Ecosystems are the web of life on Earth and provide us with priceless benefits. People and planet are only as healthy as the ecosystems we all depend on. Our planet’s ecosystems are today threatened by climate change, nature loss, overexploitation and deadly pollution. Unless we take transformative actions to protect and restore our ecosystems, we will not only destroy the landscapes we love, but also weaken the foundation of our very own well-being.
This year’s World Environment Day marks the launch of United Nation’s (UN) Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The theme this year, Ecosystem Restoration (ER), aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems in every continent and in all the oceans. Scientific studies and data have clearly established that the three major crises – climate, biodiversity and land degradation are the areas of immediate attention for Government & Industry and transformative actions are required to limit the global temperatures below or at 1.50 C to stop nature loss by 2050.
Businesses are more dependent on nature than previously thought, with approximately USD 44 trillion of economic value generation moderately or highly dependent on nature and ecosystem services. To build the resilience and sustainable business, ER has prime importance to drive the transformation. 40 Leading Indian business houses are driving business actions towards ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation through the India Businesses and Biodiversity Initiative (IBBI) hosted by CII since 2014 and conceptualised by MoEFCC.
IBBI member companies have been adopting Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and sustainable management pathways towards biodiversity conservation. Currently, about 40% of IBBI members have a dedicated biodiversity policy to achieve No Net Loss of biodiversity and 53% are committed to Science Based Targets (SBTi) to mitigate climate change impacts.
Indian businesses are increasingly recognising the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services and have started the transition but to meet the 2050 target of ‘living in harmony with nature’ and controlling global temperature at 1.50C, global actions are required in the area of ER. According to some estimates, an investment of approximately USD 8.1 trillion will be needed between now and 2050. Biodiversity-related expenditure of up to USD 895 billion annually has been estimated for implementing an ambitious framework to bend the curve on biodiversity loss.
CII, through its Clean Air-Better Life Initiative is driving businesses to implement sustainable and smart practices at the supply chain level to address the issues of crop residue management and pollution mitigation. In the past years, more than one hundred tonnes of fine particulate matter emissions have been reduced, restoring ambient ecosystem services across Indo-Gangetic Plains.
The Un-plastic Collective, Climate Action Programme 2.0° and CII-ITC Sustainability Awards have been supporting Indian businesses to adopt pathways to improve sustainability performance and formulating a roadmap with good governance structures and resilient strategies towards planet and people protection.