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EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030

The EU’s biodiversity strategy is a central part of the European Green Deal (Green Deal), the goal of which is to turn EU to a climate neutral continent. The goal is to protect at least 30% of the EU’s land and sea areas, restore weakened ecosystems throughout the EU by 2030, plant 3 billion trees and reduce the use of pesticides and the resulting risks from using pesticides by 50%. 

What does biodiversity mean?

Biodiversity means the diversity of life on Earth, including different species, their genes and ecosystems. Wide biodiversity is important in terms of the functioning and stability of ecosystems, and its reduction threatens natural diversity and the functioning of ecosystems. 

Protecting and restoring biodiversity is important as it plays a key role in maintaining the balance of nature as well as providing people and animals with water, food and shelter. 

The deterioration of biodiversity also threatens business continuity, which is why it is important for companies to include supporting the diversity of biodiversity in their risk management and strategy. Among other things, the construction industry, agriculture and the food industry are all dependent on nature. 

Biodiversity strategy goals 

The EU member states are committed to the goals of the strategy, which aim to stop the loss of nature and accelerate the development of biodiversity. There are a total of 17 goals and they are related to either (1) the EU’s nature conservation network or (2) the EU’s restoration regulation. 

  1. An EU-wide nature conservation network (1.2 million km^2) on land and sea. The goal is to expand the current Natura 2000 protection network by protecting climate-important areas and areas with high biodiversity. 
  1. The EU’s restoration regulation, the goal of which is to oblige EU countries to protect ecosystems whose state has been found to be degraded and which have the potential to bind carbon dioxide to prevent and reduce the effects of extreme weather phenomena. 

The restoration regulation focuses strongly on the revitalization of nature in the EU member states and the aim is to set binding goals that concern e.g. forests, urban areas, degraded terrestrial and marine habitats, owls and rivers and floodplains. 

Other goals of the EU are to allocate 20 billion euros in annual funding for the protection and development of biodiversity and to create a global biodiversity framework. 

EU Nature Conservation Network

The nature conservation network has three goals: 

  1.  Expanding the protection area stipulated in the law, so that at least 30% of the EU’s land and sea areas are protected, and the ecological connections between protected areas are ensured. 
  1. At least one third of the EU’s protected areas are strictly protected, including all of the EU’s remaining primeval and old-growth forests. 
  1. Clear conservation goals and measures with which protected areas can be managed effectively. 

You can follow the progress of the goals here. 

EU Restoration Regulation

The restoration regulation being prepared by the European Commission is the first law covering the entire European region. It is a key part of the EU’s biodiversity strategy. 

The goal of the proposal is to restore ecosystems and habitats in the EU’s land and sea areas and enable the recovery of biological diversity and nature in the long term. The goal is also to promote the achievement of climate change mitigation and adaptation goals and to fulfill international commitments. 

You can read more about the restoration here. 

National Biodiversity Strategy 

The Ministry of the Environment has decided to create a new national biodiversity strategy, because the previous strategy that extended to 2020 did not stop the impoverishment of nature. The goal of the new strategy, which extends to 2030, is an ecological transition in Finland. 

The EU Commission requires the member states to make two commitments to the key objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy: 

  1. How the member country(s) intend to promote the EU’s common 30% conservation area goal and how the member country(s) intend to promote the EU’s common 10% strict protection goal. 
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  1. What measures will the member country(s) take to secure the protection level of the nature and bird directives and to improve it by 30 percent. 

In Finland, achieving the goals is based on voluntariness, and stakeholders are asked for comments and suggestions on national measures during 2023. Before submitting Finland’s commitments to the EU Commission, they are subject to a decision in principle by the Government. 

How does the biodiversity strategy affect business operations?

Adopting a biodiversity strategy can affect business operations through legislation and reputation management. It can require companies to take measures to protect biodiversity and improve their reputation as responsible actors. In addition, a biodiversity strategy can offer new business opportunities and help companies manage biodiversity-related risks. 

The science-based target for Nature – at the core of business strategy

The science-based target for Nature (SBTs for Nature) is leadership’s next must-have. Biodiversity loss and degradation of nature are increasing; therefore, businesses need to take biodiversity into account when creating their strategies and sustainability reports.

Biodiversity loss influences ecosystems, species extinction and the natural resources humans need. Companies working in forestry, farming, convenience, and infrastructure industry will be impacted first.

Science-based Targets (SBTs)

Science-based Target (SBTmean emission reduction targets that are lined with the Paris Climate Agreement: targets support limiting global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial times and support efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. With SBTs you know exactly how much and how fast you need to cut your greenhouse gas emissions.

Science-based means acting within limits of the earth’s carrying capacity that are favorable and safe for nature and humans, and determined by scientifically studied information.  Additionally, target needs to be measurable, time-bound and impact the company’s activities.

The most known SBTs are Science-based Targets for Climate. SBT for Climate is widely known and globally used by various companies. The initiative is based on science-backed knowledge of how to cut greenhouse gas emissions globally to preserve living conditions. Companies committed to SBTs achieve on average better results than those not committed to SBTs.

What are science-based targets for Nature?

Science-based Target Network, SBTNis preparing a Science-based target for Nature (SBT for Nature) model for companies, just like the Science-based target for Climate (SBT for Climate). In the SBT for Nature, companies will find guidelines for leading and reporting on companies’ actions to prevent future biodiversity loss.

The model will include the following steps:

  1. Evaluate. Carry out a materiality assessment. Look at the business value chain.
  2. Interpret and prioritize. Identify the affected areas. Prioritize.
  3. Measure, set goals & report. Set the base level. Plan your observation. Set goals. Report baseline and goals.
  4. Act. First of all, avoid adverse effects. Reduce them. Protect and restore. Convert.
  5. Track the impact of your results. Report. Verify.

SBT for Nature will cover biodiversity, freshwater, ocean, and land. The model is still under development, currently, the principles, elements and guidelines are being tested. The first part of SBT for Nature V1, is published in March 2023

Science-Based Target for Nature - luontokadon ehkäiseminen ja tieteeseen perustuvat tavoitteet

How does Science-based Target for Nature differ from SBT for Climate?

Science-based Targets for Climate aims to stop global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in accordance with the Paris climate agreement. Companies committed to climate goals have one clear goal, reducing greenhouse emissions. How the goals are achieved is freely up to the companies, and progress is easy to measure.

Currently, there is no global goal to protect nature, as there is for the climate. Prevention of biodiversity loss is location-bound, both in terms of influencers and consequences. Reducing greenhouse emissions is not location-bound.

The decrease in biodiversity is accelerated by changing, diverse and interacting factors. Biodiversity loss does not manifest itself in the same way globally, in which case protecting biodiversity and monitoring progress requires location-related goals.

SBT for Nature considers several different dimensions: water bodies, and the well-being of the soil and the seas, and requires site-specific plans and goals. Companies must therefore have separate goals for the use of fresh water, pollution of fresh water and so on.

Ecobio’s biodiversity services for companies

We offer biodiversity services ranging from research to leadership consulting. The expertise of Ecobio’s biodiversity team is created at the intersection of many disciplines – from the cooperation of specialists in biology, geography and management.

We will be happy to discuss more how you can move forward in taking nature into account in your business.

Ecobio is the expert partner of leading companies in biodiversity.

We help you balance business and nature.