• Nuno Moreira da Cruz

Integrating SDGS into business strategy, SDG#15 - Life on land



As described in my blog entry February 3rd, I am referring, on a weekly basis, to each of the SDGs: facts, targets, and how could companies be engaged. This week is about SDG#15 - Life on land.

This SDG addresses the issue of how to, sustainably, manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss. The facts mentioned below are a clear indication of how badly we have been treating our natural resources. Our civilisation has always worked under the paradigm that needs changing once and for all: the idea that the Planet is always there for ur. Well, he is not.

Facts:

Forests

  • Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people.

  • Forests are home to more than 80% of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

  • Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Poor rural women depend on common pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion.

Desertification

  • 2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture, but 52% of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.

  • Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

  • Due to drought and desertification, 12 million hectares are lost each year (23 hectares per minute). Within one year, 20 million tons of grain could have been grown.

  • 74% of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally.

Biodiversity

  • Illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continues to thwart conservation efforts, with nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants reported in illegal trade involving 120 countries.

  • Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8% are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction.

  • Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use.

  • Fish provide 20% of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30% of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production.

  • Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. Only three cereal crops – rice, maize and wheat – provide 60% of energy intake.

  • As many as 80% of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-­‐based medicines for basic healthcare.

Targets

There are 12 targets which details can be found here: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/biodiversity/

Companies engagement:

A number of examples can be mentioned, actions that companies could consider to help achieve this SDG:

  • Measure, manage and mitigate impacts on ecosystems and natural resources.

  • Scale up best practices for land use planning and management.

  • Invest in natural infrastructure as a cost-competitive alternative to grey infrastructure.

  • Finance the restoration of degraded land for production and/or conservation purposes.

  • Commit to and implement responsible sourcing practices beyond compliance - applying environmental and social safeguards - for all raw materials and commodities.

  • Expand markets for responsible forest products and thereby support sustainable forest management.

  • Foster product and technology innovation to optimize resource efficiency, reduce impacts on ecosystems and lower carbon emissions.