Nature and Biodiversity
As new nature-related reporting frameworks and regulations emerge, businesses are increasingly viewing the practice of measuring, addressing, and disclosing their impacts on nature as a key exercise in risk management and an opportunity to unlock additional commercial value.
All businesses depend on nature and the critical ecosystem services it provides – from the air that we breathe to the water that we drink and the resources that we use. These services deliver enormous economic value and security to the global economy. Over half of the world’s GDP is moderately or highly dependent on nature, and natural climate solutions play a key role in building community and business resilience to climate change, both by absorbing carbon emissions and providing physical protection against extreme weather events induced by climate change.
Despite the value that nature brings to our economy, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution is putting these ecosystem services at risk. The latest Global Risk Report published by the World Economic Forum ranks biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse within the top 3 risks facing humanity in the next 10 years, following decades of natural resource exploitation. Global wildlife populations have declined by 69% on average since 1970, and 1 million species are now at threat of becoming extinct. With the degradation of natural capital comes a series of operational, legal, and reputational risks to businesses – ranging from supply chain disruptions caused by fluctuations in the price and availability of commodities, to increasing regulatory requirements and changing stakeholder expectations.
Recognising the urgent need for action, in December 2022, world leaders gathered at COP15 in Montreal to agree on a new set of global targets aimed at halting and reversing biodiversity loss. These were formalised in the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), consisting of 4 goals for 2050 and 23 targets to be met by 2030 – many of which have far-reaching implications for businesses. Among other actions, the framework calls on companies to monitor, assess, and disclose their nature-related risks, dependencies, and impacts, as well as reduce their harmful impacts on nature and mobilise investments for biodiversity.
What can businesses do to mitigate these risks and support the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework?
Join the TNFD Early Adopters Programme
In 2023, the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) developed a series of disclosure recommendations and corresponding guidance to help companies and financial institutions identify, report, and act on evolving nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities. The TNFD framework is increasingly regarded both as the gold standard for producing nature-related disclosures and as a key risk management framework that can help businesses integrate nature considerations into their decision-making.
Earlier this year, more than 320 organisations from 46 countries joined the TNFD ‘Early Adopters’ Programme, signalling their intention to start adopting the TNFD recommendations and publishing TNFD-aligned disclosures as part of their annual corporate reporting for FY2023, FY2024, or FY2025.
Learn how you can become a TNFD Adopter here. If this is not currently feasible, it is still recommended that your business begins working through the recommendations of the framework to identify where it will need to build capacity to be able to produce TNFD-aligned disclosures in the future.
Consult the ‘Nature Strategy Handbook’ & Sector-specific Action Guides
Launched by Business for Nature and other supporting organisations, the ‘Nature Strategy Handbook’ is a practical guide designed to help businesses develop a credible nature strategy. Building on guidance from the ACT-D High-level Business Actions on Nature, it provides a set of guiding questions, recommendations, and resources to support businesses through the process of developing a nature strategy, whilst considering the requirements of various frameworks, guidance, and regulations.
In collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Business for Nature have also released 12 sector-specific guides outlining key impacts, dependencies, and priority nature-related actions companies from various sectors should take. You can access the guides here.
Prepare to Set Science-based Targets for Nature
Setting science-based targets for nature is a crucial step to ensuring that your business actions remain aligned with the earth’s limits and societal sustainability goals, and are backed by measurable, actionable, and time-bound objectives.
In May 2023, the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) published the first release of science-based targets for nature, paving the way for more robust corporate action to tackle nature loss. The guidance currently available walks companies through the process of assessing their impacts on nature, interpreting and prioritising information for target-setting, and setting science-based targets for land, freshwater, and climate (via SBTi). This guidance supports biodiversity by addressing some of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Further guidance on ocean targets will be released in 2024.
To learn more about how your company can prepare to set science-based targets for nature and keep up to date with emerging developments, visit the Science Based Targets Network website.
Support from the UN Global Compact Network UK
Open to members of the UN Global Compact Network UK, our newly launched Nature Working Group supports companies with material impacts on nature to discuss and work through ongoing challenges related to measuring, addressing, and disclosing their nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities. To find out more about the group and how you can join, visit our webpage here.
We will be running a webinar series in Autumn 2024 to provide practical guidance on how companies can choose and implement credible Nature-Based Solutions to support their business sustainability goals. For more information, please contact Alexandra Ranft (Project Manager – Environment).