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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

12 March 2024 - Guidance for businesses in the agri-food sector to aid understanding of nature-related risks and disclosure frameworks that can promote nature-positive action has been produced by CISL in collaboration with Asda and incorporates business insights from value chain actors

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The integration of nature-related risks and opportunities into business strategy planning is becoming increasingly essential, particularly within industries on the frontline of nature action such as the agri-food sector. This short guide delineates a structured approach for businesses in this sector to understand and engage with the nature agenda effectively. It highlights the economic dependencies on nature and the consequent risks and opportunities presented by nature loss, driven by human activity. Governments, citizens, and financial institutions are intensifying their focus on ecological preservation through regulations, policies, and voluntary initiatives targeted at businesses, underscoring the urgency for action.

To help business understand emerging trends, frameworks and reporting requirements – and how they can respond to these by taking some decisive first steps towards positive action on nature – the report is broken down into four main chapters:

  1. Why the nature agenda is shaping business strategies examines the need for action with a particular focus on the agri-food sector as one of the industries most reliant on healthy natural systems.
  2. The farming and nature nexus looks in more depth at the structure of agricultural value chains and the challenges existing structures pose to greater action on nature.
  3. What this means for business – how to prepare focuses on nature targets under the TNFD and SBTN, two of the most prominent assessment and disclosure frameworks.
  4. Key success factors for becoming nature positive examines the three areas identified as critical to addressing nature issues for agri-food businesses:
    • Getting the right nature-related data
    • Engaging with key stakeholders across the value chain
    • Embedding nature action within a wider holistic strategy

Working with Asda and four of their key suppliers enabled the inclusion of business insights into some of the real-world challenges currently faced by this industry as they seek to better understand and take action on nature-related risks and opportunities. For organisations within the agri-food value chain, this report draws on these insights and a wider body of work to outline the key considerations and concrete first steps that can be taken to accelerate the transition to nature positive.

Citing this report

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). (2024). Ahead of the curve: A preparatory guide on nature for the agri-food sector. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Published: March 2024

Authors and acknowledgements

Edmund Dickens and Harry Greenfield 


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent an official position of CISL or any of its individual business partners or clients.


Copyright © 2024 University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). Some rights reserved. The material featured in this publication is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)