A “fundamental transformation” in the direction of a nature-friendly global economy could produce US$10 trillion in annual business opportunities and a mind-boggling 395 million jobs by 2030, the International Institute for Sustainable Development reports, in a review of a recent report by the World Economic Forum.
The WEF “notes, however, that US$2.7 trillion per year through to 2030 will be needed to scale the transitions, including deployment of the technological innovation critical to 80% of the business opportunity value identified,” IISD writes. The 15 deep shifts recommended in the report would reshape the “socio-economic systems” of food, land, and ocean use; infrastructure and the built environment; and extractives and energy.
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“These systems, the report notes, represent over a third of the global economy and provide up to two-thirds of all jobs,” IISD writes. “They also drive the threats which endanger almost 80% of the total threatened and near-threatened species.”
The WEF, and IISD in turn, cite the COVID-19 pandemic as a “stark reminder” of the “catastrophic health and economic impacts at the global scale” that result when humanity ignores biophysical risks. IISD says the report “calls for recovery efforts to address the planetary crises of climate change and nature loss” by building back better and turning away from “an unsustainable and dangerous business-as-usual approach.”
The WEF’s 15 “systemic transitions” include:
• Ecosystem restoration and avoiding expanded use of land and oceans;
• Productive and regenerative agriculture;
• Healthy and productive oceans;
• Sustainable forest management;
• Planet-compatible consumption;
• Transparent, sustainable supply chains;
• Compact built environments;
• Nature-positive built environment design;
• Planet-compatible urban utilities;
• Nature as infrastructure;
• Nature-positive connecting infrastructure;
• Circular, resource-efficient models for materials;
• Nature-positive metals and minerals extraction;
• Sustainable supply chains for materials;
• A nature-positive energy transition.
“To pursue the same economic strategy that has resulted in this situation while hoping for a different outcome would be deeply questionable,” write WEF Managing Director Dominic Waughray and Akanksha Khatri, head of the organization’s Nature Action Agenda, in a foreword to the report. “A new future for nature and humans is needed, and one that can help accelerate the Great Reset that the world’s economy and society require.”
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