According to the World Economic Forum, around half of the world's gross domestic product, more than 44 trillion dollars, depends on nature, on forests, seas and other natural habitats together with the plants and animals that still exist there.

But every day there are around 150 fewer species.

Katja Gelinsky

Business correspondent in Berlin

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This loss of nature leads to risks and losses for the economy as well.

The damage is in the trillions, estimates the economist and President of the international business university ESMT, Jörg Rocholl.

Conversely, green entrepreneurship offers $10 trillion in revenue opportunities and the prospect of nearly 400 million new jobs, according to the World Economic Forum.

So there is a lot at stake for companies when, starting next week, representatives from more than 190 countries negotiate a new global agreement to protect biological diversity at the World Conference on Nature in Montreal.

The goal is a new economic order

A new initiative therefore wants to bundle and strengthen the forces for nature-friendly management.

"We call for science, politics, business and civil society to join forces in order to create the necessary conditions for nature-positive, i.e. resource- and nature-friendly entrepreneurial action to be worthwhile," says the "Frankfurt Declaration". was first presented in Berlin on Tuesday.

Politicians are asked to define “clear framework conditions”.

One of the core demands is the creation of “clever, knowledge-based sustainability regulations” that offer companies incentives and give them planning security.

In addition, politicians must create uniform and mandatory standards for biodiversity reporting.

Other demands include ensuring deforestation-free supply chains and the “immediate phase-out” of environmentally harmful investments.

In addition to the economist Rocholl, the initiators and first signatories of the call for the World Nature Summit are well-known German natural scientists such as the Managing Director of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Christof Schenck, and Klement Tockner, Director General of the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research.

Will a trend reversal succeed?

Various NGOs are also among the supporters.

The initiative is flanked by several CEOs from different industries, such as Astrid Teckentrup, CEO of Procter & Gamble in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Alexander Birken, CEO of the Otto Group, KfW boss Stefan Wintels, Vonovia board member Rolf Buch or Schaeffler CEO Klaus Rosenfeld.

However, the bank and company heads did not sign the declaration immediately because there was no time to examine the demands.

Lutz Diederichs, Germany head of the BNP Paribas banking group, said like the other representatives from business, companies and financial institutions were "called upon as essential partners to participate in the conservation of biological diversity".

In Germany there are various corporate initiatives to protect biodiversity, one of the first worldwide was "Biodiversity in Good Company".

Among the more than 330 companies and financial institutions that signed the call for mandatory biodiversity reporting by the international network “Business for Nature”, there are only a handful of German companies, such as RWE and Tchibo.

In Berlin, the initiators of the "Frankfurt Declaration" demanded that a turnaround must be achieved at the World Conference on Nature - towards an economic order that calls for a reasonable price for the use of nature.

The aim is to develop a pricing system in interdisciplinary cooperation, announced Rocholl.

"What does it cost if a square kilometer of rainforest is lost?" With the destabilization of the tropical zone, the risk of pandemics also increases massively, warned the biologist Schenck.

Corona has shown what that means for the economy, Rocholl added.

Mandatory disclosure of negative consequences and risks

The goals to be agreed in Montreal for the protection of nature affect the economy in several respects: The private sector should help to close the huge financing gap that exists in international nature conservation - at least 700 billion dollars a year.

There are also plans to reduce subsidies that are harmful to nature.

The negotiators are also aiming for regulations on reporting by companies on risks to biodiversity and ecosystems.

However, there is still not even agreement on the main features of the Montreal goals to be agreed.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens), who will represent the federal government, counts the reduction of subsidies that are harmful to nature as one of Germany's "key concerns" at the World Nature Conference.

The Federal Environment Agency puts the amount of public funding with negative effects on biological diversity at around 65 billion euros a year.

Reductions in such subsidies would primarily affect agriculture and companies in the construction and transport sectors.

Lemke's demands for nature-friendly financial flows and business activities are also shared by the EU environment ministers.

A position paper on the World Conference on Nature states that the new framework agreement must ensure that companies and financial institutions disclose negative consequences and risks for biodiversity and also avoid or mitigate them.

The Federation of German Industries sees possible agreements on corporate responsibility in a relaxed manner.

"In Germany there are already very strict regulations for companies to protect nature and far-reaching compensation obligations," says BDI representative Catrin Schiffer.