Following the events of the “Pledge for Nature” in September 2020, as portrayed in Almond’s Nature4Climate article, it’s safe to say that the nature-based solutions related to biodiversity and forest preservation has taken a new and improved course. As there is a more scientific knowledge and understanding surrounding the matter, there is also a growing support that comes with it, both from the private entities and the public sector.
The goal of nature-based actions following the Pledge for Nature is to increase the ambition and support towards the defunding of deforestation and the preservation of our planet’s biodiversity. Those governments involved in the Pledge for Nature have started to become more ambitious, as they believe that through the support of nature-positive recovery initiatives, not only will it help the recovery of nearly-loss ecosystems, but it will also be good for the country’s economy, as it will boost the nation’s income, employment rate and their GDP.
The private sector has also joined in with environmentally-friendly based solutions, through financial support, partnerships, or developing technology. Companies worldwide have started to take action, as it is widely seen that it’s not enough to simply do “less harm” but “more action” instead. It is now a request that they look beyond the reduction of their own operational carbon footprint and seek long-term solutions that can also be perceived as economically beneficial for all parties.
The market’s role is crucial in every field, including the environmental one. If done properly, it can have a great effect on nature-based and science-bases solutions related to environmental conservation. As it has already been proven, if big companies start taking more action, then there will be a higher demand which will help environmental mitigation. Typically, the most effective way in which corporations will continue to actively participate in nature-based solutions is through science-based approaches, by leveraging ways which new technology and partnerships sever supply chains that involve extensive amounts of deforestation. These methods can be achieved by increasing the transparency and traceability of these operations, which can be adapted to most corporations, as shown my Olam and Mars.
As of now, the levels of climate financing that nature-based solutions are receiving, are not comparable with the challenges that these issues are facing, even though the spending of public financing regarding nature-based solutions increased by 8% between 2017-2018. Although this is a significant process, there is much more to be done in order to unseal the full economic and environmental potential that nature-based solutions regarding deforestation.
Public sector and corporations
The World Resources Institute states for instance that, for every $1 that is invested in restoring land and other nature-based solutions, it can have a return between $7 and $30 in economic benefits. Many major corporations across the globe have shown that by taking a financial stand against deforestation, it can have a positive economic outcome for the company. Another example of diversifying a corporations’ funds in order to support nature-based solutions include the overseas development that can better align with both the company’s and nature goals. Both the private and public sector have to recognise the material risks that involve these actions, as they are essentially helping to defund deforestation, aligning their corporate agendas with the Paris Agreement.
The most effective way to apply nature-based solutions is through the conservation of ecosystems, as they are irreplaceable. Due to different legislations and other issues involved, this option might not be available to everyone, therefore the second most effective approach for forest conservation is reforestation. The latter should not be perceived as a final solution, but as a counter action to cutting fossil fuels and preserving the ecosystem and its local communities.
Furthermore, the UN has warned that the world is not adapting swiftly enough for climate change impacts. A recent article by the Independent stated that, albeit having the vast majority of nations reinforcing their plans to combat climate change, there is a clear lack of funding for developing countries to fully take part in these actions. By supporting projects and actions that boost the reforestation of certain areas, especially in developing countries, not only does one support their local communities, but it also helps protect their Indigenous communities and their ecosystems.
Lastly, it is of the utmost importance to recognise the significance of forest conservation, reforestation and the effect deforestation and natural ecosystems have on local communities and Indigenous Peoples, as it belongs to their heritage, safety net and even livelihoods. Many communities around the world suffer first-hand the effects of deforestation and we, as a community always have room to improve in order to help preserve these ecosystems.