State of the Art and Latest Advances in Exploring Business Models for Nature-Based Solutions

Beatriz Mayor*, Helen Toxopeus, Siobhan McQuaid, Edoardo Croci, Benedetta Lucchitta, Suhana E. Reddy, Aitziber Egusquiza, Monica A. Altamirano, Tamara Trumbic, Andreas Tuerk, Gemma Garcia, Efren Feliu, Cosima Malandrino, Joanne Schante, Anne Jensen, Elena Lopez Gunn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Nature-based solutions (NBS) offer multiple solutions to urban challenges simultaneously, but realising funding for NBS remains a challenge. When the concept of NBS for societal challenges was first defined by the EC in 2017, financing was recognised as one of the major challenges to its mainstreaming. The complexity of NBS finance has its origin in the multiple benefits/stakeholders involved, which obscures the argument for both public and private sector investment. Since 2017, subsequent waves of EU research- and innovation-funded projects have substantially contributed to the knowledge base of funding and business models for NBS, particularly in the urban context. Collaborating and sharing knowledge through an EU Task Force, this first set of EU projects laid important knowledge foundations, reviewing existing literature, and compiling empirical evidence of different financing approaches and the business models that underpinned them. The second set of EU innovation actions advanced this knowledge base, developing and testing new implementation models, business model tools, and approaches. This paper presents the findings of these projects from a business model perspective to improve our understanding of the value propositions of NBS to support their mainstreaming.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7413
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • NBS implementation
  • nature-based solutions
  • sustainable business models
  • urban planning


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