The International Chamber of Commerce, WWF, We Mean Business, United Nations Global Compact, the IUCN, and Business for Nature sign letter calling on CEOs to work with governments to reverse nature loss
A coalition of influential international NGOs and business groups has today urged business leaders to "speak up for nature", as governments around the world craft recovery plans to the coronavirus crisis.
In an open letter published today and addressed to "CEOs everywhere", the Business for Nature campaign has called on corporates to encourage political leaders to embrace economic policies and packages that prioritise nature restoration. The group brings together a host of leading NGOs, including We Mean Business, WWF, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Indian Industry, and the United Nations Global Compact,
"The natural resources and ecosystems that power your businesses and underpin the economies and communities you are part of are under huge strain," the letter states. "The global pandemic has forced all of us to rethink the world we want to live in. Many of you have already shared and supported ideas for how we rebuild our economy and society. We now also need to emphasise that nature is the beating heart of a 'green recovery' and the foundation to 'build back better'."
With more than half of the world's GDP, or $44tn of economic value, exposed to risks associated with nature loss, business leaders have a huge incentive to champion the issue, the letter argues.
"Before coronavirus, the need to create more resilient economies and societies was clear, now it is inescapable," the campaigners warn. "Healthy societies, resilient economies and thriving businesses rely on nature."
Eva Zabey, executive director of Business for Nature, commended companies for their sustainability efforts to date, but stressed that the private sector must go further over the decade to come if the world is reverse continuing biodiversity loss.
"Many companies are already making nature a priority through the way they sustainably use natural resources across their supply chains, create clean jobs, and produce greener products," she said. "Now, those leadership efforts need to be scaled up through further voluntary action complemented by ambitious, transformative government policy.
"This is why we're calling on businesses to urge governments to take concerted action on nature loss. It's only with this that we will be able to build back better, creating healthy societies, resilient economies and thriving businesses."
Her comments were echoed by Diane Holdorf from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, who argued that "a focus on science-based targets and nature-based solutions will lay the groundwork for collective business action across the next decade".
"The post-Covid-19 recovery is our major opportunity to build back better," she added. "We need joint action from governments, business and civil society to ensure that we value nature in all of our choices and decisions"
Leaders from Danone, Unilever, AXA, Natura & Co, and Imagine have backed today's call to action.
To date, there has been strong support from the business community for an economic recovery plan that prioritises climate action. In early June, more than 200 British firms wrote a letter to the government urging it to align any stimulus package with its net zero emissions goal, recommending that taxpayer support should only go to firms that are committed to decarbonisation. And a few weeks before that, more than 150 multinationals - which together boast a market capitalisation of £2.4tr - signed a statement backed by the UN Secretary-General that asked global leaders to align Covid-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with science-based climate goals.
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