An Eco-wakening is a global report from The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund to measure global awareness, engagement and action for nature, and reveal growing support for sustainable business in both developed and developing countries.
Nature is estimated to be worth around $44 trillion to the global economy, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than half the global GDP. The report concludes that many consumers believe brands bear as much responsibility for positive change as governments and businesses must commit to protecting nature and natural systems. Momentum has been building for some time around brand purpose – a reason to exist beyond making money and it’s no longer acceptable or smart to ignore sustainability in business.
Things have changed and the business case is clear. WEF points out that while economic development is still the priority for most countries, we also realize that for cheap products today, we may pay a very high price tomorrow as nature loss and climate breakdown really bite. For many people, and especially those living in emerging economies and supplying global value chains, eco-wakening is driven by personal experience of the devastating impacts of fires, floods, droughts and COVID-19. Companies can commit to protecting nature and natural systems, including by setting science-based targets for nature and ambitious greenhouse-gas emissions reductions. They can deliver on these commitments by protecting nature and natural systems in the landscapes where they operate, or from which they source commodities, by using tools and approaches such as the Accountability Framework, and through reshaping markets. And they can call for an ambitious Paris-style global agreement for nature that helps secure a nature-positive world by 2030.
VIEW the full Eco-wakening Report HERE and the key points below:
1. The natural world is under threat. Scientists warn that 1 million species, out of an estimated total of 8 million, face extinction – many within decades. This decline is putting the future of the planet and everyone on it at risk.
2. The covid-19 pandemic has been the biggest global health threat of the past century. Since January 2020, it has disrupted all aspects of daily life, causing untold physical, mental and economic damage and resulting in millions of deaths. Nature plays a key role in the origins and prevention of pandemics. A recent report by the Intergovernmental Science – Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) shows that the same human activities that are driving biodiversity loss are also driving pandemic risk.
3. Our impact on the environment – whether through land use, agriculture, or illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade – results in increased contact between animals, pathogens and people, paving the way for future pandemics. Better conservation of protected areas could reduce contact between wildlife, livestock and people, thereby reducing pandemic risk.
4. Time is running out, and action to prevent fatal nature loss is urgently needed.
5. Do people care? Given the scale of the problem, it would be easy to assume that ordinary people are turning away, not only believing that biodiversity loss is not a priority, but also that nothing can be done. We find the opposite. Hundreds of millions of people all over the world are concerned, and that this number is growing.
6. The most dramatic growth in engagement and awareness has occurred in Asia, most notably India (190%), Pakistan (88%) and Indonesia (53%). People all over the world care about nature, and that trend is growing – especially in emerging markets. This shift in public sentiment reflects a hard reality, as people in emerging markets are most likely to experience the devastating impact of the loss of nature.
7. The number of nature-loss conversations has grown, as seen in the 65% increase in Twitter mentions since 2016. Nature-loss and biodiversity issues are gaining more traction online than ever before, with the number of Twitter mentions increasing most in emerging markets. Major influencers around the world – including political figures, celebrities and religious leaders – are using their platforms to amplify nature issues, with messages reaching a combined audience of almost 1bn people worldwide.
8. Consumers are changing their behaviour, with searches for sustainable goods increasing globally by 71% since 2016. Corporations are responding, particularly in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, fashion and food sectors.
9. Public demand for action is rapidly growing through protests, petitions and campaign donations. Between 2016 and 2018, global news media coverage of nature-based protests grew by a steady 7%. Between 2018 and 2019, however, coverage jumped by a whopping 103%, driven by protest movements such as Extinction Rebellion.