Ahead of Earth Day, global firm PwC is building on more than a decade at the forefront of climate-related initiatives by boosting its global nature and biodiversity capabilities as new PwC research finds that 55 per cent of the world’s GDP is exposed to material nature risk.

As part of a global suite of initiatives, PwC will launch a new global Centre for Nature Positive Business and provide 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.

The nature imperative

The initiatives come as new PwC analysis finds 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 have far reaching implications, with more than half (50.6 per cent) of the market value of listed companies on 19 major stock exchanges exposed to material nature risks.

“Our research shows that more than half of the market capitalization listed on 19 of the world’s largest stock exchanges is exposed to material nature risks and all sectors have some portion of their value chain that is highly dependent on nature. This presents huge risks to business and society at large,” said Daniel O’Brien, partner of Sustainability and Climate Change at PwC Canada.

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“If organisations are to be equipped to mitigate their impacts on nature, manage the risks and deliver sustained outcomes, the time to transform business models is now. At PwC, we’re committed to helping our clients on that journey. Our new Centre for Nature Positive Business will provide access to leading expertise to help organisations address the declining health of our natural ecosystems, which threaten to erode the foundation of our economies, livelihoods, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Boosting capabilities to accelerate 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. The 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.

Upskill global workforce and partnerships 

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. 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.

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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. The company 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.

Featured image credit: Getty Images.

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