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BNP Paribas AM: Opportunities in ecosystem restoration

Preventing, halting and reversing the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean will require a huge effort and billions of dollars.

According to some estimates, restoring the ecosystem by cutting back on air, ocean and water pollution and improving flood control, among other things, could create USD 6 trillion worth of business opportunities and require USD 2 trillion annually in capital investment by 2030.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration runs from its launch on 5 June 2021 until 2030, which is the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals to have been met. However, biodiversity loss imperils the achievement of 80% of SDG targets related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, oceans and land, so action on ecosystem restoration is badly required.

The UN estimates that damage to ecosystems including forests, grasslands and coral reefs — and the associated loss of biodiversity — could drain nearly USD 10 trillion from the global economy by 2050.

The UN campaign seeks to showcase successful government-led and private initiatives to halt ecosystem degradation, and restore ecosystems that have already been degraded. It wants to bring a broader spectrum of players on board, especially from sectors that are not traditionally involved, by demonstrating the importance of ecosystem restoration to conservation as well as the social and economic benefits it will generate.

Ecosystem restoration requires an economic transformation

Many governments have included ‘green’ recovery measures in their COVID-crisis recovery packages. The next step will to shift the balance between green and non-green spending in favour of positive environmental outcomes.

Measures are likely to include new funding and programmes to create jobs and stimulate economic activity through ecosystem restoration. Today, we estimate there are over 1 000 global companies focused on ecosystem restoration across aquatic, terrestrial and urban ecosystems.

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