May 1st, 2017

The business case for soil

Published by Nature,

In this expert opinion (PDF) in Nature, Jess Davis argues that action on soil sustainability must move beyond the farm and into the boardroom. She argues that most businesses are unaware that their bottom lines depend on soil; nor are they aware of the risks they face from its degradation. According to her, business must recognize that improving soil quality is a smart investment. While businesses are aware of the risks of climate change in general, soil (which cuts across all environmental concerns) is often not mentioned. Davis argue that the private sector must take action on soil and  should advocate for international legislation assess their soil risks and impacts and invest in maintaining and enhancing this resource in collaboration with research. According to Davis, the lack of regulation perpetuates the problem. While soil is a global resource, there is no international legislation for governing soils resulting in a lack of awareness. She recommends the business community to follow three paths in partnership with scientists: advocacy, assessment and investment. However, scientist are also recommended to listen and learn the language, priorities and procedures of the business world to facilitate change. A scientific strategy to help build business cases for action on soil should include: international and long-term monitoring of soil resources; creating metrics that matter to business and measuring the socio-economic impacts of degradation; illuminating the risks and consequences of inaction or intervention; and tools that support decision-making and soil investment.

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