Business drivers for the use of natural infrastructure solutions
Business applications of natural infrastructure solutions
Natural infrastructure solutions have numerous business applications to address various business drivers.
Business benefits and co-benefits from natural infrastructure solutions
Natural infrastructure solutions may also generate environmental and social co-benefits inherent to natural infrastructure solutions. As a result, when businesses’ financial benefits from natural infrastructure and gray infrastructure are similar, quantifying co-benefits often reveals that the natural infrastructure solutions provide greater overall benefits than gray infrastructure.
Direct financial benefits
Natural infrastructure solutions can maintain or enhance the value of land, property, and infrastructure assets. They also often have fewer initial capital expenditures, reduced long-term O&M costs, or both, when compared to gray infrastructure alternatives. Examples include:
Environmental co-benefits and associated operational, financial and reputational gains
Typically, natural infrastructure solutions not only have a smaller environmental footprint but also enhance the environment as compared to gray infrastructure because they are nature-based and self-regenerating. Examples include:
Social co-benefits and associated operational, financial and reputational gains
Businesses see operational, financial, and reputational gains from social co-benefits generated when employing NI solutions. These co-benefits can increase the quality of life in the local and global communities where the business operates, and build strong company ties with the neighbouring communities. Examples include:
Incentives for Natural Infrastructure
The report “Incentives for Natural Infrastructure,” together with related recommendations, details a study conducted across different sectors in six regions in 2016 (Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North America) to uncover the barriers and incentives for businesses obtaining permits, financing and insurance for natural infrastructure.
According to the report, the most common incentives for investing in natural infrastructure include cost savings, environmental and social benefits that go beyond financials and alignment with policy frameworks. The most significant barriers to permitting and financing for natural infrastructure include technical feasibility and revenue generation. It shows that business has a key role to play in demonstrating the effectiveness of NI solutions and engaging with stakeholders who can influence financing and permitting.
In efforts to help businesses overcome such challenges, the report provides a set of recommendations for:
- Collaborating with local authorities about obtaining permits for NI
- Engaging with the finance community to increase financing of NI
- Promoting policies and risk reduction benefits of NI