This article was originally published on the World Economic Forum.
André Hoffmann, the Chairman of our board writes for WEF on the importance of forging new decision-making norms that properly account for the value of nature, people and society.
‘…I firmly believe in business as a force for good, as long as its purpose is not merely to make money but, more importantly, to serve the community and satisfy societal needs sustainably.
Doing this requires properly valuing the impact of economic activity on natural, social and human capital. Our economic systems have failed to do so for too long, instead obsessively prioritising short-term financial gain. Yet financial prosperity can only be short-lived if it comes at the expense of social systems, human health and nature.
It is time to forge new decision-making norms that properly value nature, people and society. In a business context, balance sheets need to account for the social, human and natural capital alongside cash.
The devastating impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates what happens when we ignore the value of natural and social capital. Nature is in freefall, and there is little doubt its destruction makes us increasingly vulnerable to new infectious diseases that emerge when intensive agriculture, deforestation and land conversion result in pathogens spilling over from animals to people.
In reality, human, animal and environmental health and well-being are interdependent. Nature is Earth’s life support system. And yet, we are degrading natural systems faster than nature can replenish and restore them, putting the estimated $44 trillion in economic value generation dependent on nature and its services at risk.
Governments and the private sector have a choice: continue propping up outdated, polluting industries or seize the opportunity to invest in low-carbon development and nature-based solutions that harness ecosystems to address key societal challenges such as food security, flood mitigation and climate change…”