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Businesses call for ambitious environmental legislation ahead of critical EU vote

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As a critical vote on the EU Nature Restoration Law approaches, CEOs and business leaders are urging European policymakers to adopt comprehensive environmental policies and regulations.

  • The EU’s Nature Restoration Law is intended to repair damage done to European nature by 2050.  This is critical for the economy given the amount of economic activity dependent on nature.
  • Analysis suggests implementing nature-positive policies could generate an estimated $10 trillion in new annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030.
  • This element of the EU Green Deal is at risk due to political concern about a burden on farmers, once again focusing on short term politics instead of long term action.

Fifty CEOs and business leaders from companies such as CNP Assurance, H&M Group, IKEA, L’Occitane en Provence, Legal and General Investment Management, Nestlé, Novozymes, Salesforce, Triodos Bank, Unilever, Velux, among others, are calling for ambitious environmental legislation.

With growing concerns over the dual climate and nature emergencies, these leaders , emphasising the need for timely and effective EU regulation to address the negative impacts on our planet.

The EU must adopt the Nature Restoration Law

Following other recent appeals from businesses and investors, the urgent adoption of the EU Nature Restoration Law stands out as a vital step toward combatting nature degradation in Europe. The significance of ambitious environmental legislation has been echoed by numerous business and investor networks, including over 1,400 companies supporting the ‘Nature Is Everyone’s Business Call to Action, urging governments globally to take immediate action to halt and reverse nature loss in this decade.

Even though world governments in December last year adopted the Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes a mission to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030, some lobby groups seek a “regulatory pause” on environmental legislation in Europe. The EU Nature Restoration Law aligns with several targets in the Global Biodiversity Framework, and a dilution of ambition would impede the EU’s progress in fulfilling the global agreement and its ability to contribute towards the transition to a nature-positive, net-zero and equitable economy.

One of the transformative targets set by the Global Biodiversity Framework is to require large companies and financial institutions to assess and disclose their risks, impacts and dependencies on nature. Over 400 companies supported the call to make this disclosure mandatory in order to increase accountability and responsibility. Not only to accelerate action, but to engage investors, consumers and help protect the rights of indigenous people and local communities. The forthcoming implementation standards of the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will play a significant role in ensuring transparency and encouraging positive action on nature.

EU sets the pace globally

If we are to have any hope of turning the tide of nature loss, addressing the most damaging effects of climate change and tackling growing inequality, we need governments to put in place legally binding laws and regulations. We will not be able to effectively tackle climate change without protecting, restoring and sustainably managing nature.

According to the IPCC, the world’s oceans, plants, animals and soils have absorbed more than half of human-related carbon emissions over the last decade. Put simply: nature is our best ally in preventing catastrophic climate breakdown. 

Recognized as a global leader in enacting progressive environmental legislation, the EU has successfully struck a balance between nature protection and socio-economic priorities. The signatories of the open letter acknowledge the EU’s track record and urge policy leaders to seize the opportunity to leave a historic legacy by delivering a comprehensive EU Green Deal. Sustaining this leadership is crucial not only for driving international action but also for demonstrating the EU’s commitment to addressing environmental challenges.

In the transition to a more sustainable future, managing the process with transparency and sensitivity is paramount. It is essential to support stakeholders such as farmers, fishermen, indigenous communities and local populations who manage our shared natural resources. And the costs of ‘business as usual’ will bring much greater challenges and risks for the economy.

Land degradation costs more than 10% of global GDP in ecosystem services and in the euro area alone, it is estimated approximately three million companies are highly dependent on at least one ecosystem service which , if nature loss continues, would translate into critical economic problems. 

Delaying action would exacerbate the challenges posed by climate change and nature degradation, as the earth is already operating beyond safe and just limits for humanity. However, by taking immediate action, businesses and investors can tap into significant opportunities.

The World Economic Forum estimates that nature-positive products and services could generate up to $10 trillion annually for businesses. Embracing ambitious environmental action not only mitigates risks but also unlocks economic potential and drives the transformation to a nature-positive economy.

We need urgent and ambitious leadership

Now, more than ever, courageous leadership is needed to take bold action. Leading companies stand ready to collaborate with governments to deliver the Global Biodiversity Framework. The coming months are critical for starting implementation of the framework and achieving tangible outcomes for nature. The adoption of the EU Nature Restoration Law and robust implementation standards for the CSRD are pivotal steps on this transformative journey.

To combat the pressing climate and nature emergencies, governments must act now to deliver ambitious and binding environmental legislation. The voice of businesses heard today highlights the urgent need for such action. This is the only way we can ensure a transparent transition, and build a thriving, resilient economy that safeguards nature and climate while benefiting both current and future generations. 

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