A regenerative, Nature Positive business world – where doing more business means doing more good – is essential in helping to create a better future for us all. Solving key social and environmental challenges that humanity is facing. Creating ripples of positive impacts for the planet that contribute to the greater thriving of all life. Businesses that operate and thrive as Nature does, and yet regenerate our ecosystems too.

It is a movement that is happening, and one I have been igniting as a Nature Positive Change Catalyst. I firmly believe all businesses, organisations and communities can become positive catalysts healing our planet.

As we are facing societal challenges and tipping points, humanity is invited to step up as guardians for all of life, all of Nature, and to take on a new approach. It is time we woke up to who we are and are meant to be: keystone species helping to build thriving ecosystems, like whales cool the climate and wolves can regenerate ecosystems.

During my lifetime, the importance of sustainability has accelerated, a positive thing one could say. Yet in that same period the biggest destruction has happened. So today we need businesses, organisations and communities to step up to go beyond sustainability.

So why do we keep on doing business as usual?

It’s a question I often ask in my workshops and trainings. Yet hardly anyone comes up with the deeper root cause of all the (interconnected) issues: disconnection. I believe our ecological and other crises are due to a lost connection to our inner Nature and to all of Nature around. People run businesses and the economy as something separate from the magic of life, separate from Nature, ultimately destroying our own existence, our life force. Yet all is Nature, we are Nature, and all is interconnected. Workplace surveys reveal that 77% of employees are not engaged or thriving at work. Levels of stress, anxiety, burnout, illnesses and all sorts of diseases are spreading throughout humanity, our economies and other life. When employees are empowered to embrace their Soul Purpose and Nature Positive business models it helps them to heal, find meaning, and thrive.

We have disconnected ourselves from our own complete ‘web of life’ and we don’t consider the interests of others and Nature as being the same as our own interests. Yet what we do to one part of the web of life, we do to ourselves. The planet’s health and our health are inseparable. This means we need to see ourselves and the world around us through new eyes: with a ‘web of life’ or ‘living eco-systemic’ view.

As a species we need to rise in consciousness to this truth. When a majority reconnect fully to their whole authentic nature, in interconnectedness and service to all of Nature around, finding their own unique Soul Purpose in service to the greater thriving of all of life, we will be able to regenerate our planet and solve all of humanity’s challenges.

So what does being regenerative, or Nature Positive, mean for business?

We clearly need to go beyond sustainability: from minimising harm to life or net zero to a new, different, life-enhancing approach. This movement and what it really represents needs promoting, protecting and truly embodying. Leaders need to raise their levels of consciousness and reconnect to Nature (inside out), in order to realise such regenerative life-affirming, Nature Positive outcomes in practice for people and our planet.

Here’s my own definition of what a truly regenerative business does: A regenerative business is life-affirming, operates as Nature does and out of love for all of life. It puts the greater thriving and wellbeing of all of life, all of Nature, at the centre of every decision and every action, and is realising Nature Positive impact.

This is a journey of awakening. People need to awaken to the truth that we are Nature and we can create businesses as Nature. Nature itself is regenerative, purposeful, gives more than it takes, is circular, renewable, collaborative, creates life, is resilient, has zero waste, etc.

This regenerative approach is one any organisation can embrace. Yet it is important to be transparent and honest about where the business is on the journey and to continuously learn and improve. Being sustainable (net zero) or restorative (net positive) are good first steps on the journey towards Nature Positive, but we still need to address some common misunderstandings:

1) A regenerative business is not ‘Net Positive’: a regenerative business is ‘Nature Positive’.

Of course, being restorative and net positive is important on the regeneration journey, but it is not the same as being fully regenerative. A regenerative business is lifeaffirming, and thus ‘Nature Positive’ means positive to all of life, all of Nature, giving back more than receiving, and operating as Nature does.

I often give the metaphor of my three children. Would I be a regenerative mum if I cared well for two of my children, but not for the third? Calling myself Net Positive? Net positive means an organisation has more positive than negative impacts overall, which is better than most companies out there, but that means there are still negative impacts. And we need to be radically honest and transparent about that.

2) A regenerative business doesn’t look at Nature as something separate we need to care for.

It sees Nature as a whole ‘web of life’ including people, as it encompasses all aspects of living ecosystems. Nature Positive means being positive for all aspects of life itself – our inner and outer Nature, socially, culturally, spiritually, economically, ecologically and environmentally.

All the capitals need to be considered: Manufactured capital, Natural capital, Social & Relationship capital, Human capital, Intellectual capital, Financial capital. A truly regenerative business operates as Nature in all aspects of the business.

So where do we start?

The task often seems daunting – the world of sustainability is becoming much more complex for business leaders. It’s a dense jungle, where a compass, map and trustworthy guide is needed. Someone who comes with the necessary tools to clear the path on how to realise true Nature Positive Impact, keep a business on the right tracks and empower the climbing of those mountains, overcoming challenges and rising after falls along the way. My own proven approach has enabled regenerative leaders to create regenerative lighthouses in their industries and can guide you on your regenerative journey too, with all your questions answered. Details are in my upcoming book, to be released in 2024.

In summary:

• It all starts with facing the truth and being radically honest with the state of the business and industry. Providing full transparency where the business is on the regeneration journey and what core challenges need solving as a business.

• Embracing the fact that we’re all part of Nature and need a ‘web of life’ view.

• Reconnecting to our true nature (Soul Purpose) as Leaders, empowering employees to embrace their Purpose, define the Organisational Soul Purpose and how this connects. An ambitious Vision is part of this and will work to create creative tension with the status quo.

• Having the will to act through a Strategic Action Plan with clear Impact Strategies, Goals and Measures to reach the Vision and make it happen consistently.

• Weaving in Nature’s innate wisdom and intelligence (e.g. biomimicry) in all aspects of the business, to become like Nature.

• Impact measurement and follow-through, to ensure true Nature Positive outcomes for business, people and planet – better health, wellbeing and wealth for all.

Oh, and simply asking yourself: “Am I healing or destroying life with this decision or action?”

So realising a thriving humanity in a thriving world starts with reconnecting to our Soul Purpose, and from there creating truly regenerative, purpose-driven companies, organisations and communities, transcending all fears into love for life.

Nature Positive businesses are possible. Think about Interface creating factories as forests, the Elephant Poo Paper company revolutionising paper making with regenerative products out of elephant dung, being totally Nature Positive and empowering local women in an Indian community. Or the We Wonder Company igniting a positive climate movement, one regenerative cup of coffee or tea at a time.

Business as usual is degenerative. It’s time to go beyond. To embrace a different way of life and doing business – a journey of powerful regeneration.

So let’s all become Nature Positive and thrive like Nature.

Sophie Wisbrun-Overakker is a Nature Positive Change Catalyst, with two decades of experience in accelerating sustainable transformations across businesses, empowering leaders and companies to become regenerative forces for good. Her purpose is to reconnect people to their love for Nature (inside out). With her company Doing Business Doing Good she guides Conscious Business Leaders from Purpose to Impact on their regeneration journey so that they can become regenerative lighthouses in their industries, creating Nature Positive Impact for all of Nature to thrive. www.doingbusinessdoinggood.com