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“Build back better”: Business for Nature’s Plea to Reverse Nature Loss

Business for Nature held their major global leadership event urging people to join their ‘Call to Action’ in reversing nature loss and building back better from the effects of COVID-19.
The first major global leadership event to discuss reversing nature loss was held on Monday 15th June 2020, hosted by Paul Polman, co-founder of IMAGINE, and Tian Wei, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and news anchor. Held by Business for Nature, the event was a ‘Call to Action’ to reverse nature loss, telling all in attendance that “nature is everyone’s business”.

Through inspiring and insightful speakers, the event showed how integrating business and sustainability will encourage economic growth, whilst reversing the impact of nature loss. The event encouraged companies and experts alike to “build back better” from the effects of COVID-19. The speakers urged everyone to learn from their mistakes highlighted by the coronavirus crisis, whilst making this decade the ‘decade of action’.

As cited in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, this next decade is the ‘decade of action’ in terms of tackling climate change. Business for Nature’s event echoes this goal and through the use of a collective voice and action aims to grab the attention of governments to implement policies to tackle nature loss. Host Paul Polman’s inspiring speech showed the importance of nature in policymaking, saying: “we need to get nature-based solutions higher on the agenda. We need to give it more priority than it gets today”.

Business for Nature’s passionate event answered two fundamental questions; what must we learn from COVID-19 to build back better and how are businesses showing leadership on nature? The answers to these questions emphasized the gravity of nature in business, inspiring others to implement nature-focused goals in their own companies.

Building back better from COVID-19
Starting with key talks from experts, the event reflected on the current health crisis and lessons learnt that should be applied in the context of the planetary crisis of climate change and the loss of nature. Each expert answered the question; what must we learn from COVID-19 to build back better?

One key theme which ran through many of the talks in the event is the importance of connectedness and togetherness in terms of building back better from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Co-Chair of the Global Commission for the Economy and Climate and Special Envoy to Mobilize International Economic Support for Continental Fight Against COVID-19, said in her speech:

“As we build back better we must solve these problems together. That is a big lesson. All of us, whether we are government, business or private sector, civil society we have to solve them together.”

Okonjo-Iweala’s address to those attending urged people to understand the interconnectivity of natural resources, and showed how “we cannot solve the problems of the world in an isolated fashion”. Reinforcing the idea of connectedness, Okonjo-Iweala’s inspiring voice emphasized the importance of coming together to “build back better”.

Similarly, the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa stated: “the overwhelming lesson from COVID-19 is that we must build a cleaner, safer, healthier, more sustainable, more resilient and more climate-friendly future” and hopes “we have the will of all people to overcome this crisis”.

Espinosa’s speech, like Okonjo-Iweala’s, expressed the need for collective action, something which was passionately discussed by many of the experts who spoke at the event.

Not only did the event push the importance of connectedness and a collective voice, Joaquim Levy, Fellow of Steyer Taylor Institute at Stanford University and Former Minister of Finance of Brazil, also highlighted the need for the private sector to integrate nature into all its decision making to “build back better” from the effects of COVID-19.

Levy stated: “investors are increasingly saying that it is all about understanding the facts that these changes will have on business,” encouraging business owners to invest in nature as part of a green recovery.

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