Big businesses urge EU to save beleaguered Nature Restoration law

Big businesses including Nestle, Unilever and Ikea are imploring EU lawmakers to press ahead with a new policy package that will legally commit the bloc to ending the destruction of nature and working towards nature restoration.

Big businesses urge EU to save beleaguered Nature Restoration law

Pictured: Fjord Geirangerfjord, Norway

The EU’s Nature Restoration law was first tabled in June 2022. If adopted, it will mark the first time that the bloc has legally-binding targets to reverse biodiversity loss.  The law proposes that restoration measures are to be implemented on at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and repair all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

It has been argued that the swift passage of the law will be essential for the EU’s ability to align with the UN’s biodiversity treaty through to 2030, which was agreed in Montreal late last year.

However, the law has faced major opposition from EU member states that are highly economically dependent on farming, including Ireland. There are worries about whether restoring nature at scale will encroach on farmland or land currently used for other means. Some other countries have also expressed concerns about the administrative burden of delivering and monitoring nature restoration schemes.

Environment Ministers have agreed to meet in Luxembourg later this month to agree on a common position, following months of in-fighting.

Ahead of this crucial meeting, two statements have been issued from the private sector, each with the backing of more than 45 businesses. They both argue that the law needs to be saved to prevent unprecedented economic losses from nature-related risks in the future.

The first statement, with 58 corporate signatories, states: “nature is our business, our future, our life”. Signatories include Nestle, Danone, Cemex, Coca-Cola Europe, H&M Group, Salesforce and Velux.

A second letter, signed by 48 businesses, has also been sent to EU lawmakers. Signatories include Unilever and Ikea. It states: “businesses and financial institutions depend on nature and have a vital role to play in conserving and restoring nature and transitioning to a nature-positive economy. Action at the scale and speed necessary can only take place if supported by ambitious environmental policies and regulations that transform our economic, fiscal, and legislative systems”.

WWF helped to co-ordinate the second letter. The NGO’s senior biodiversity policy officer for Europe, Sabien Leemans, said: “Progressive businesses join a long list of stakeholders calling for a strong Nature Restoration Law, including citizens, NGOs, the scientific community and other business networks.

“The Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States must listen to these calls and deliver legislation that Europe desperately needs, fit for tackling both nature and climate crises. Despite shameful attempts to present nature restoration as the enemy of farmers, fishers or renewable energy development, this statement is a reminder that we all need resilient ecosystems for our economic activities, human health and the planet.”

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