SDG #15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Society is based on biodiversity and the goods and services it provides for human well-being and for the provision of raw materials that provide greater material welfare. Over the past 50 years, through increased population growth and climate change, humans consumed and degraded biodiversity and ecosystems faster than ever in human history. All businesses, regardless of size, location or sector, depend on and have a direct or indirect impact on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) by its operations, supply chains or investment choices. Therefore, it is important for businesses to integrate BES into their practices and to participate in the sustainable and fair use and protection of BES.
Why should business support SDG15?
There is significant scope for business leadership on Goal 15. Leadership involves understanding and valuing natural ecosystems, ensuring that activities across internal operations and the value chain contribute to protecting ecosystems, and innovating and providing finance for protection and improvement of ecosystems. To achieve this, they can adopt the highest environmental standards and implement procedures to protect natural ecosystems that are affected by business and supply chain activities.
As drivers of innovation, companies can commit to research, development and use of new technologies to help decouple economic activity from the degradation of natural ecosystems. Businesses can lead by galvanizing finance to create awareness, protect, and further develop natural ecosystems. Furthermore, current economic structures tend to undervalue natural ecosystems leading to the disproportionate conversion of these systems for agricultural or urban development uses.
Yet there is no international ban on littering in the seas, but at the UN Climate Conference (UNEA) in Nairobi on December 6th, the world’s environment ministers signed a resolution on zero tolerance of plastic in our waters. UN Oceans Chief Lisa Svensson described the current state of plastic materials and their presence in the marine environment has reached “planetary crisis” levels, and made it clear that governments, businesses and individuals must work together to bring an end to plastic pollution to prevent more damage. Earlier, the UN has had a goal to significantly reduce litter in the water by 2025. Now, the long-term goal is zero plastic and litter in the oceans.
Businesses can play a key role in protecting ecosystems by innovation and finance protection
So, what can You and your company do?
Below I give you some examples of business actions that You and your company can take:
Implement policies and practices to protect natural ecosystems that are affected by business and supply chain activities.
A cosmetics company takes robust action to source its raw material from sustainable sources to ensure that its business does not contribute to deforestation; it has time-bound targets with the aim of being deforestation-free by 2020.
Research, develop, and deploy products, services, and business models to help decouple economic activity from the degradation of natural ecosystems.
A company develops fully biodegradable products and packaging, and promotes industry-wide adoption.
Galvanize finance to create awareness, protect, and further develop natural ecosystems.
A large commercial bank sets up a department specialized in environmental finance and helps structure and place a forest-backed bond that attracts more than $150 million in institutional investor financing.
Design and implement solutions to accurately value and respect natural capital, and drive wider adoption of these solutions.
A construction company adopts a biodiversity offset policy: if it is unavoidable to negatively affect a part of the natural habitat in one area, it creates an equivalent amount of natural habitat in another area, after consulting with the affected stakeholders and government authorities.
SDG Compass, UN Global Compact Industry Matrix, Global Opportunity Explorer, SDG Reporting – An Analysis of the Goals and Targets, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, Goal 13 Caring for Climate