Strengthen the capacities of the private sector to implement NBS

Published 17.04.2023 , last updated 19.05.2023

Although the public sector remains, to date, the main funder of NBS, private companies play a pivotal role in critical aspects of these solutions. Private-sector contractors support nearly all stages of NBS implementation. They are involved throughout the planning process to construction and maintenance operations directly on the ground.

Contractors comprise many companies (mostly micro, small, and medium-sized), such as consultancy and engineering firms, construction companies, landscape architects, material suppliers, and data collection firms.

The expertise and know-how of contractors are fundamental prerequisites to ensure high-quality and successful solutions. However, many companies reportedly encounter challenges ranging from a lack of NBS knowledge and basic business/marketing skills to a lack of practical experience in constructing NBS.

The third and final PHUSICOS Policy Business Forum occurred on November 18th, 2022. It aimed to understand private sector challenges better and draw ideas on tackling barriers and developing capacities for NBS implementation. Attendees also discussed possible strategies to de-risk NBS.

Three key strategies were identified by participants to enhance private-sector involvement in NBS implementation:

Building capacities of NBS contractors

Knowledge deficits and divides among the private companies in charge of, for example, the design and the execution of NBS on the ground, are among the main challenges.

The provision of knowledge materials (e.g., webinars, technical training seminars) for contractors, the availability of expertise from current NBS projects (e.g., PHUSICOS) as knowledge catalysts, and the development of local/regional accelerator programs and project preparation facilities are among many measures that can be pursued.

Improving collaboration through NBS hubs involving private companies and other local stakeholders and communities is equally important.

Supporting private companies in the implementation of high-quality NBS

Private companies can struggle to estimate and generate revenues and guarantee a certain level of quality or compliance with NBS. Participants noted the urgency of developing national policies and/or tailored NBS standards while building capacity and awareness around existing instruments.

Meanwhile, it is necessary to help companies to access innovative financing and develop new business models, e.g., by integrating NBS into other areas of financing or levering NBS through offset markets.

De-risking NBS

Reducing and transferring the risks associated with NBS implementation (e.g., risks of delays and budget overruns) and performance (e.g., liability) can make NBS more attractive to private and public investors, boosting their implementation over grey alternatives. For this purpose, private insurance products are available to cover construction risks. However, governments may need to offer guarantees to cover performance risks or liability on NBS owners.

To learn more about the workshop results, please refer to the Synthesis Report: PBF3_Synthesis_PHUSICOS&NetworkNature.pdf

News post prepared by

Julia J. Aguilera Rodriguez (UNIGE),
Anna Scolobig (UNIGE),
Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer (IIASA),
Juliette Martin (IIASA),