55% of the world’s GDP is exposed to material nature risk

21 Apr 2023

55% of the world’s GDP is exposed to material nature risk if no immediate action is taken, new research finds

PwC boosts its global nature and biodiversity capabilities with new Centre for Nature Positive Business

Johannesburg, 21 April 2023 — The natural world provides the air we breathe, water we drink and essential resources and services that enable our societies and economies to thrive. So when nature is under threat, it has an impact on us all. Today, our natural world is declining at an unprecedented rate. As a result, businesses are facing new risks from nature loss, and will need to address the regulatory, consumer and investor responses accordingly.

As we approach Earth Day 2023, PwC is pleased to announce the launch of a new global Centre for Nature Positive Business. PwC will also be providing nature positive training to help upskill its 328,000-strong global workforce in order to better understand nature impacts and work towards nature positive outcomes with clients.

Coinciding with the newly launched centre is new PwC research that indicates that 55% of the world’s GDP is exposed to material nature risk. The findings in our new report, Managing nature risks: From understanding to action, show that nature’s decline poses significant risks to the global economy and society-at-large if organisations do not transform their practices now. More than half (55%) of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) — equivalent to an estimated US$58 trillion — is moderately or highly dependent on nature, rising from US$44 trillion in 2020. All 163 economic sectors analysed by PwC have a portion of their value chain that is highly dependent on nature. The health of natural ecosystems and biodiversity has far-reaching implications, with more than half (50.6%) of the market value of listed companies on 19 major stock exchanges exposed to material nature risks.

Lullu Krugel, PwC Africa ESG Lead, says: “It has become increasingly important to be more concerned about the environment in which we live and work. We should all be striving to leave the societies in which we live better than how we found them, and considering the decline of our natural ecosystems, we are faced with one of the most pressing modern-day challenges. New PwC research shows that of the 163 economic sectors we analysed globally, all of them have a portion of their value chain that is highly dependent on nature. Therefore, in Africa, we need to better understand how organisations can transform their business models to mitigate their impacts on nature, harness its potential, manage risks and deliver sustained outcomes.”

PwC to Boost its capabilities to help accelerate a nature positive, net zero transition

PwC’s new Centre for Nature Positive Business will bring together and further expand key nature capabilities across the world in areas such as biodiversity, water, regenerative agriculture and forestry. The firm will also double the size of its team of nature specialists over the next 12 months, from 500 to 1,000. PwC’s nature specialists work on a variety of topics including nature positive strategy and transformation, nature risk management and reporting, nature technology, data and measurement, and nature finance and fund management.

PwC to upskill global workforce while continuing to expand global partnerships with leading organisations

To equip PwC’s global workforce with the skills needed to understand nature impacts and embed nature positive outcomes in service offerings to clients, PwC will offer nature and biodiversity training to upskill its 328,000-strong workforce, with bespoke online learning to be made available across its network through its global Sustainability Academy. PwC has also conducted a global assessment to identify which of its offices are in or adjacent to key biodiversity areas, while the network is in the process of conducting an assessment to identify nature-related impacts in its supply chain.

Krugel says: “The business community has an essential role to play in a global transition towards a nature positive and net zero future, and PwC’s diverse client base and international reach across 152 territories positions it with a real opportunity to make a tangible impact.”

To drive the development of frameworks, standards and methodologies that provide the architecture necessary for rapid system-wide change, PwC will also continue to collaborate with a range of organisations on industry-leading initiatives. PwC is currently supporting the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) by seconding experienced staff to conduct validation of newly developed corporate nature targets, working with the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) to improve market access to nature-related data, and with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) on sector-based TNFD piloting. In addition, PwC has collaborated with the World Economic Forum to develop guidance on how businesses can implement the Global Biodiversity Framework, and with the WBCSD to develop insights on ecosystem valuation, natural climate solutions and nature-based solutions.

Nino Manus, PwC South Africa Partner in Water Management, says: “Through PwC’s new Centre for Nature Positive Business we can build on our ability to help our clients understand and assess their nature impacts, and devise actions to help them transition to operating in a more sustainable manner. In Africa, this is crucial as it comes down to not only focusing on creating sustained outcomes, but ensuring that people’s basic needs are being met. We know that climate change and nature are inextricably linked, and as the challenges facing the environment continue to rise, so too will the impacts felt by ecosystems around the world. By boosting our capabilities to help clients develop and implement nature positive strategies as part of their broader sustainability strategies, we will help a growing number of businesses to transform, and in doing so, build a net zero, nature positive world.”


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