footprints. What a plus for your brand to say you go above and beyond as a climate-positive organisation! Explain the mangrove planting that has happened thanks to your company, or share that elephants benefit from dryland forest protection in Kenya, enabled through your partnership with Earthly. Remember,

most consumers are prepared to pay more if a product has reliable green credentials

. Earthly customers like

SThree

and

Artemis

leverage our

engaging dashboards

and 3D visualisations to show the impact of their climate journey. 

  • Exceed employee expectations

Working for a company that does good and really cares can be a motivating factor. It helps sell your organisation, making recruiting the very best employees easier. At least 12 peer-reviewed studies have shown that

many job seekers are attracted to organisations with sustainable practices

.

  • Can help with working towards accreditation

Earthly Climate Positive Accreditation

requires you to remove 110% of your current footprint. We guide you through the process, supporting nature and reducing carbon. NbS can also assist with working towards the prestigious

B-Corporation

standard.


5 best practices when investing in nature-based solutions

Mangrove Restoration, Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar

Advice for seeking nature-based solutions

  • Work only with trusted providers

The last thing you want is to be accused of greenwashing! Seek out experienced, proven projects, ideally approved by independent scientific advisors and with solutions that can be verified by satellite. Get some ideas

here

  • Provide evidence that shows impact

Regular reporting is essential and ensures that you can see and measure the positive impact you create. Companies like SThree, Imagin Bank and Envison leverage Earthly’s immersive platform to help their employees, customers, and stakeholders easily understand and share their impact. This level of information is vital to enable you to

offer full transparency

to all stakeholders and to ensure cost-effective results.

  • Bring your colleagues along on the journey

Choosing the right solution for your responsible business in a team effort. To help your colleagues understand the value of nature-based solutions, we’ve created an ebook:

Unpacking Nature-Based Solutions

Finally... Integrate sustainability into your business model

You are specialists in what you do, and we are specialists in climate solutions. Work with us to balance profit and purpose, and bring multi-layered benefits to people, biodiversity and planet. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you prepare your business for a climate-positive future with our certification programs and automated solutions.