AUTHORS: Zuzana Lukacova, Gabrielle Aubert with contributions from Evelyn Underwood and Antoine Oger in partnership with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
This briefing highlights the importance of a robust and effective Nature Restoration Law for businesses to scale up their investment and action for nature restoration. Drawing on concrete business examples from Corporate Leaders Group Europe members, the research demonstrates that companies can achieve nature restoration in line with the Nature Restoration Law objectives while maintaining their business operations.
Examples include restoring river connectivity carried out by EDF (Électricité de France S.A.) or restoring EU priority habitats and species in and around Natura 2000 site carried out by Cemex Spain.
The briefing points to the crucial importance of involving the business sector in nature restoration and the economic and social benefits such restoration will bring. It points out that the decline of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe presents material, regulatory, reputational, and market risks for companies not engaging in nature restoration. Nature restoration can on the other hand create market-based opportunities for businesses to develop services and products supporting restoration, for example, the work of Cemex Spain with the University of Barcelona to develop innovative quarry restoration techniques that improve water retention and water quality. Businesses can also benefit from operation-based opportunities which improve their internal practices and create co-benefits. For example, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is aiming to replenish 100 per cent of the water used in its finished beverages to protect and reinstate watersheds that also foster biodiversity and contribute towards secure access to water. Restoration also facilitates creation and maintenance of employment as shown on the example of EDF’s restoration of the Romanche river valley which brought many benefits for local businesses, mobilised numerous local employees and promoted economic dynamism and employment in the region.
In the briefing, the Corporate Leaders Group and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) make the following recommendations:
- Businesses should commit to ambitious nature action, that includes nature restoration as part of a wider nature, climate and sustainability strategy. Within this strategy, assessing nature related risks will help contribute to businesses’ future resilience.
- The business sector can play a significant role in shaping the National Restoration Plans set by governments by engaging in the planning process. Companies can get actively involved in the process, bringing their own expertise and helping to deliver the socio-economic benefits from nature restoration.
- Businesses should engage with local and regional stakeholders to increase public support for nature restoration, while also enhancing their own reputation. Sustained engagement and collaboration between businesses and civil society and experts can help deliver the wider benefits of nature restoration.
- Create an enabling policy framework for nature restoration – as set out in the EU’s proposed Nature Restoration Law. Providing a predictable legal environment, together with ambitious legal targets, will help businesses engage in nature restoration.
- Ensure the right levels of funding and investment for nature restoration. A stable legal framework will help deliver this, with businesses playing a key role in nature investment. Companies can engage in public–private partnerships and explore blended finance for nature restoration.
IEEP partnered with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) in producing this briefing with the Corporate Leaders Europe Group, a group of companies who aim to ‘lead from the front’ in support of a climate-neutral economy, and who have expressed their support for an ambitious EU Nature Restoration Law.