Let’s talk about the economic viability of investing in nature.
The business world, by its very nature, is a world prone to undergoing major upheavals and changes on a rather regular and sustainable basis. Be it the introduction of robots in the manufacturing sector that speeded up the production process. Or others that reduced the costs or the implementation of newer, more efficient technologies in supply-chain and logistics that cut many insignificant expenses – the changes have been transformative. However, when looked at closely, all of these changes have one unifying factor at their core that makes them successful – profit.
Nature-positive business models cannot come at the cost of a company’s profit.
As a professional who’s been active in the business world, and fortunate enough to work with businesses across their life cycles, I have come to realize the importance of adopting practices that lead to a nature-positive economy, ie businesses that add value to nature. And how the effort from the entire business ecosystem is needed to bring about a sustainable change.
A New Era of a Carbon-Conscious Community
The business world is once again at the cusp of a massive transformation, perhaps its most significant one yet, whose consequences would be felt for a long time.
For decades, the business world brushed aside the ideas and suggestions to implement sustainable measures or invest in green development, not because it didn’t recognize its importance but simply because the move wasn’t economically viable. The lack of preference for eco-friendly products and services in the customers merely reinforced this status quo.
Today, there is a general awareness among people to adopt products and services which impact positively towards nature.
The falling costs of renewable energy sources, coupled with the increasing preference for eco-friendly products in the consumers and the rising demands for companies to reduce their carbon footprint, have all come together and created a unique opportunity for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, a move that would not only provide significant environmental benefits but also tangible economic benefits.
In a report published by the World Economic Forum, experts predict that if the destruction of nature continues, as usual, it would have a huge impact on the economy and society at large. Globally, $44 trillion in GDP is potentially threatened by nature loss. The climate crisis is currently responsible for about 11 per cent and 16 per cent of biodiversity loss.
The potential for being environmentally conscious is enormous and has a measurable impact. The WEF report highlights opportunities towards a people and nature-positive development worth $10 trillion that could in turn create 395 million jobs by 2030.
The realization of the enormous financial advantages has spurred many companies to recalibrate their growth strategies and future development plans by putting green development at its centre. Many large corporates have broadly realized that transitioning to a nature-positive business model is in their interest. Leading manufacturer of packaging and graphic boards in South Asia, ITC has announced sustainable packaging solutions with the development of innovative B2B value-added paperboards. It covers environmentally sustainable, recyclable, and compostable materials.
P&G has also taken a step in its design to reduce its carbon footprint. The company announced a host of innovative products that can help save energy, water, and natural resources. Measures like optimization of detergent formulas for high efficiency at low temperature, cascade, and Fairy Automatic Dishwashing Tablets allow consumers to skip pre-wash and save water and the energy needed to heat the water. Such small steps will have a lasting impact.
Let’s Amplify These Voices
These are monumental changes made by huge corporations and must not go unnoticed. Their actions deserve to be amplified. It should inspire medium and small-sized organizations to follow suit. Concurrently, policy-makers must spur into action and incentivize the adoption of sustainable solutions at the grassroots. We cannot operate in silos. We have to join hands to make change happen for future generations.
With time, sustainable solutions will become the norm and help us to move towards a nature-positive economy. In September 2020, top automobile manufacturers faced a roadblock due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown. But Indian Railways provided them with an opportunity to ferry their commodities across the country in passenger train services. The industry has gradually utilized the vast network of Indian Railways to transport its vehicles.
This shift leaves a huge impact on the environment as transporting freight by train generates up to 80 per cent less CO2 and consumes 75-90 per cent less energy than road transport. The roads are also less clogged.
Change Can Be As Simple and Complex As We Make It To Be
It’s time for us to come together and think about the axis of the relationship between businesses and the economy. If we are to move towards sustainability, everyone has to come together. It cannot be one or two or even ten organizations. The exchange of knowledge among industry leaders – small and big – is crucial. Imagine the trickle-down effect of such a movement!
The onus is on the entire ecosystem. It’s on all of us.
Mr. Amit Banka, Founder, WeNaturalists
While working with Swades Foundation on holistic living projects in rural India, Amit Banka realized the need for mankind to coexist with nature, and more importantly, mankind’s dependence on it. The learnings from these interventions reinforced his belief that human interaction with nature needs to evolve to create a larger impact. This tremendously influenced his outlook towards creating WeNaturalists, an ecosystem of people from around the world, connected by their love for nature and enable them to explore new opportunities, collaborate on work and research, contribute to environmental causes, participate in global events, share knowledge, and learn new skills – all in one place.