Messages from the Congress

14 December 2012 | Article

The 2012 Congress was a milestone for business as it was the first Congress where there has been a significant focus on the role of business in developing and implementing Nature + solutions. Business as usual is not an option; this was made clear at congress.

Things need to change and business needs to continue to re-align their roles and practices to become solution providers and demonstrate their biodiversity values through their operation and supply chains.
The outputs from various workshops and dialogues as well as the Members’ Assembly have signalled clear areas where change has happened, areas where progress has already been made and areas where there is need for action. Particularly, there is need for greater focus defining the role of government in Nature + solutions, adopting and adapting to a changing economic model, continued collaboration between government, business and civil society and scaling-up of solutions.
The feedback received in Jeju about the current role of business was overall positive. However, there are areas that still need to be strengthened. It is clear that the innovative way forward is collaborative and will push the private sector in their biodiversity conservation performance and to continue to scale-up the outcomes and knowledge gained from their successful projects. We know the why, what to do and when but the question is how we do it. What is the implementation plan?
“We need to radically revolutionalize almost everything we do. (…) I’m a capitalist (I apologize), but let me explain what a capitalist is: a capitalist is somebody who optimizes returns from capital (…) the mistake we have made in our economic model is that capitalists have only been optimizing returns on financial capital (…) we need two more elements of capital: natural capital and social capital, and tell the capitalists to go and optimize that.”
Peter Bakker, President of WBCSD during the World Leaders Dialogue on Green Economy

From the IUCN-WBCSD Think Tank held at Congress which focused on Changing pace, the way forward proposes four steps: start-up, speed-up, scale-up and smart-up.

START-UP
This is the first step in making changing in business is to change business thinking. Dialogues must be opened-up to encourage capacity building and collaboration on solutions. There is always something business can do towards conserving biodiversity. In order to build long lasting capacity, it is key to share experience and expertise not simply within a single business but between businesses and between members of the conservation community and business.

SPEED UP
Speeding up action requires solidified connections and commitments by business. There is demand for urgent implementation of nature-based solutions in business projects that requires a shift from passive to active learning. This step is where most action over the next few years will take place.

SCALE-UP
Scaling-up is spreading solutions and changing policy across and between sectors. Sector-wide changes will be brought on by peer-to-peer exchanges of knowledge products and tools, drafting better standards in public policy that can be scaled-up as a standard for all, for example improving biodiversity indicators, and advocating for public policies that scale up these responses.

SMART-UP
Better information will lead to better business decisions. At this point, business is changing the economic model in which they are operating. Businesses need better scientific information to properly value natural capital. Good information informs good policy and therefore good business decisions.