How will the EU Nature Restoration Law make a difference?

Published on

March 6, 2024


Iris Skrami

Co-founder and CSO


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On 27th February, the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) passed in a final EU Parliament vote, with 329 votes in favour, 275 against and 24 abstentions.

The law represents a comprehensive legislative effort to combat environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change within the European Union. By setting clear targets and frameworks for restoration activities, the NRL aims to restore 20% of the EU's land and seas by 2030.

Will the law succeed in its goals? 

Understanding the EU Nature Restoration law

Through initiatives such as reforestation, wetland restoration, sustainable agriculture practices, and the expansion of marine protected areas, the NRL seeks to enhance ecosystem health, biodiversity, and resilience. By restoring natural habitats and promoting sustainable land and sea management practices, the NRL aims to mitigate the impacts of climate change, improve water quality, and safeguard biodiversity across Europe.

What will it take for the law to succeed?

The European Parliament's recent passing of the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) marks a significant step toward restoring 20% of the EU's land and seas by 2030.

The success of what has been labeled as "ambitious" initiative is linked to several crucial factors, according to a recent research published in the Science scientific journal:

  1. National implementation and cooperation: While the NRL provides a clear framework and targets, its success relies heavily on ambitious national implementation and collaboration among member states. Cooperation between nature restoration initiatives, landowners, and land users will be vital for long-term maintenance and effectiveness.
  2. Scalability of restoration projects: Projects carried out in the past demonstrate the importance of scaling up existing restoration efforts across Europe. Tailored restoration actions, addressing various stressors like wildfires, storms, and fragmentation, are essential for success. Engagement from national and regional institutions, as well as private funding sectors, will be crucial for upscaling restoration actions.
  3. Commitment to long-term restoration: Restoration takes time, patience, and sustained commitment. Efforts like reforestation, wetland restoration, and sustainable agriculture practices require long-term planning and dedication to ensure lasting environmental benefits.

Are there opportunities for companies?

Despite the challenges, the NRL also presents significant opportunities for companies:

  1. Innovation and green investments: Companies involved in nature restoration projects can drive innovation and investment in sustainable practices. From reforestation initiatives to urban green spaces development, there is ample opportunity for businesses to contribute positively to environmental restoration while also benefiting economically.
  2. Corporate Responsibility and reputation: Embracing nature restoration aligns with corporate responsibility initiatives and enhances companies' reputations as environmentally conscious entities. By participating in restoration efforts, companies can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and contribute to positive societal change.
  3. Economic benefits and compliance to other legislation: Investing in nature restoration can yield economic benefits in the long run as a system. For this reason  regulatory requirements include some of the topics NRL touches (biodiversity, climate change) and the reporting/tech implementations that companies will be called to deliver in legislations like CSRD, Digital Product Passports (ESPR). Healthy ecosystems contribute to biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and sustainable resource management, which ultimately support economic resilience and well-being.

While the success of the EU NRL depends on concerted efforts from governments, businesses, and stakeholders, it is also reported to presents unprecedented opportunities for environmental and economic impact.

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