July 12, 2023

The EU Nature Restoration Law: A Triumph of Collaboration Amidst Strong Counterlobbying

The EU Nature Restoration Law represents a significant milestone in environmental conservation, driven not only by activists and scientists but also by dedicated companies that supported the lobbying efforts.

The EU Nature Restoration Law represents a significant milestone in environmental conservation, driven not only by activists and scientists but also by dedicated companies that supported the lobbying efforts. Passed by the European Parliament, this groundbreaking legislation aims to restore nature and combat biodiversity loss across EU member states. This article emphasizes the key provisions of the Nature Restoration Law while acknowledging the substantial role played by companies in advocating for its passage.

The Need for Nature Restoration

 The EU Nature Restoration Law arrives at a crucial moment when the world grapples with alarming biodiversity loss, habitat degradation, and climate change. One of the most cited facts is that 80% of natural habitats are in poor condition in Europe.  Environmental activists, scientists, and companies have united in recognizing the urgent need to reverse these trends. Their combined efforts have contributed to the EU's proactive stance in halting biodiversity decline and promoting ecosystem restoration.

Key Provisions of the Nature Restoration Law 

The Nature Restoration Law introduces vital provisions to restore and safeguard Europe's natural environment. Companies which were united under the banner of the Business for Nature initiative, and some of the big businesses also lobbied independently, alongside NGOs, activists and scientists, have played a significant role in shaping these provisions, bringing their expertise and resources to the table. They have advocated for ambitious targets like restoring at least 20 per cent of the EU’s degraded land and seas by 2030, sustainable agricultural practices, and nature-based solutions. By collaborating with other stakeholders in politics, companies have helped ensure that these provisions align with both environmental goals and economic feasibility.

Support and Lobbying by Dedicated Companies

 The passage of the Nature Restoration Law was made possible by the support and lobbying efforts of dedicated companies. Recognizing the business case for environmental sustainability, these companies have actively engaged in advocating for the law. They have highlighted the benefits of restoration for long-term business viability, brand reputation, and market competitiveness. As the European Commission also argued, every 1 euro invested in nature restoration adds 8 to 38 euro in benefits.  

The Business For Nature initiative collected more than 80 CEOs’ signatures from leading companies in the European economy, including the CEOs of CNP Assurances, Croda International, IKEA, Impax Asset Management, l'Occitane en Provence, Mirova, Novozymes, Public Power Corporation S.A., Séché Environnement,  Triodos Bank and Unilever and business leaders from H&M Group, Holcim, Iberdrola, Legal and General Investment, Nestlé, Salesforce, Suez, Tetra Pak and Ørsted among others. It is demonstrating their commitment to responsible practices and investing in sustainable initiatives, these companies have bolstered the credibility and urgency of the Nature Restoration Law. They have actively participated in public consultations, provided input on draft legislation, and collaborated with policymakers to create an enabling environment for nature restoration.

Challenges and Counterlobbying 

Despite the broad support, the Nature Restoration Law encountered strong counter-lobbying efforts from certain sectors like agribusiness forestry and fishery through the European Peoples Party (EPP). In the law-making process, those forces reached the delay of the law, but couldn’t achieve its watering-up. Industries with vested interests in maintaining the status quo raised concerns about potential economic impacts and regulatory burdens. These counter-lobbying activities presented significant challenges during the legislative process, highlighting the complexity of balancing environmental and economic considerations. Most European governments support the Nature Restoration Law – but right-wing governments in the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Italy and Poland were against it. 

Nevertheless, the resilience and determination of proponents of the Nature Restoration Law, including activists, scientists, and supportive companies, ensured that the legislation moved forward. They actively engaged in constructive dialogue, presented evidence-based arguments, and showcased the long-term benefits of nature restoration. This collaborative approach helped to address concerns, find common ground, and build consensus.

The EU Nature Restoration Law stands as a testament to the power of collaboration between activists, scientists, and dedicated companies in advancing environmental conservation. By actively supporting lobbying efforts, companies have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability and recognized the business opportunities inherent in nature restoration. Despite facing a strong counter-lobby, the collective efforts of proponents prevailed, resulting in landmark legislation that prioritizes the restoration of nature. As the EU takes bold steps towards a sustainable future, the ongoing collaboration between activists, scientists, and companies will remain vital in ensuring the successful implementation and impact of the Nature Restoration Law.

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