This guide, produced by the World Economic Forum and the Climate Governance Initiative in collaboration with Deloitte, explores risks and opportunities related to nature loss and outlines key steps Chairs, non-executive directors and board members can take to incorporate nature as core to business strategy.
Nature is the foundation of human existence. Although businesses depend on nature for all activities, they undervalue and neglect it as an asset, leading to poor business decisions with respect to the natural world. Businesses face severe risks from nature loss, including lost biodiversity. A lack of action could result in soaring commodity prices, job losses, increased regulatory requirements, political instability and failure to achieve net-zero targets. By recognising the need to value and protect nature as core to business purpose, board members can help create greater value for all stakeholders, while reinforcing their organisation’s physical and commercial resilience.
All businesses rely on nature, either directly of indirectly. Approximately half of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) depends moderately or highly on nature, and without which it would not be possible to sustain the other half.
For some businesses, this connection with nature is obvious; for example, the agriculture industry’s reliance on pollination and soil quality. For others, the connection to nature appears less direct but may include inputs into manufacturing or through a workforce reliant on access to clean air and water.
This guide aims to help Chairpersons drive the conversation to ensure that board members understand the risks and opportunities to successfully – and responsibly – steward the business through the transition.
It is the fifth paper in the ‘Chairperson’s Guide to Climate’ series, which aims to educate corporate board members and help them become a catalyst for the incorporation of climate governance into business strategy in line with the World Economic Forum’s Principles for Effective Climate Governance.
The full series can be found here.