Asia Pacific is rich in endemic biodiversity found nowhere else on the planet, with diverse ecosystems ranging from the tropical forests of Southeast Asia to the coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean. However, the region is also at the epicentre of biodiversity and nature loss. Nearly one million species are at risk of extinction because of human activity. Climate action failure, biodiversity, and nature loss, and infectious diseases ranked as the top three risks humanity will face in the next 10 years, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report.
How does the biodiversity crisis matter for the economy and for businesses?
Key economic activities supported by nature could be disrupted. The IPBES Global Assessment Report outlines nature’s 18 contributions to humanity, including supporting a range of key economic activities through regulation of the environmental process (e.g., regulation of air quality, pollination, and buffering against floods) and materials that sustain our lives (e.g., energy, food, and medicine).
Biodiversity and nature loss disrupt these key contributions of nature to people, in turn placing critical economic activities at risk of disruption. However, other sectors with less direct dependencies on nature still face significant disruption risks. A business-as-usual route that disregards our economy’s impact on biodiversity and nature loss is therefore not a viable option.
Systemic transitions in three socioeconomic systems are key to solving the biodiversity crisis
Three systems of critical socioeconomic importance to Asia Pacific are together responsible for the most significant business-related pressures to biodiversity; but these are also the systems with the largest opportunities in pursuing nature-positive development. These are i) food, land and ocean use system; ii) infrastructure and built environment system; and iii) energy and extractives system. Together, these systems endanger around 85 percent of all threatened and near-threatened species in Asia Pacific.
The transitions needed are fundamental and require entire business, economic, and consumption models to be transformed, without which irreversible climate change, biodiversity loss and other environmental risks will continue to harm the economy and human well-being.
Nature-positive development in Asia Pacific could unlock USD 4.3 trillion of value and 232 million jobs annually by 2030
59 nature-positive business opportunities could transform the three major socioeconomic systems from a net-negative to net-positive impact on nature. Unlocking these business models will change the way we farm and fish; how our infrastructure is designed, built, serviced, and connected; and how we extract and recycle natural resources, and power our economy.
Altogether, the nature-positive business opportunities identified in the report for Asia Pacific add up to USD 4.3 trillion in annual business value by 2030, or around 43 percent of the USD 10.1 trillion annual opportunity identified at the global level.