EU's Nature Restoration Law: A Milestone for Climate & Biodiversity Goals

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August 3, 2023

In a landmark move to address the pressing issues of biodiversity loss and climate change, the European Union (EU) has passed the Nature Restoration Law. This is the first major piece of legislation to protect biodiversity in the EU in the past 30 years. The law, which passed on July 12, 2023, aims to restore and protect Europe's natural ecosystems and habitats, fostering biodiversity and enhancing the continent's resilience against the challenges of climate change. This is timely given that the European Environment Agency found that over 80% of the EU’s ecosystems are in a bad condition.


How will it work?


Member states will be required to take significant measures to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas; this is equivalent to 25,000 square kilometers of degraded land and 3,000 kilometers of rivers by 2030. EU countries will be expected to submit Natural Restoration Plans to the Commission within two years of the regulation coming into play. The plans will showcase how each country will deliver on their targets and how they will monitor and report on their progress.


What does this mean for business?


Ahead of the vote on the EU Nature Restoration Law, more than 80 companies, including IKEA, l’Occitane en Provence, Mirova, H&M, and Unilever publicly published a letter urging European leaders to support and urgently adopt the law to bring nature back to Europe. It is clear to these businesses that there are no thriving businesses without nature and the ecosystem services that it provides.  


The Nature Restoration Law also opens up new avenues for businesses looking to invest in restoration efforts. Restoring nature, in a meaningful way, will improve long-term food security, reduce the use of agrochemicals and pollutants, improve soil health, and safeguard the livelihoods of farmers, fishermen, indigenous and local communities. This, in turn, will create new employment opportunities, stimulate economic growth and enable Europe to be at the forefront of a more sustainable food production system better adapted to climate change.   


Natural capital is indispensable to our global economy. The WWF’s Living Planet Index 2018 observes that nature underpins all economic activity and it provides services worth an estimated $125 trillion a year globally. According to the European Commission, investment into nature restoration adds €8 to €38 in economic value for every €1 spent. 


All hands on deck


While the Nature Restoration Law presents promising opportunities for businesses and society as a whole, its successful implementation will require collaboration and engagement at all levels. It is promising to see that some businesses are already taking meaningful steps to restore nature today. By supporting these restoration initiatives, these businesses are securing a more sustainable and resourceful supply chain, reducing potential risks associated with environmental degradation, climate change, and biodiversity loss.

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