Don’t adopt nature-based solutions that come with a side of stupidity

As companies look to express their commitment to the Earth and its children, nature-based solutions (NBS) have taken on a new urgency in the boardroom, sometimes not for the right reasons.

First things first: NBS is defined by Forrester as Natural and nature-based solutions to the consequences and causes of climate change that reduce an organization’s environmental impacts, isolate greenhouse gas emissions, build resilience to weather hazards fueled by climate change, and help businesses and society adapt to chronic climate risks.. This includes things like land conservation, wetland restoration and protection, storm water drainage parks in urban communities, as well as green roofs, rainwater harvesting, and green streets to improve storm run-off and improve water quality.

Don’t be stupid about being chosen from NBS

Let’s say you’re a beverage company that uses copious amounts of water in your products. You may have an NBS Watershed Protection Plan to offset the company’s water consumption. Let’s say you take that water from a reservoir in Northern California, where it has been experiencing drought conditions for years. Meanwhile, you can tackle your water use by building a rain garden at your company’s headquarters in Boston. why? You are obviously drinking water from A country with only drought conditions to protect a watershed in a city where it rains. What kind of meaning does that make, and how would you explain it to customers, shareholders, employees, and Californians?

Let’s say you’re a paper company, and you want to compensate for the trees you cut down by replacing them. Reforestation is a great solution. Right now, you could work with a company to offset your use of trees by replanting trees with drones — drones that release seeds into the ground from the air and reforest thousands of acres of trees at once. Taking advantage of these solutions is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but not by growing Michigan palms or the grasslands of the desert.

NBS must align with business and meet the needs of communities affected by the loss of resources. No one wants to do the right thing just to be said to be washing the earth and killing it. Choosing the right nature-based solution is not difficult, but it does require some thought. Take advantage of our new NBS tool to help you choose the right NBS for your business strategy.

The original article by Renee Murphy, lead analyst for Forrester, is here.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of CDOTrends. Image credit: iStockphoto / Koldunova_Anna

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