Biodiversity's COP15 is over. Business asks what this means for them.
The much-anticipated Conference of the Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity (more commonly known as COP15) has closed out in Montreal this week, with much relief from stakeholders that a global biodiversity framework has been accepted by the Parties. This framework outlines 23 targets, including the catchy ‘30 by 30’ Target 3, which aims to ensure and enable “that by 2030 at least 30 per cent of terrestrial, inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are effectively conserved and managed […]”. This headline target is likely to become a proxy for monitoring the biodiversity crisis in the same way that ‘1.5oC’ has become the headline target out of the Paris Agreement.
Target 15 and business
As the conservation community celebrates this milestone framework, along with the recognition of the interconnectedness between the climate and biodiversity crises, the business community may be wondering what this means for them. Unlike the Paris Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework includes specific expectations for large and transnational companies and financial institutions within Target 15, where the parties agree to:
Take legal, administrative or policy measures to encourage and enable business, and in particular to ensure that large and transnational companies and financial institutions:
- Regularly monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, including with requirements for all large as well as transnational companies and financial institutions along their operations, supply and value chains and portfolios;
- Provide information needed to consumers to promote sustainable consumption patterns;
- Report on compliance with access and benefit-sharing regulations and measures, as applicable;
in order to progressively reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, increase positive impacts, reduce biodiversity-related risks to business and financial institutions, and promote actions to ensure sustainable patterns of production.
Measuring business impact on biodiversity
This sends a strong signal that businesses and financial institutions should start investigating the most appropriate way for them to monitor, assess, and disclose their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity to be ready for when this target is enacted into relevant national legislation.
Biodiversity impacts can be found at both the location of a business’ direct operations and deep within its supply chains or investment portfolio. Fair Supply’s Integrated Assessment Engine is a unique tool which quantifies extinction risk within supply chains or investment portfolios to identify the locations most impacted by an entity. We can identify the extinction-risk footprint associated with your direct operations, supply chains, and investment portfolio, supporting the assessment, monitoring and disclosure of biodiversity impacts across the globe. Read our report to learn more about our methodology.
In the words of Unilever CEO, Alan Jope:
“As COP15 concludes, the message to the private sector is clear: businesses around the world and from all sectors will need to take large-scale action now to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. The Global Biodiversity Framework is set to provide the political certainty that all large businesses and financial institutions will be required to assess and disclose risks and impacts on nature. The result will be stronger accountability and better-informed decisions by investors, governments, consumers and businesses themselves.”