Report: Nature restoration can unlock €1.8bn in benefits for EU businesses

The ENVI committee vote takes place on 29 November

This is based on the research convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. The Leaders Group comprises industry giants such as Coca Cola, Salesforce, Unilever, EDF Energy and Iberdrola.

Corporate Leaders Group Europe’s director Ursula Woodburn said: “We know that healthy ecosystems are in jeopardy. As policymakers respond to this crisis, business leaders are increasingly asking what the evolving nature agenda means for them.

“In the context of the European Green Deal and the EU Nature Restoration Law, CLG Europe is demonstrating practical steps organisations can take to restore nature in their operations – and we hope more and more businesses will follow suit.”

The report comes after the recent close vote on the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) in the European Parliament, as part of the Green Deal.

The law mandates an EU-wide objective to implement nature restoration measures on a minimum of 20% of EU land and sea by 2030, and for all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

Specific targets are also set for agricultural, forest, and urban ecosystems.

Despite some contention in the European Parliament regarding the NRL’s passage, the report urges the EU to establish a policy framework that presents ambitious legal targets to incentivise business engagement.

One of the report’s key points underscores the imperative need for the EU to secure the necessary levels of investment to drive nature restoration forward.

This involves funding to ensure a consistent supply of goods, such as business programs that encourage sustainable farming practices, or opportunities for businesses to invest in nature restoration as part of broader initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality.

Salesforce’s climate action vice president Tim Christophersen said: “Nature is becoming a priority for companies, including for comprehensive climate action.

“Nature and climate are interdependent and we can’t address one without the other – we welcome that more businesses and governments are making commitments and investments with this in mind.”

Businesses in action

The report builds on two examples of businesses engaged in nature restoration including EDF Energy, which is restoring riverbanks at its Romanche-Gavet facilities in southern France, in a bid to plant local species and add a fish pass to aid spawning.

The other example includes Cemex, a multinational building materials company, which is improving water quality at its Pastor clay quarry in Spain. Cemex is reshaping clay terraces to blend with the landscape and creating a wetland habitat for wildlife.

In the UK, some 60 nature organisations have called for the Government to intervene to protect and restore habitats, after a comprehensive wildlife analysis recently concluded that one in six species are at risk of extinction.

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