How the real economy is converging to put nature at the heart of the Race to Zero

By Climate Champions | December 8, 2023

As the world convenes at COP28, a resounding theme emerges: the critical role of nature in our survival and prosperity. Set against the Global Biodiversity Framework, the conference underscores that nature – restored, protected, and inclusively managed – is not just an environmental asset but a cornerstone for economic and social resilience. Nature-based Solutions (NbS) like forests and mangroves are crucial, offering a third of the emissions reductions needed by 2030 and underpinning over US$44 trillion of global GDP. These solutions also have the potential to generate 400 million jobs by 2030.

The High-Level Champions, as part of our Nature-Postive for Climate Action campaign, are calling on companies, cities, financial institutions, and regions to integrate nature in their climate transition plans and to invest in NbS in line with the nature criteria and leadership practices of Race to Zero, and contributing to the Sharm el Sheikh Adaptation Agenda and the 2030 Breakthroughs.

Discover some of the initiatives to date:

Cities & Regions

  1. Yucatan, Mexico: The state’s vast forest area, constituting 75 percent of its territory, played a crucial role in climate mitigation by absorbing 15 million tonnes of CO2 in 2018. The “Arborizing Yucatan” project significantly contributes to this achievement, focusing on reforestation and carbon sequestration.
  2. Melbourne, Australia: The city’s Urban Forest Fund encourages homeowners to implement NbS on their properties. This initiative supports new greening projects, including green spaces, tree planting, and biodiversity projects, enhancing Melbourne’s urban green cover.
  3. Pará, Brazil: Pará announced a US$232 million bioeconomy plan aimed at transforming the state into a carbon-neutral region. This plan focuses on job creation and environmental preservation through sustainable practices that incorporate traditional and indigenous knowledge.

Finance

  1. Aviva Investors: Integrating nature and biodiversity into their net zero strategy, Aviva Investors have committed £100 million to remove carbon from the atmosphere using NbS, working with major conservation groups in the UK, Canada, and Ireland.
  2. RobecoSAM: The asset management firm’s thematic biodiversity investment strategy targets companies positioned for a biodiverse future, acknowledging biodiversity as a critical investment opportunity.
  3. Schroders: Schroders has taken a stand against deforestation and for biodiversity protection. They align with SBTN targets and have published a Group Nature and Biodiversity Position Statement, reflecting their commitment to environmental management.
  4. AXA Group: AXA Group’s commitment to green investments totals €25.1 billion, with a focus on sustainable forestry. Their goal is to invest €1 billion in forests by 2023, emphasizing the role of nature in their investment strategy.

Businesses

  1. General Mills: Engaging in regenerative agriculture, General Mills has more than 235,000 acres under this practice, with an aim to expand to one million acres by 2030. This constitutes about 30 percent of its farming supply chain.
  2. Nestlé: Nestlé’s approach includes sourcing 20 percent of its key ingredients from regenerative agriculture by 2025, with an aim to increase this to 50 percent by 2030. Additionally, they have committed to reducing methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
  3. Danone: Demonstrating leadership in reducing greenhouse gases, Danone has made a commitment to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, with notable progress already made.
  4. Unilever: With its Climate Transition Action Plan, Unilever is focusing on halving food waste in their operations by 2025. They also aim to protect and regenerate 1.5 million hectares of land by 2030, emphasizing the synergy between nature conservation and climate action.
  5. Salesforce: In April 2023, Salesforce released a Nature Positive Strategy, supporting their Climate Action Plan. This strategy focuses on reducing impacts on nature, leading on nature restoration at scale, and accelerating customer success in the nature positive movement.
  6. Dr. Bronner’s: Dr. Bronner’s climate action strategy is multifaceted, focusing on improving agricultural practices, rethinking plastic use, and enhancing the livelihoods of farmers and suppliers globally.
  7. SSE: SSE’s biodiversity strategy presents a novel approach to nature-based retrofitting in real estate, with measurable targets for Biodiversity Net Gain across existing assets and future developments.
  8. CGI: Partnering with Project Seagrass, CGI supports marine restoration and preservation work, highlighting the importance of aquatic ecosystems in climate resilience.
  9. CEMEX: The CEMEX El Carmen Nature Reserve, spanning over 140,000 hectares, demonstrates effective ecosystem recovery and biodiversity conservation. This reserve, once a site of mining and forestry, is now a haven for diverse flora and fauna.
  10. Guayakí Yerba Mate: Committed to sustainable agriculture and the regeneration of the Atlantic Forest, Guayakí has achieved its mission to steward and restore 200,000 acres of this vital ecosystem, creating nearly 1,000 jobs in the process.

Universities

  1. Swansea University: Focusing on using university spaces for biodiversity and carbon sequestration, Swansea University is involved in peatland restoration and habitat improvement projects, contributing significantly to regional environmental conservation efforts.

 

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