Even as an organisation that deals with biodiversity on a daily basis, we often have to remind ourselves that, in the age of smartphones, Amazon Prime and Microsoft Teams, we are still as much a part of nature as the flamingos you may have seen on “A Perfect Planet”. Yet, these species with which we share this planet are declining at an alarming rate; current extinction rates are up to 1,000 times higher than the natural background level and accelerating. The problem is obvious – overexploitation of the natural world imperils our resilience to climate change, energy security, a secure food system, and puts us at greater vulnerability to pandemics.
Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta tackles this question in his review ‘The Economics of Biodiversity’. Funded by HM Treasury, this report arrives ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 and comes with the stark message that prosperity has been costing our planet more than we think. At its heart, the review proposes acknowledging nature as an asset and rethinking our use of GDP as the primary measure of economic value.
Many businesses have already integrated climate change into their business strategy through Net Zero commitments and Science-Based Targets. Businesses should take the publication of this review as a siren; you will need to step up and address your biodiversity impacts. Not as an add on or a nice to have, but as something central to your sustainability strategy.
Getting this right will require measured, transformative change, underpinned by global collaboration, political will, and technological innovation. Businesses must play their part. In an era of just-in-time supply chains, maybe we are also just-in-time to protect the natural world.
more than a word.