A Business Guide to Investing in Nature – #IntForestDay

Mar 21, 2023 | Taylor Piotrowski

The relationship between Nature-based solutions (NbS) and business is powerful. With 100% of the global economy, valued at US$95 trillion, dependent on nature, investing in NbS is key when building future-proofed businesses’. Giving nature a seat at the table through investments in forest restoration and preservation is a strategic option for businesses to tackle more than one sustainability goal while improving their bottom line. In this blog post, we’ll explore some ways businesses can incorporate NbS into their operations.

 

1. Identify priority areas

The first step is to assess your environmental impact and identify priority areas to implement solutions. This may include protecting and restoring ecosystems, improving soil health, and capturing carbon emissions. There are a number of organizations like Canada Forest Trust Corporation (CFT) offering programs that deliver a diverse range of impact outcomes, covering these and other environmental and socio-economic benefits.

 

2. Collaborate with experts

It’s important for businesses to work with experts, such as conservation organizations and land managers, to identify and implement the appropriate NbS solutions. CFT collaborates with a diverse set of partners, advisors, and board members from various sectors to advise on our programs and specific solutions for our clients’ unique portfolios. This ensures that the solutions are scientifically proven, impactful and sustainable.

 

3. Support reforestation and restoration

No matter what your business’s climate strategy includes, it needs to save a seat for nature at the table. Reforestation and restoration projects support businesses’ on their carbon-zero journeys while improving their bottom line. Forests deliver US$ 75–100 billion annually in goods and services, such as clean water and healthy soils, making their degradation a critical business and economic risk. Corporations can invest in nature-positive programs or support organizations that implement them.

4. Empower employees with climate action

Companies that invest in the planet are investing in their employees. A unique and growing area for businesses’ strategy for employee engagement is in NbS. Tree planting and reforestation initiatives are a fantastic way to place your employees at the centre of the action, improve retention and support mental and physical wellness. Companies can do this by implementing internal initiatives customized for their teams. CFT’s employee programs engage businesses most valuable asset – its people – to build internal support for its sustainability investments. 

 

5. Adopt green infrastructure

Natural Infrastructure (NI) and Low Impact Development (LID) are two forms of green infrastructure investments that allow corporations to diversify their impact and engage employees and stakeholders on a local level. Some avenues corporations can explore include planting forests, conserving meadows, and restoring parks. On the other hand, LID investments are an effective solution to take action closer to home. These investments include building green walls and roofs, urban forests and more. When combined, green infrastructure investments can help manage stormwater runoff, reduce urban heat island effects, and provide habitat for local wildlife. Various programs, like those at CFT, exist to help companies build customized plans to develop and implement NI and LID strategies that will diversify their impact. 

 

6. Engage with local communities

Corporations should engage with local communities to ensure that NbS support economic development, reconciliation and social responsibility. Companies like CFT build community engagement into their programs and processes to ensure their work complies with local regulations and cultural practices. CFT’s key decision-making processes are made in partnership with Indigenous Knowledge Holders and communities across Canada. Registered foresters are also working with CFT to guarantee its forestry practices respect the land’s history and local ecosystems.

 

7. Measure and report on your impact

Finally, it’s essential for corporations to measure and report on the impact of their NbS investments. This is why CFT offers every client a customized dashboard that provides updated and transparent reports on their forests’ health, growth and future impacts. This includes tracking carbon sequestration, habitat restoration, economic benefits and impact forecasting. As new regulations come into play, measuring and reporting will become mandatory for all businesses declaring investments in areas such as sustainability, carbon- or net-zero, ESG, and conservation. 

By addressing your stakeholders’ needs, corporations can develop and implement a well-rounded, impactful and engaging NbS investment ecosystem. Working with programs like Canada’s Forest Trust Corporation is an effective solution that delivers on all the above steps and more. 

If you are interested in learning more about CFT’s corporate Smart Forest Stewardship program, contact us at g[email protected], call us at 877-970-4769, or follow us on social media.