Demand for nature-based solutions has increased exponentially in recent years as the concept has become widely accepted and encouraged by organisations from the EC to the UN. Nature-based solutions are complex, however, and most organisations do not have the capabilities in-house to design, deliver and manage them. Recent reports(UnaLab, 2020) have shown that finding skilled and experienced suppliers is a major roadblock in the wider uptake of nature-based solutions.
Nature-based enterprises can help to meet this challenge. They support cities, private sector and third sector organisations in the planning, delivery and management or stewardship of nature-based solutions in urban, peri-urban and rural contexts.
What is a nature-based enterprise?
- Nature-base enterprises (NBEs) use nature as a core element of their product/service offering.
- Nature may be used directly by growing, harnessing, harvesting or restoring natural resources in a sustainable way and/or indirectly by contributing to the planning, delivery or stewardship of sustainable nature-based solutions.
Drawing from the EC definition of a small or medium-sized enterprise1, nature-based enterprises are independent entities which are engaged in an economic activity i.e. ‘the sale of products or services at a given price, on a given/direct market’.
Nature-based organisations are similar to nature-based enterprises in that they use nature directly or indirectly as a core element of their product service offering. They differ from nature-based enterprises in that they may not operate independently or have a trading income as is the case with nationally owned and operated parks or nature reserves for example
NATURE-BASED ENTERPRISEs GUIDEBOOK
This guidebook helps to clarify what is a nature-based enterprise, how to find skilled and experienced nature-based enterprises and how to stimulate and support the start-up, financing and growth of nature-based enterprises.
nature-based enterprise survey & research findings
RESEARCH FINDINGS ABOUT NATURE-BASED ENTERPRISES
The first results from the Connecting Nature research survey of nature-based enterprises are now available to download here. We have had over 170 responses to date from nature-based enterprises which we define as follows:
Nature-based enterprises (NBEs) use nature as a core element of their product/service offering. Nature may be used directly by growing, harnessing, harvesting or restoring natural resources in a sustainable way and/or indirectly by contributing to the planning, delivery or stewardship of sustainable nature-based solutions.
In response to the barriers and enablers identified we will be launching a Connecting Nature Enterprise Platform in October 2020 to connect buyers and suppliers of nature-based solutions. To register your interest in updates click here.
The survey remains open and we invite responses from nature-based enterprises around the world.
Available to download here
NATURE -BASED ENTERPRISE SURVEY
The Connecting Nature survey remains open – the more data we collect the better our understanding of nature-based enterprises. The overall objective of this survey is to better understand what type of business can nature support? And how can business support nature and society? COVID 19 has had a major impact on organisations worldwide and our hope is is that when the crisis has passed, more opportunities will emerge to work with nature in creating new skills, jobs and sustainable local economies.
PLEASE PARTICIPATE IN THE SURVEY HERE
Why should a Nature-Based Enterprise complete this survey?
1. To increase knowledge and support for NBEs
- the different types of nature-based enterprises that exist;
- the variety of products and services they deliver;
- the value they create for the environment, economy and society;
- the challenges and opportunities NBEs face including COVID 19 and how policy makers can better support them.
2. To create opportunities for NBEs
The Connecting Nature Enterprise Platform will:
- increase the visibility of individual NBEs;
- showcase NBE solutions to the public and private sector;
- feature tenders and opportunities for funding for NBEs;
- support collaboration and networking between NBEs;
- create sector-specific training content and webinars for NBEs.
There are 3 general types of nature-based solutions covering everything from natural rainforests to highly engineered water management systems. Nature-based enterprises can help to plan, implement and manage these nature-based solutions.
Enterprises that directly or indirectly deliver nature-based solutions may be 'for profit' or 'not-for-profit'. The following table shows the relationship between nature-based solutions and nature-based enterprises and gives examples of nature-based enterprises that deliver different types of NBS, either directly or indirectly.
Better use of natural/protected ecosystems
E.g. coastal mangrove
NBS for sustainable managed ecosystems
E.g. natural urban forest, parks or gardens
Design and management of new ecosystems
E.g. engineered green walls/roofs/water management
Direct use of nature:
NBEs often involved in implementation of NBS
Example: Nature Conservation NGO (non-profit)
Example: Constructed wetlands company (for profit)
Example: Horticulture company delivering green living rooms (for profit)
Helix Pflanzen GmbH (DE)
Indirect use of nature:
NBEs often involved in planning, advisory, management, monitoring etc
Example: Data company that monitors natural forests (for profit)
Example: Community interest company managing urban parks / gardens (non-profit)
Example: Environmental NGO advising on community engagement in green space redesign (non-profit)
If you have any questions about the survey please contact Esmee Kooijman email@example.com
YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE SURVEY HERE
Nature-based enterprises is a new area of research and practice and consequently, there is little in the way of resources. Some useful starting points are listed here:
UrbanByNature webinar on nature-based entrepreneurship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g5OmEXinKw
Nature-based Enterprise Platform and other resources:
The Connecting Nature Enterprise platform is available (from October 2020) on https://connectingnature.eu
Other useful documentation:
Burch, S, Andrachuk, M, Carey, D, Frantzeskaki, N, Schroeder, H, Mischkowski, N, & Loorbach, D (2016). Governing and accelerating transformative entrepreneurship: exploring the potential for small business innovation on urban sustainability transitions. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 22, 26–32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2017.04.002
Eggermont, H, Balian, E, Azevedo, JMN, Beumer, V, Brodin, T, Claudet, J, … Le Roux, X (2015). Nature-based solutions: New influence for environmental management and research in Europe. GAIA, Vol. 24, pp. 243–248. https://doi.org/10.14512/gaia.24.4.9
Frantzeskaki, N, McPhearson, T, Collier, MJ, Kendal, D, Bulkeley, H, Dumitru, A, … Pintér, L (2019). Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Climate Change Adaptation: Linking Science, Policy, and Practice Communities for Evidence-Based Decision-Making. BioScience, 69(6), 455–466. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz042
Kooijman, McQuaid et al (2021) “Nature-based Enterprises: a new typology”. Forthcoming.
McQuaid, Kooijman et al (2021) “Nature-based Enterprises: barriers and enablers to growth”. Forthcoming.
Sarabi, Han, Romme, Vries, & Wendling (2019). Key Enablers of and Barriers to the Uptake and Implementation of Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Settings: A Review. Resources, 8(3), 121. https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8030121