As an impact-driven carbon finance company, we channel capital to predominantly nature-based climate solutions while simultaneously supporting corporates to achieve ambitious climate targets. Given our mission, you could almost declare each day in the Respira office an environment day – we are constantly working to deliver positive impacts for both people and the planet. But today is particularly special: it is the 50th celebration of World Environment Day.
Organised by the United Nations Environment Programme, this day is each year hosted by a different country and in 2023, it is the turn of the Côte D’Ivoire. It is a chance for people around the world to step up their environmental action; reassess measures taken and galvanise new levels of support. This year, World Environment Day is focusing attention on the global challenge of plastic pollution in recognition of the urgency with which we must change our attitudes to single-use materials. Indeed, more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is made new every year, only half of which is intended to be used more than once. With a concerningly low proportion of this recycled (less than 10 percent), it is hardly surprising that around 20 million additional tonnes of plastic pollute our rivers, lakes and seas annually.
For climate action, with need nature
The challenge of plastic pollution does not exist in isolation. If our global ecosystems are degraded, destroyed and polluted, we cannot successfully mitigate against climate change. Yet, caring for our natural world requires substantial funding and policy development. As well as legislation reducing the ease with which we can produce, use and dispose of plastic, we must also think ‘big picture’ and protect our natural world using conservation and restoration projects.
Nature-based climate solutions are one way in which we can deliver the finance needed to create protected zones. These solutions involve working with natural ecosystems – such as forests or oceans – to address global challenges. This could be a mangrove restoration project or a scheme to conserve an area of tropical forest. It has been estimated that if nature-based solutions are effectively deployed, it could be possible to reduce and remove at least 5 – and potentially 11.7 – gigatons of CO2e from the atmosphere every year.
At Respira, we understand that to hold open the rapidly closing door to 1.5°C, we must tap into nature’s potential. We recognise that protecting our natural world is absolutely foundational to solving the global climate crisis. However, we are also acutely aware that current levels of funding to nature-based projects is simply not adequate to incentivise conservation and restoration on the scale required for mitigation. At present $2-3 billion is delivered each year. While this may sound substantial, we need at least $130 billion per annum if we are to meet our climate targets.
Therefore, on this World Environment Day, we echo the UN in its call to action. Today, we would like to remind business leaders, corporates and the general public that investing in nature is not simply the right thing to do, but is, in fact, essential for safeguarding our collective futures. To help deliver the finance needed, we are 100 percent committed to helping the voluntary carbon market scale with integrity, transparency and speed.