Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
The UN explains:
Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. Thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.
The UN has defined 12 Targets and 14 Indicators for SDG 15. Targets specify the goals and Indicators represent the metrics by which the world aims to track whether these Targets are achieved.
Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
15.1: By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
15.3: By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
15.4: By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
15.5: Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
15.6: Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
15.7: Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
15.8: By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
15.9: By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
15.a: Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
15.b: Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
15.c: Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities
Do we value our planet enough? Plants provide 80% of our diet and land habitats provide a range of crucial functions (terrestrial ecosystems e.g. forests, grasslands and wetlands clean our air and water, regulate our climate, manage pests and diseases, provide pollinators for our crops, control flooding, and fix and circulate nutrients to maintain fertile soils). Biodiversity (the number, variety and variability of living organisms in an ecosystem) has intrinsic, scientific and economic value.
Pollution, climate change, invasive species, overexploitation and land use change are causing unprecedented shifts, and in many cases degradation, of terrestrial ecosystems. Both natural biodiversity and genetic diversity of crops and livestock are in sharp decline, with up to 30% of mammal, bird and amphibian species at risk of extinction due to human drivers.
What can business do? Put a value on your environmental impact and work to reduce it. Consider whether environmental degradation and/or biodiversity loss could affect your continuity of supply e.g. decreasing soil fertility could lead to crop failure. Consider certification of sustainably sourced soy, palm oil and timber/paper, work to eliminate paper waste by reducing, reusing and recycling, and only buying from certified sustainable forest sources.