Caixin
Sep 26, 2020 01:19 PM

Post-Pandemic Economic Recoveries Prioritizing Ecosystems Could Generate Trillions, Report Says

Photo: VCG
Photo: VCG

Countries should launch a fundamental transformation across three specific socio-economic systems in their a post-pandemic economic recovery packages, and in so doing could increase the boost to the economy they generate by up to $10.1 trillion in annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030, according to a newly released World Economic Forum report.

The report, titled the Future of Nature and Business, said the three socio-economic systems ― food, land and ocean use, infrastructure and the built environment, and extractives and energy ― drive the pressures which endanger almost 80% of all currently threatened and near-threatened species and thus transforming them is a significant opportunity to reverse nature loss.

“Covid-19 is a stark reminder of how ignoring biophysical risks can have catastrophic health and economic impacts at the global scale,” the WEF report said, “If recovery efforts do not address the looming planetary crises – climate change and nature loss – a critical window of opportunity to avoid their worst impact will be irreversibly lost.”

The appeal came as a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit countries such as Britain and France, while some countries in Asia have entered post-pandemic recovery with borders reopening and economies recovering.

Decisions on how to deploy the post-Covid crisis stimulus packages will likely shape societies and economies for decades to come, making it imperative to “build back better” and not return to an

unsustainable and dangerous business-as-usual approach, the report said.

The Switzerland-based WEF urged countries to adopt “green stimulus measures can generate even more effective economic and employment growth and build more resilient societies by aligning the global economy with planetary boundaries.”

Currently, these systems represent over a third of the global economy and provide up to two-thirds of all jobs, according to the report. A fundamental shift towards productive and regenerative agriculture, a compact built environment, and circular and resource efficient models of production will help the transformation of the three ecosystems, it said.

Akanksha Khatri, head of Nature Action Agenda for the World Economic Forum, stated that the most significant change in the transformation is the philosophy that guides economic and business activities needs to prioritize a “nature-positive” economy.

Khatri said in an interview with Caixin that the forum advocated for a new measurement beyond the GDP, and emphasized that businesses and governments should value natural assets as much as physical assets.

Speaking specifically about China, Khatri suggested that the country could adopt two major governance mechanisms, including space deployment and finance incentives, to apply the transformation.

A compact and natural positive urbanization with biodiversity in the cities as well as sustainable materials supply chains is crucial to the sustainable development of the green economy, Khatri said. The Chinese government should also ensure that financial incentives and subsidies should encourage restoration of the ecosystem.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

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