Business & Philanthropy Forum © Impact One
The Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum (BPCF) was COP28’s multi stakeholder engagement platform dedicated to driving cross-sectoral advancements towards achieving net zero and nature-positive goals. On 2 December 2023, presenting the session “Unlocking the Trillion Dollar Economy” Impact One highlighted the need to redefine the way in which ecosystems are valued economically. With no system in place that correctly values and consequently protects ecosystem services, the session brought together leading experts in the financial and environmental sectors, to call for a collaborative, global push towards ecosystem protection and regeneration led by those who steward the planet’s most vital ecosystems.
Impact One’s CEO Mikolaj Sekutowicz emphasised the need to reevaluate the value of nature-based services and assets. The session also announced the creation of a practical, scalable, and evidence-based system for the protection of the Amazon that connects international finance markets and innovation leaders to the communities on the climate frontlines.
– Peter Knez, former CIO of Blackrock
Room 3: Plant Blindness
“A tree in the Amazon is worth $1, so farmers get paid $1 for cutting that tree down. So if you think about it for just a second, it’s like someone paying you a dollar for your lungs. The question is, why is this a failure in financial economics?”
The contemporary urban landscape, characterised by rapid urbanisation rates, undeniably threatens environmental sustainability. Esteemed ecologists have highlighted the adverse impacts of urban sprawl and the concomitant loss of biodiversity. The insatiable demand for resources within urban systems places immense pressure on natural ecosystems, exacerbating issues of resource depletion and environmental degradation. As urbanisation intensifies, it becomes imperative to recognise the urgent need for a paradigm shift in urban planning and governance to mitigate the escalating environmental threats posed by current urban systems.
At present, 70% of the global GHG emissions is generated by cities1, 80% of the global GDP ($70T) in 2019 is accounted for by urban areas2 and as of 2020, manmade mass surpassed global biomass3.
Making up only 6% of the global population, Indigenous Peoples protect and steward 25% of the world’s land, which in turn protects 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. The symbiotic relationship between indigenous peoples and the unique ecosystems within their territories, therefore, must play a pivotal role in nature protection, to foster a renewal of conservation strategies and collaborative governance models.
In economic terms, the value of the Amazon rainforest equates to $104T in global GDP4, estimated at about 1.5x the current global GDP. There is a $700B gap in biodiversity financing, $150T estimate of forest-based ecosystem services alone5 and a $317B total yearly value of Brazil’s standing Amazon Rainforest6. This results in a market potential of $7T of the bioeconomy in the Amazon7.
Mikolaj Sekutowicz speaking at the Business & Philanthropy Forum © BPCF
  1. WorldGBC, The Circular Built Environment Playbook, 2023
  2. World Bank, Urban Development Overview, 2021
  3. Elhacham, E., Ben-Uri, L., Grozovski, J. et al. Global human-made mass exceeds all living biomass. Nature 588 (2020)
  4. OECD, 2019. Biodiversity: Finance and the Economic and Business Case for Action
  5. BCG, 2020. The Staggering Value of Forests – and How to Save Them
  6. Strand, J. 2022. “Valuation of the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.”, in World Bank, “A Balancing Act for Brazil’s Amazonian States”
  7. BNDES, 2021, Potencial da bioeconomia para o desenvolvimento sustentáv-el da Amazônia e possibilidades para a atuação
“Nature-based services annually surpass the global GDP by 1.5 times, with a $100 trillion global economy matched by $150 trillion worth of unaccounted-for nature-based services annually that nobody pays for. It’s like living in houses without rent. Now we understand that if we don’t pay for something, it doesn’t have value. Unfortunately, our economic system has always favored assigning value only to human production.”
– Mikolaj Sekutowicz, CEO of Impact One
Mikolaj spoke alongside Rodrigo Veloso, CEO of ONE Amazon; Peter Knez, former CIO of Blackrock; and Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature.
Hosted by the COP28 Presidency, the Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum (BPCF) was the first meeting of its kind to be held at any COP and gathered philanthropists and business leaders from around the world to collaborate and innovate. Bringing together leaders of both the public and private sectors, the BPCF aimed to contribute to the fundamental transformation of global economic activities and work as a catalyst for change. Held concurrently with the heads of state-level World Climate Action Summit, the Forum convened 500 business and philanthropy leaders, alongside policymakers, to foster co-creation and collaboration and accelerate cross-sectoral progress around net zero and nature positive goals.

Impact One at the cop28 business & philanthropy forum

Unlocking The Trillion Dollar Economy

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