Ecosystems around the world are on the verge of collapse. It is a planetary emergency. Humanity has already wiped out 83 percent of wild mammals and half of all plants and severely altered three-quarters of ice-free land and two-thirds of marine environments. One million species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades – a rate tens to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past 10 million years.
The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report ranks biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as one of the top five threats humanity will face in the next ten years. Human societies and economies rely on biodiversity in fundamental ways. Our research shows that $44 trillion of economic value generation – over half the world’s total GDP – is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services.
We have the power to change this. Humanity urgently needs to rethink its relationship with nature, in order to halt and reverse the alarming degradation of the natural world. Business leaders have a crucial role to play, by putting nature at the core of their processes and decision-making and systematically identifying, assessing, mitigating and disclosing nature-related risks to avoid severe consequences.
Despite an increasing focus on nature loss, there is still a limited understanding of why it matters to businesses and what the private sector can practically do about it. The World Economic Forum is launching a series of New Nature Economy (NNE) reports in 2020, making the business and economic case for safeguarding nature. The series aims to catalyse public-private momentum in 2020, with a focus on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s milestone summit (COP15) in Kunming, China, and the related Business for Nature mobilization.
Nature Risk Rising, the first report in the NNE series, explains how nature-related risks matter to business, why they must be urgently mainstreamed into risk management strategies and why it is vital to prioritize the protection of nature’s assets and services within the broader global economic growth agenda.
The 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report is published as critical risks are manifesting. The global economy is facing an increased risk of stagnation, climate change is striking harder and more rapidly than expected, and fragmented cyberspace threatens the full potential of next-generation technologies — all while citizens worldwide protest political and economic conditions and voice concerns about systems that exacerbate inequality. The challenges before us demand immediate collective action, but fractures within the global community appear to only be widening. Stakeholders need to act quickly and with purpose within an unsettled global landscape.