Use procurement to move to 'nature-positive' economies, says WEF

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
16 July 2020

Businesses and governments should be using procurement to help move towards “nature-positive” economies, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In a report the WEF said firms should be promoting best practice among suppliers while governments should use procurement regulations to promote sustainability and wellbeing.

The report said rising populations, climate change, biodiversity loss and the rise of pandemics such as the coronavirus had brought the economic growth of the past 70 years “to a screeching halt”.

“To pursue the same economic strategy that has resulted in this situation while hoping for a different outcome, would be deeply questionable,” said the WEF. “A new future for nature and humans is needed and one that can help accelerate the Great Reset that the world’s economy and society require.”

The report said the biggest risks to nature came from three areas: food, land and ocean use; infrastructure and the built environment; and energy and extractives. These systems together endanger around 80% of all threatened species, said the WEF.

But the WEF said “transitions” in these areas could deliver $10.1tn of annual business opportunities and 395m jobs by 2030.

The report said firms should adopt and implement voluntary corporate policies and best practices regarding their impact on nature and promote them among suppliers, customers and other business partners.

“Businesses, through their operations and supply chains, directly impact nature,” said the report.

The WEF said governments had a role to play in promoting healthy food through public procurement, better energy use in the built environment through procurement rules, and more use of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.

“Policymakers should work with technology providers by adjusting their procurement guidelines and involve them early on in the process to integrate such solutions in utilities planning and reform,” said the report.

The WEF also said governments could make changes by introducing mandatory procurement reporting standards for the private sector.

“Governments have important roles to play in ensuring the sustainability in supply chains,” said the report.

“They can fund new infrastructure for supply chain logistics and cold storage, particularly in remote areas; introduce mandatory procurement reporting standards for the private sector and sustainable sourcing requirements for public procurement; establish global partnerships with key commodity-producing regions to develop sustainable trade standards; and exchange and publicly release trade data on sourcing for key commodities to build transparency and accountability.”

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