SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Business and ecosystems are linked. Companies affect ecosystems because they rely on the provisioning services (e.g. freshwater, fiber, food) and regulatory services (e.g. climate regulation, flood control, water purification) ecosystems provide.

60% of the world’s ecosystem services have been degraded over the past 50 years and we continue devaluing our natural resources at an alarming rate. Estimates indicate that 2-5 trillion USD of ecosystem services are lost each year from deforestation alone. While many of the effects are felt locally first, the long-term consequences are global and the scale is highly relevant to business, presenting risks and opportunities.

To retain the integrity and vitality of natural resources today and for future generations and to ensure long-term socio-economic growth and prosperity, sustainable management of land is key. Business can directly contribute to this SDG by measuring, managing and mitigating its impact and dependence on land and ecosystems. Companies can implement strategies to incentivize sustainable land use, responsible forest management and environmental stewardship. To secure supply of natural resources and raw material in the future, companies will also have to increase efforts to restore degraded land. By scaling up research and development in innovation, investing in natural infrastructure and implementing responsible sourcing policies, companies play an integral part in preserving and restoring vital ecosystems, promoting the sustainable use of land and forests, while retaining consumer confidence in their product offerings.

  • Deforestation and forest degradation
  • Genetic diversity of farms and domesticated animals
  • Land remediation
  • Landscapes forest management and fiber sourcing
  • Mountain ecosystems
  • Natural habit degradation
  • Terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems

The below examples are non-exhaustive and some may be more relevant to certain industries than to others.

  • 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.
  • Support and apply landscape approaches, based on multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaborative action, to overcome social and environmental fracture lines in landscapes facing deforestation, land and ecosystem degradation.
  • 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.
  • Scale up industrial reuse of water and support watershed protection programs.
  • GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, EN13: Habitats protected or restored
  • CDP's Forests Information Request, F8.2: Commitment to reduce or remove deforestation and forest degradation from direct operations and/or supply chain
  • WBCSD Forest Solutions Group KPI: % of total volume of wood/fiber/products intake certified
  • GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, G4-EN12: Description of significant impacts of activities, products, and services on biodiversity in protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas
  • GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, G4-EN13: Habitats protected or restored

The complete overview of business indicators can be found at Business Indicators

  • Eco4Biz
  • Sustainable Procurement Guide for Wood and Paper-based Products
  • WBCSD Global Water Tool
  • Guide to Investing in Locally Controlled Forestry

The complete overview of business tools can be found at Business Tools

15.1 By 2020, ensure conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements

15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation by x% globally

15.3 By 2020, combat desertification, and restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land-degradation neutral world

15.4 By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, to enhance their capacity to provide benefits which are essential for sustainable development

15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce degradation of natural habitat, halt the loss of biodiversity, and by 2020 protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species

15.6 Ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, and promote appropriate access to genetic resources

15.7 Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna, and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products

15.8 By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems, and control or eradicate the priority species

15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystems and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes and poverty reduction strategies, and accounts

15.a Mobilize and significantly increase from all sources financial resources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems

15.b Mobilize significantly resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management, and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance sustainable forest management, including for conservation and reforestation

15.c Enhance global support to efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities