Stockholm (NordSIP) – The European Union’s (EU) proposed new Nature Restoration Law received a welcome boost this week with the publication of letters of support from a broad range of companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and industry associations. These arrive as EU Environment Ministers prepare to meet later this month to discuss a common position on the legislation and provide a counter to the growing efforts from the European People’s Party (EPP) and some agricultural sector lobby groups to reduce the scope of this and other elements of the Green Deal.
Multinational heavy hitters choose their side
Nordic firms IKEA, H&M Group and Velux joined financial institutions such as Triodos Bank, LGIM, La Banque Postale and Mirova in signing a letter titled Nature is our business, our future, our life under the “Nature our Business” banner. The joint statement calls for the urgent adoption of an ambitious and legally binding EU Nature Restoration Law to bring nature back to Europe and reiterates some of the key arguments for the restoration and protection proposals. These include their potential contribution to climate change mitigation and resilience, food and water security and increased employment opportunities in many sectors. The signatories also highlight the European Commission’s own impact assessment, which estimates a potential return of between €8 and €38 for every €1 invested in nature restoration. Major multinationals Nestlé, Coca Cola and Danone have also signed the letter, despite ongoing controversies over the environmental impacts of their global value chains.
Businesses contradict EPP stance
In a further blow to the EPP’s argument that the Nature Restoration Law will damage businesses in its currently proposed form, CEOs and other executives from 50 companies published another joint statement of support to the EU. The Business for Nature coalition includes several of the “Nature our Business” signatories along with asset managers such as Schroders and Impax. They argue that the longer-term costs of inaction will greatly outweigh the upfront costs, and express their fullest support for the EU Green Deal.
The concerted support from this wide range of large multinationals will most likely help lend greater weight to the arguments made thus far by environmental NGOs that any dilution of the Nature Restoration Law will seriously jeopardise the EU’s ability to meet its obligations under the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity agreement signed in December 2022. Known as the 30×30 target, the agreed aim is to restore and protect at least 30% of land and sea surface area by 2030. On a global level, the Business for Nature coalition represents 1,400 companies with combined revenues of more than $5 trillion.
Meanwhile, the EPP-led resistance against the draft law rumbles on, with a renewed attempt to quash it planned for this Thursday 15 June’s EU environment committee meeting. The EPP argues that the proposed legislation will jeopardise livelihoods in the agricultural sector and lead to food price inflation. The European Commission has been countering with renewed statements emphasising the far greater risks to food security posed by nature loss and climate change. Environmental NGOs and academics have also been busy fact-checking the EPP, which is accused of running a campaign of disinformation on social media.