Building business cases for Nature-based Solutions

Recognizing NbS as solutions to both business and societal challenges

Published: 5 Jun 2024
Author: Peter Beare
Type: Insight

To mark World Environment Day, WBCSD is launching the NbS Blueprint and Nature-based Solutions Map, developed over the past year with 50+ global companies and external organizations. Together, these tools support companies in identifying and building business cases for Nature-based Solutions that address core business challenges while also driving climate, nature and equity action.

Climate change, nature loss and mounting inequality are deeply intertwined crises. To achieve the Paris climate goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C, we must leverage nature and address biodiversity loss; doing so requires equity-building partnerships with communities across the planet.

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) offer a way to deliver positive impact for all three global challenges simultaneously. However, despite the strong societal case for action on NbS, progress from the private sector has lagged: while US$5 tn of corporate financial flows impact nature negatively every year, only US$35 bn of annual investment goes to NbS.

Recognizing NbS as solutions to business challenges is key to scaling private sector investment.

Well-designed NbS can deliver strategic value as well as sustainability action, addressing a company’s challenges and opportunities while also contributing positively to climate, nature and equity goals.

The members of WBCSD’s NbS workstream have spent the past year exploring how best to identify and then articulate the business case for a Nature-based Solution. The result is the NbS Blueprint, offering companies a six-stage process for building business cases for Nature-based Solutions, across sectors and biomes. The Blueprint equips the user to make like-for-like comparisons with existing or standard solutions, and take fully-informed decisions, choosing the option that maximizes overall value to the company.

Alongside the Blueprint, WBCSD is also launching version zero of the Nature-based Solutions Map, a tool that classifies NbS by the business challenges and opportunities that they address. This will enable companies to focus rapidly on the most relevant NbS types for the local context.

Both the NbS Blueprint and Map have drawn considerably on the insights and experiences of eight member companies’ NbS business cases and implementation. Importantly, the tools also signpost important insights, processes, resources, guidance and support from other organisations working to accelerate business action on NbS.

Nature-based Solutions have a significant role to play in achieving Vision 2050, a world in which more than 9 billion people live well and within planetary boundaries by mid-century. Recognizing their ability to perform as solutions to both business and societal challenges, and articulating a strong business case for NbS investment, is a critical step in mainstreaming NbS as tools to delivering commercial and sustainability success at scale.

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