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The role of nature in the travel industry

Integrating nature into your business alongside climate

“Integrating active management of biodiversity into core business strategies can be a tremendous profit-enhancing opportunity for firms. Conversely, a lack of consideration can be incredibly costly.” – UN Convention on Biological Diversity

Biodiversity loss has been ranked amongst the greatest threats facing humanity over the next ten years. This trend is also directly connected to climate change. Taking action to reverse both jointly provides businesses the opportunity to take the lead and better anticipate future climate- and nature-based regulation.1

This is especially true in the travel and tourism industry where the protection of ecosystems will be critical to the sector’s future economic success and growth. This sector is one of six with over 80 per cent of its goods and services highly dependent on nature. For example, ocean tourism is globally valued at $390 billion, with coral reefs alone contributing $36 billion every year. Loss of these critical natural assets continues to have a negative impact on tourism operators and across supply chains. 2,3

To respond to the nature crisis and build resilience for the future, travel and tourism companies need to adopt nature-positive business practices, such as setting nature-related objectives, identifying strategies, actions and investments to realise them.

The shifting landscape

With the nature crisis escalating, many stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry are taking more actions in favour of becoming more nature-positive. Nature-positive is the term used to describe a world where nature – species and ecosystems - is being restored and is regenerating rather than declining. As markets aim for net-zero and nature-positive transitions, regulator, investor and consumer expectations have risen.

Consumers are encouraging the industry to go beyond just reducing its negative footprint, to also becoming nature-positive. According to our research, whether a product or a service supports biodiversity is a consideration when making a purchase for one in three UK consumers. The same research also shows that one in four UK consumers is prepared to pay more for goods and services that protect and support biodiversity. Investors are calling for more detail to make judgments on the long-term return of their investments. Where there are risks often there are also opportunities. With ambition and action, the travel sector can play a leading role in a more nature-positive future. For example, governments representing 196 countries agreed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 through the Global Biodiversity Framework – an agreement recognising the imperative function of the private sector in this transformation. Given this, nature related regulation affecting travel and tourism is likely to follow.4

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)

On the 28th March 2023, the TNFD launched the fourth and final beta version of its draft risk management and disclosure framework. Organisations are encouraged to start piloting and preparing for market adoption of the final recommendations in September 2023.

A draft (beta) version of the TNFD framework is already available for companies to start piloting and preparing for market adoption of the final recommendations in September 2023. The framework is designed to complement the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) with the view to form an integrated approach that recognises the interconnections between climate and nature.

Starting to integrate and report against the recommendations of the TNFD has important material benefits for travel companies from better risk management, increased reputation, competitor differentiation and achieving net-zero objectives through nature-based solutions. By ensuring nature counts in all decisions, the TNFD helps companies understand their nature-related risks, make scientifically informed decisions, build resilience and capitalise on new opportunities.

Next steps

How can travel and tourism companies initiate nature integration and turn risks into opportunities? The answer begins with these five steps:

1. TNFD preparedness: consider implementing the TNFD framework by scoping out how to approach the process (e.g., what business units, supply chains and/or geographies), data availability and develop a roadmap outlining next steps.

2. TNFD piloting: use beta v0.4 of the TNFD framework to map out and analyse the company’s impacts and dependencies on nature, and the associated business risks and opportunities. First focus on direct and immediate supplier activities, with a view to expanding this further upstream (suppliers of suppliers) and downstream (consumers) in later stages. To carry out this assessment, the TNFD suggests using an integrated process called LEAP:

a. Locate your interface with nature

b. Evaluate your dependencies and impacts

c. Assess your risks and opportunities

d. Prepare to respond to nature-related risks and opportunities and report

3. Nature-related objectives and target setting: Based on the insights from the pilot, commit to ambitious goals and set science-based targets for nature.

4. Transition strategy and planning: identify strategies, actions and investments to achieve agreed nature goals. Avoid and reduce nature-related risks and capture new opportunities across the value chain by investing in innovation and resource efficient (circular) business models, products and services. Invest in nature-based projects, like restoring ecosystems that are important for biodiversity and carbon storage. Integrate measures within your company’s governance, risk management and investment structures.

5. Accounting and disclosure: Monitor progress toward nature targets and transition planning milestones. Report on risks, targets and progress publicly in line with the recommendations set out in the four pillars of the TNFD.

Inaction is not an option - as the forests, coral reefs and mangroves that underpin visitor experience, hotel infrastructure and supply chain sustainability come under threat, so does the viability of the industry.

For more information:

Find out more about the TNFD and beta v0.4: From measurement to action: getting prepared for TNFD | Deloitte UK

Find out more about nature risk, market trends and forthcoming regulation: Episode 37: Nature and Biodiversity | Deloitte UK

1 World Economic Forum. (2023) “The Global Risks Report 2023.”

2 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2016) “The ocean economy in 2030.”

3 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2019).” Biodiversity: Finance and the Economic and Business Case for Action.” Report prepared for the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting, 5-6 May 2019.

4 Deloitte UK, ‘How consumers are embracing sustainability’ (2022). See also: