Business and ecosystems are linked. Companies affect ecosystems because they rely on the provisioning services (e.g. freshwater, fiber, food) and regulatory services (e.g. climate regulation, flood control, water purification) ecosystems provide.
60% of the world’s ecosystem services have been degraded over the past 50 years and we continue devaluing our natural resources at an alarming rate. Estimates indicate that 2-5 trillion USD of ecosystem services are lost each year from deforestation alone. While many of the effects are felt locally first, the long-term consequences are global and the scale is highly relevant to business, presenting risks and opportunities.
To retain the integrity and vitality of natural resources today and for future generations and to ensure long-term socio-economic growth and prosperity, sustainable management of land is key. Business can directly contribute to this SDG by measuring, managing and mitigating its impact and dependence on land and ecosystems. Companies can implement strategies to incentivize sustainable land use, responsible forest management and environmental stewardship. To secure supply of natural resources and raw material in the future, companies will also have to increase efforts to restore degraded land. By scaling up research and development in innovation, investing in natural infrastructure and implementing responsible sourcing policies, companies play an integral part in preserving and restoring vital ecosystems, promoting the sustainable use of land and forests, while retaining consumer confidence in their product offerings.