Every ten years governments convene to agree new targets to protect species and ecosystems essential to human existence. Cop15, commonly referred to as “the nature COP”, is the UN biodiversity conference. The last nature Cop was in 2010 in Japan, where the 20 Aichi targets were set, including halving the loss of natural habitats and expanding protected areas by 17%.
The overarching goal of all biodiversity Cop’s is to progress towards the 2050 Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”. Cop15 will deliver the Post 2020 global biodiversity framework, the final text containing the targets and guidelines agreed by attending governments. The work and negotiations have already begun with a first stage of Cop15 has virtually hosted by China. Key player countries, such as the final host Canada and the UK, are pushing to halt biodiversity loss and begin its reversal. The actionable target to this effect involves all countries to conserve or protect 30% of their land and seas by 2030.
Although brilliantly ambitious, a 30% protected land and seas target will require a transformation in farming, forestry and other uses of land and sea into nature positive activities. Countries like the UK with areas of majority private land ownership will require government, local planning authorities and private landowners to work towards this goal together. As for all effective plans, there will be a need for accurate and useful monitoring and disclosure by all actors. Biodiversity is in its’ nature complex and difficult to record. Several biodiversity metrics and monitoring frameworks exist for governments and businesses. Task for nature related risk disclosures (TNFD) is a fore runner for corporate biodiversity impact and risk assessment, which Greengage has previously covered. TNFD has overcome several of the major issues facing these frameworks, such as global applicability and credibility. Other frameworks for risk assessment and disclosure include GRI’s, including metrics on land management, location, changes in species and ecosystem function, polluting activity, and habitat protection.
It is clear business can’t function or thrive without biodiversity. A report by Swiss Re group evidences 55% of the global GDP is reliant on high functioning biodiversity and ecosystem services. Horrifyingly the world has thus far failed to meet any of the 20 Aichi targets set by the last nature Cop. However, awareness of the biodiversity crisis and urgency for progress is greater than ever among businesses, investors and the general public. The rapidly evolving suite of biodiversity related risk and opportunity monitoring and disclosure frameworks is indicative of a growing pressure on the private sector to engage with biodiversity impact. A similar mounting pressure on the private sector to monitor and disclose climate related risks lead to an obligation for all UK premium-listed companies to state in their annual report whether their disclosures are consistent with Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure recommendation or to explain why not. There is no doubt that increased private sector biodiversity monitoring and disclosure is in the best interest of businesses, which can see immediate short-term advantages and increase long term resilience to risk.
For more information about how Greengage can help you with your TNFD and ESG-led biodiversity strategies, please contact Morgan Taylor