Biodiversity is essential to all life on Earth – discover five solutions at ChangeNOW that are preserving the planet's ecosystems
The Earth is home to multiple delicately balanced and interconnected ecosystems, with every creature on the planet being reliant on countless other organisms to clean the air and water, regulate the climate, and provide nutrition. In fact, 75 per cent of human crop production relies, at least in part, on pollinators such as bees.
Even the smallest change within an ecological community can have devastating consequences. Good biodiversity is the best indicator of a healthy and resilient ecosystem, so preserving it is essential. Exemplifying this commitment to biological diversity was last year’s COP15, which concluded with a landmark United Nations agreement – the “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF) – that pledges to protect at least 30 per cent of the planet’s land, sea, and coastal areas by 2030.
It is more important than ever to act and protect biodiversity all over the world, with innovation being central to long-lasting, impactful change. Five exciting new solutions that could help make the GBF’s goals a reality will be on display at the ChangeNOW 2023 summit.
From 2010 to 2020, the Earth lost around 4.7 million hectares of forests every year. It is estimated, as well, that up to 50 per cent of all logging in the world’s most threatened forests is connected to illegal and unsustainable timber trade. Of course, wood remains an essential construction material, but in order to protect our forests and the diverse array of habitats they provide, we need to support sustainable timber farming.
In comes EcoTree. Customers, whether they be individuals or companies, can buy a single tree or forest from EcoTree’s treeShop and track its growth through the online platform. Then, when a tree is ready to be cut for sustainable timber, the profit is returned to the customer. As well as forestry, customers can also get involved in any of EcoTree’s five biodiversity projects, including one restoring wetlands and another that boosts honey bee populations. Read more.
As human activity and the resulting changes in our climate threaten crucial biodiversity across marine and terrestrial environments, it is becoming increasingly pressing to step in – before these ecosystems are altered forever. But one key obstacle is that it can be difficult to protect an environment effectively without first understanding it properly.
BeeOdiversity uses bees as living drones to gather essential information about a given space. During their normal pollination activities, the bees collect billions of environmental samples. These are then analysed to identify, source, and assess the level of pollutants and measure plant biodiversity in a given area. The system can be used to assess the quality of a site or the impact of an activity. Armed with the data, organisations can then take proper improvement measures. Read more.
Overall, forests account for approximately 26 per cent of total land area across the globe. This may seem like a sizeable proportion, but the world has lost a third of its forests since the last ice age. This mass deforestation is devastating for the planet’s ecosystems, as wildlife habitats are destroyed and previous sources of vegetation and shelter disappear.
As well as being crucial for biodiversity, forests are also essential for capturing carbon and balancing our climate. Afforestation and reforestation projects are essential, but it can be difficult for those wanting to get involved to track these programmes. With Kanop‘s AI-powered automated platform, forest managers can easily access and track complex forest projects, even down to an individual tree. Kanop provides accurate, up-to-date information, regardless of the size of a project. Read more.
As well as being beautiful in and of themselves, coral reefs are essential for life on Earth, protecting coastlines and supporting 25 per cent of all marine ecosystems. They are, however, under threat. Rising ocean levels are increasing coastal erosion that, in turn, decreases water quality and increases sedimentation, eventually smothering the coral. And though African sea levels are rising faster than the global average, coral restoration projects in the continent are few and far between.
Koraï hopes to change this by restoring African coastal ecosystems. Through Koraï, companies can offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits in the form of mangrove and seagrass nurseries, which act as powerful carbon sinks. Customers can also tailor-make their own coral reef plan, track its impact, and even visit Koraï’s nurseries to get involved with impact projects directly. Read more.
As we inch ever closer to the 1.5°C limit on global warming, more and more businesses are recognising the urgency of large-scale decarbonisation. One easy way corporations can do this is through the purchase of carbon credits, which allows them to offset external carbon capture and reforestation projects against their own emissions. However, the lack of transparency and regulatory requirements within carbon markets is often a cause for concern.
Startup Reforestum aims to address this lack of trust and transparency with an artificial-intelligence-driven (AI) platform that helps individuals and organisations know exactly where their offset funding is going. For businesses, Reforestum has recently introduced two new products – the ‘VCM Navigator’, which provides market intelligence and other information to see and understand VCMs, and the ‘Portfolio Manager’, a tool that helps companies more easily manage their offsetting projects in line with best practices. Read more.
Springwise is a proud partner of ChangeNOW, which takes place in Paris 25-27 May 2023. As the world’s largest event for the planet, the three-day international summit brings together entrepreneurs, business leaders, and policymakers to accelerate change.
Words: Matilda Cox
15th March 2023