NATURE-POSITIVE EXTRACTION: A $3.5 TRILLION OPPORTUNITY
World Economic Forum: There is no future for business as usual
According to a new report from the World Economic Forum, we are reaching irreversible tipping points for nature and climate. This involves not just climate change, but biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse that threaten as much as $44 trillion in business value—over half of global GDP—because of the dependence of business on nature and its services.
The good news is that these same conditions create tremendous opportunity. The authors identify 15 systemic transitions within three socio-economic systems—food, land and ocean use; infrastructure and the built environment; and energy and extractives—that together have the potential to offer annual business cost savings and revenue opportunities worth $10 trillion and create 395 million jobs by 2030. They see opportunities to create $3.5 trillion in value and 87 million jobs in the energy and extractives sector alone.
What can mining companies do to realize these opportunities? Collaborate with stakeholders across the economy to develop what the authors call a "nature-positive" extractives and energy system. The report identifies four complementary "transitions" that can, together, place the energy and extractives system on a pathway towards nature-positive development:
- circular and resource-efficient models of production
- nature-positive metals and mineral extraction practices
- sustainable materials supply chains
- energy transition toward renewables and away from fossil fuels
The authors are realistic that achieving these transitions cannot be done by business action. However, there are practical common steps they suggest that every business can take:
- Identify the transitions that are relevant to them and the role they can play in leading or supporting them.
- Adopt and implement appropriate voluntary corporate policies and best practices regarding their impact on nature and promote these policies and best practices among their suppliers, customers, and other business partners.
- Explore potential public-private cooperation opportunities across sectors to create the critical mass of change agents required to tip markets and value chains towards nature-positive models.
- Once a portfolio of initiatives and partners has been developed, determine the mix of enablers that would unlock success— including new capital investment.
- Pursue technological innovation to drive improved asset optimization, and thus reduce the need for infrastructure and resources.
The report's executive summary concludes:
We are at a critical juncture for the future of human societies: we face an unprecedented global humanitarian and health crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic while the hour is late to stave off the worst of the climate and nature crises. A clear commitment to building back better will be needed from business, government and individuals, or what fragile pandemic recovery we achieve will both lack the resilience provided by nature, and face ever increasing climate risks.
Thanks to mining.com for bringing this compelling report to our attention.
Read the full WEF report here.
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