How can we move towards a Nature Positive future?

View of the heather at Arne as the sun sets behind the horizon

Nature Positive is a global movement aiming to halt nature loss by 2030 and recover nature by 2050. The term Nature Positive is increasingly being used by businesses and governments to describe their commitments and targets to protect wildlife. The UK government has committed to delivering a Nature Positive future, but what would this look like, how can we get there and how does it relate to our work at the RSPB?

View of the heather at Arne as the sun sets behind the horizon

What does a Nature Positive future look like?

Imagine a world where protecting and restoring nature was at the heart of everything we did - how we designed our cities and built our houses, how we grew our food, how we structured our economy. That’s a Nature Positive world. It’s about more than just limiting harm, it means actively boosting biodiversity and supporting precious ecosystems around the world through sustained action and transformation. As well as protecting wildlife, if done right, Nature Positive efforts address other related problems including poverty, food security, and health and wellbeing.

The RSPB’s stance on Nature Positive

The RSPB supports efforts to protect and restore nature, it’s at the forefront of our work. We see Nature Positive as a powerful concept that can help drive change. Nature Positive is a goal of the RSPB’s 2030 corporate strategy — we want to have more wildlife at the end of this decade than we had at the start of it. While Nature Positive is predominantly a global term, we feel it can help us in our efforts to push for regional and local action. This means advocating for science-backed targets and measurable outcomes that help ensure initiatives that say they’re Nature Positive, really are, alongside driving Nature Positive actions.

How can we reach a Nature Positive future?

Reaching a Nature Positive future means addressing both the climate and biodiversity crises. This will require changes across the whole of society. To get there, we’ll need to work together with sector experts, policy leaders and businesses to imagine what a Nature Positive future could look like and take action to make it a reality. We need to ensure we are all working with the shared goal of protecting and restoring biodiversity and the health of our climate. This will take open conversations, transparency and a willingness to try new approaches.   For the UK government to realise its goal of a Nature Positive future, it needs to spend money to protect and restore nature. Crucially, there must be strategies put in place to make sure government money is being allocated and used effectively.

Want to learn more? Follow this link to a blog post by Kim Dunn, Senior Policy Officer for the RSPB.


Funding a Nature Positive future

At present, government spending on nature falls short of what the RSPB estimates we’ll need to make a Nature Positive future a reality. There are many different areas that will require funding, whether it’s protecting habitats and species, reimagining farming practices to work in harmony with nature, reducing flood risk or boosting biosecurity. At the moment, the UK government spends estimately £552m across the UK on nature, about the same as the national budget for pothole repairs. This figure is expected to rise in the coming years, due to welcome funding announcements, but it’s still not enough. By our estimates, it will take £1.8bn of spending on nature a year to meet current species and habitat targets.

Want to find out more? Follow this link to a blog by RSPB Principal Economist, Paul Morling.


What we need the government to do for nature

We know there’s a government spending gap that must be filled if we're to reach a Nature Positive future. But it’s not just about the amount of money that needs to be spent – how the money is spent is just as important. Our leadership must champion public spending that’s designed with nature in mind across all sectors. At the RSPB, we believe it’s essential to check just how sustainable government investments really are and we recommend the use of specially-designed frameworks to do this. 

In the private sector, we believe transparency is key. Firms should be required to publish their nature protection action plans, just as they were required to share climate transition plans as part of the government’s Green Finance Roadmap. We also need to understand the full impact businesses are currently having on nature, so the government can adapt spending accordingly. It is also really important that businesses recognise their dependencies on nature to understand the further 'hidden costs' of biodiversity loss.

Want to learn more? Follow this link to a blog by RSPB’s head of Future Nature, Jamie Audsley.