What is nature positive?

Nature positive is an evolution in sustainability and comes with a new mindset that is pro-active and transformative. To achieve long-term stability in supply chains and production bases, businesses and financial institutions are looking to reorient sustainability strategies in ways that contribute to the regeneration and recovery of nature. By taking a positive stance toward its recovery, we can bend the curve on nature loss and create resilient, sustainable businesses that deliver for people and planet.

The G7, the Leaders' Pledge for Nature, conservation coalitions, the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, business advocacy groups – the list of organisations putting nature and nature positive at the heart of the sustainability agenda is growing. The nature positive framing of the emerging 2030 global biodiversity targets is an area business will want to note.

What does nature positive mean for business?

Nature positive puts nature at the centre of business decision-making, in the same way as financial returns and human wellbeing. Climate and nature are now serious societal priorities that require a similar effort to the transformation in health and safety achieved by the private sector in previous decades.

Going carbon neutral includes transforming business strategy and processes, reducing GHG emissions, and investing in compensatory measures such as natural climate solutions. In the same way, going nature positive includes considering company processes, activities, and strategy to identify opportunities that achieve positive outcomes for nature and long-term business sustainability.

Nature positive encompasses the broadest suite of mitigation and compensation activities you are already doing or can build into your business. It includes traditional quantitative / compliance approaches, but also voluntary and qualitative conservation investments. It is not limited to managing impacts on Critically Endangered species or areas of high biodiversity value, but can incorporate actions to promote a healthy natural environment in the spaces where we live and work.

The building blocks of nature positive business

By establishing and following a process that enables you to understand where and how a company impacts and depends on nature – and the positive actions it can take – you can begin developing a nature positive approach best suited to your business needs and nature-related risks. This will typically begin by mapping the value chain to identify key nature risks, and ideally include quantifying the biodiversity footprint and using this to set your strategy.

There are a range of potential actions open to companies, including regenerative agriculture, wildlife-friendly farming, procurement options, nature-based solutions, zero deforestation, setting a science-based target for nature, circular economy initiatives and biodiversity net gain for direct footprints.

The list of these activities is always changing and expanding, involving the transformation of business models and processes to orient a company in a positive direction. In other words, nature positive is a creative journey for a company.

The shift toward nature positive is an opportunity for real change, but it is essential that it delivers tangible and measurable outcomes for the natural world if it is to avoid becoming the latest sustainability buzzword. Lessons learned from other initiatives and approaches in the field of business and biodiversity show us that when identifying what nature positive means for your business, it is vital to include several fundamental principles.

Starting a nature positive journey does not tie a company to all listed activities, nor does it mean committing to externally set targets. What it shows is that a company is taking a path that aligns with an overall positive approach to the natural environment – similar to how it aligns with an overall zero harm approach to health and safety. The aim is to deliver overall positive outcomes for nature and its contribution to human wellbeing.

Governments, financiers, staff and stakeholders are all asking about the business impacts on nature. Nature positive – done right – can provide the answer.

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