If nature is respected, we will have almost 400 million new jobs by 2030

Report shows that putting nature first can be great for the economy

The global pandemic of COVID-19 caused unprecedented job losses and great deal of economic uncertainty. As governments and companies seek to stimulate growth, a new study by the World Economic Forum found that ‘positive for nature’ solutions can create 395 million jobs by 2030.

The Future of Nature and Business provides practical insights needed for companies to lead the transition to a positive economy in relation to nature.

The report is based on real examples in which business results were much more advantageous when considering environmental sustainability.

Intelligent agriculture, using sensors and satellite images in Indonesia, improved crop yields by an average of 60%. The green development of the Suzhou Industrial Park in China has seen its GDP increase 260-fold through green development. In Vietnam, people living in coastal communities have seen their income more than double after mangrove restoration.

“We can tackle the impending biodiversity crisis and redefine the economy in a way that creates and protects millions of jobs,” said Akanksha Khatri, head of the World Economic Forum’s Nature Action Agenda. “Public calls are getting louder for companies and the government to do better. We can protect our food supplies, make better use of our infrastructure and explore new sources of energy, making the transition to positive solutions from nature,” he adds.

About the report

The report, Future of Nature and Business, highlights the need for a fundamental transformation in three socio-economic systems, which represent more than one third of the global economy and provide up to two thirds of all jobs: 1. use of food, land and oceans; 2. infrastructure and built environment; 3. energy and extractive activities.

Regarding the first item, for example, what we eat and grow represents about US $ 10 trillion of global GDP and employs up to 40% of the workforce worldwide. With positive solutions for nature, it would be possible to create 191 million new jobs and generate $ 3.6 trillion in additional revenue by 2030.

Green post-COVID recovery will be decisive for the climate

Scientists warn that reduction generated by the pandemic is temporary.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on 7 August 2020 estimates that the inclusion of climate measures in post-pandemic economic recovery plans could prevent more than half of the global warming expected by 2050.

The Constrain consortium, led by the University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom, monitored 10 different greenhouse gases between February and June 2020 in 123 countries and concluded that there was a 10-30% global reduction in emissions of different pollutants, such as dioxide carbon (CO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

As these reductions occur only temporarily due to the containment measures of the new coronavirus, scholars have modelled for different post-COVID-19 recovery scenarios.

Economic packages that include climate measures would help take advantage of this drop in emissions and achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping the global temperature below 1.5˚C by 2100.

On the other hand, if other structural changes are not made, even with sanitary blockages by the end of 2021, the global temperature would be only about 0.01°C lower than expected by 2030 and there would be little impact in this century.

Huge opportunity

“The choices made now could give us a strong chance of avoiding 0.3˚C of additional warming by the middle of the century, halving the expected warming under current policies,” says Piers Forster, lead author of the study and director of Priestley International Centre for Climate in Leeds. “This can mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to avoiding dangerous climate change.”

“Our study shows that the real effect of the blockages on the climate is small”, warns the study’s co-author, Harriet Forster, from the Queen Margaret School, in the United Kingdom.

“The important thing is to recognize that we have been given a huge opportunity to boost the economy by investing in green industries – this is what can make a difference to our future climate.”

The study also highlights opportunities to reduce traffic pollution by encouraging low-emission vehicles, public transport and cycle paths. “The best air quality will have important health effects and will immediately start to cool the climate,” says Forster.