The global market for technologies designed to support nature-based climate solutions represents a "burgeoning market opportunity" that could triple to $6 billion by 2030, according to an analysis released last week.
Research led by the Nature4Climate coalition of green NGOs and investment platform Capital for Climate argues the nature tech market is set for significant growth in the coming years as more businesses seek investable, profitable and high-integrity means of meeting their climate and nature goals.
The report defines nature tech as "any technology that can be applied to enable, accelerate, and scale-up nature-based solutions" to combat the climate crisis and values the existing market at around $2 billion, but predicts it is on course to hit $6 billion by the end of the decade. It covers innovations such as satellite rainforest monitoring, tree-planting drones and carbon credit trading software.
Lucy Almond, chair of Nature4Climate — a 20-strong coalition that includes We Mean Business, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) — said she was "hugely excited" by the report's findings.
Scaling nature-based solutions (NbS) such as forest, mangrove and peatland restoration are critical to delivering on global climate and nature targets, she argued.
"We need nature-based solutions to provide 30 percent of the mitigation required by 2030 in order to keep our global climate and nature goals in reach," she explained. "The application of technology to NbS makes sense, both for the sake of the planet and financially, since an estimated $44 trillion of economic value relies on nature. It also has a huge role to play in giving people confidence in how nature can help us deliver on our climate targets."
Global public and private flows of capital to nature-based solutions currently stand at around $133 billion per year, and investment levels need to increase fourfold in real terms by 2050 if the world is to meet its climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets, according to the report.
But it argues that while the benefits of "climate tech" and "clean tech" are widely understood, awareness of the opportunities "nature tech" presents is far lower, despite the latter being expected to play an increasing role in global climate efforts over the next decade.
The market for agricultural drones alone, which enable precision farming, has skyrocketed and is expected to reach $5.9 billion by 2026, at least some of which will be targeted toward more climate and biodiversity-friendly farming initiatives, it notes.
Such technologies can help to de-risk investments in nature, boost crop yields, increase transparency and accountability and promote national and regional growth, the report argues.
However, the report warns that nature-based solutions still require substantial investment if they are to be deployed at the pace and scale required to meet global climate and nature goals.
Tony Lent, co-founder at Capital for Climate, described nature tech as "necessary, dynamic and investable."
"Nature tech is critical to scaling and accelerating investment in nature-based solutions," he said. "While emergent, the nature tech space also has substantial opportunities for investors."