Businesses are out of step on biodiversity as the world sets landmark targets to address the issue.
Nations agreed to protect a third of the planet for nature by 2030 at December 2022’s COP15 UN biodiversity summit in Montreal, Canada. Participants decided to halt species extinction and maintain genetic diversity by improving ecosystems around the world.
In addition, the human use of ecosystems for food and resources must become sustainable, and the financial and economic benefits shared fairly, they said. The deal is expected to cost $100 billion.
Out of step
Georgina Chandler, senior international policy advisor for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds told the BBC that people and nature should both be better off thanks to the deal struck in Montreal. “Now it’s done, governments, companies and communities need to figure out how they’ll help make these commitments a reality.”
But a study by Bain & Company showed that most businesses lag when it comes to biodiversity risk.
The survey found that few companies are aware of their impact and exposure in this area. Around 60 per cent of companies say they have no impact on nature and biodiversity, and more than half do not perceive biodiversity loss as a significant business threat.
Second, only around a quarter of companies say they are aware of biodiversity-related business opportunities. Finally, businesses are failing to act because of the immaturity of nature and biodiversity as an issue area, which has few consistent definitions, reporting standards and metrics to guide progress.
Business groups and their stakeholders are working to improve the situation on standards and guidelines. In December, for example, World Business Council for Sustainable Development published business guidance for consultation. The guidance provides a checklist of actions to assess, commit, transform and disclose performance, and could play are role in helping to get businesses on track.
The work is in partnership with Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and the Science Based Targets Network. It is intended to support efforts to make the emerging International Sustainability Standards Board the mandatory global baseline for nature as well as climate reporting.