Home » Sustainable Business » Naturetech: critical in scaling investment in nature-based solutions

Rory Canavan

Associate Director, Natural Capital & Biodiversity, Arup

Using naturetech to solve the climate crisis is essential, but more needs to be done to understand how to halt and reverse global nature loss.

Biodiversity is under threat. Nature plays a central role in our collective move towards a regenerative future. As the linchpin for the planet’s health, organisations across the world are recognising the importance of halting and restoring biodiversity loss.

Addressing the complexity of biodiversity

Responsible for nearly 30% of biodiversity loss, firms working across the built environment are grappling with how to assess and monitor biodiversity performance.

Ahead of next year’s COP 16 gathering in Türkiye, addressing biodiversity loss is a complex issue. It requires a multifaceted approach: science-based and data-driven solutions offer a starting point.

The integration of ecological models and statistical analyses is enhancing our understanding of biodiversity patterns and trends.

Naturetech: data shows the way

Biodiversity data serves as a critical foundation for addressing the multidimensional aspects of species loss and ecosystem degradation. Enter ‘naturetech’ — nature technology has rapidly evolved from related climatetech, which received more than $19 billion worth of investment during the first half of 2022 alone. Naturetech is estimated to grow by $6 billion in the next few years.

From environmental DNA and genetic analysis techniques to bioacoustics and remote-sensing technologies, organisations can use advanced data collection methods to obtain comprehensive and accurate baseline of data, with information about species populations, habitat quality and ecological interactions.

The integration of ecological models and statistical analyses is enhancing our understanding of biodiversity patterns and trends, facilitating evidence-based decision-making for restoring nature.

Deployment of naturetech

We have been successfully integrating digital, tech and biotechnology resources across many of our projects at Arup. We invest heavily in our own tech development. As early as 1957, during the build of the Sydney Opera House, we used a computer to help with calculation and modelling. This was the first application of a computer in an engineering project.

We are now using virtual reality to educate school children on the value of biodiversity and encourage citizen science participation. Our water teams are working with a Global DNA specialist on genetic analysis techniques to make them more accessible and affordable, allowing scientists to better understand the genetic diversity of species and populations. The mainstreaming and integration of naturetech within our projects enables us to move from minimising harm to biodiversity to restoring biodiversity.

Arup is an independent, employee-owned sustainable development consultant with a significant research and innovation engine.

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