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Resilience and security – redwood and salmon

Following the International Day for Biological Diversity and World Environment Day, Luke Blower considers the role of resilience and security for society and the natural world.

Security, stability and resilience... I wonder what those terms mean to you? When do we hear about them? Why? Where?

My first thoughts on a personal level turn to my home, health, relationships and finances. Security found in my relationships with friends and family, my wage and pension. Stability offered by a happy loving home environment. Resilience needed in difficult circumstances, such as poor health or personal challenges, including redundancy or bereavement. 

Security, stability and resilience are also of course relevant to some of the most challenging and complex issues at a national and global level. With governments and financial institutions responding to difficult economic conditions within the Eurozone. And the international community addressing conflict, terror and the refugee crisis.

All these examples relate to our society, the way we behave and the way we influence the world around us. But what about the world itself, our living planet? What about the oceans, forests, wetlands and drylands? How do security, stability and resilience relate to life on land and life below water? Following the International Day for Biological Diversity and World Environment Day what do we now know about the role of biodiversity, ecosystems and the benefits and support we receive from them? And what opportunities are there to further develop our understanding?

Accelerating rates of environmental change and the continued loss of global biodiversity threaten ecosystems, and therefore effect the benefits and support we receive from them, such as food security. However, these relationships are complex and our understanding is still limited, with research, monitoring and management often focused on current environmental conditions and local contexts. There are opportunities to explore how biodiversity supports the resilient, stable, sustainable functioning of ecosystems, across different landscapes and biomes, under changing conditions.

Though it may not be immediately obvious, these challenges and opportunities are also highly relevant to business. As companies begin to ask about and explore risks, opportunities, impacts and dependencies they are looking beyond established accounting practice to apply measurement and valuation methods to natural capital. These efforts can inform strategic operational decisions that help secure resilient supply chains and sustainable resource procurement, promote innovation through new product or project development, and encourage investment across the value chain.

As businesses learn more about their relationship with nature, they must share and communicate learnings and outcomes across sectors and regions, with other companies and, crucially, investors. The CDSB Framework for reporting environmental information & natural capital helps companies provide clear, concise and consistent information to investors, connecting an organisation's environmental performance to its overall strategy, performance and prospects. Decision-useful, actionable information related to natural capital must be communicated by companies to capital markets to realise Sustainable Development Goals and protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of ecosystems.

A world that begins to mainstream biodiversity and natural capital, transforming values and management, will be safer, more resilient place that addresses development needs and releases great opportunities.

When you next hear or think about financial security, stable government or market resilience, think also of the natural world, all that nature give us, and how we can protect and restore life on land and below water.