Companies demand mandatory disclosure of biodiversity risks ahead of COP15 in Montreal

With little or no progress made to stop and reverse the catastrophic loss of biodiversity in recent years, hundreds of companies have stepped up their demands for regulation to increase transparency and accountability.

Businesses must be required to ‘assess and disclose their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity by 2030’, over 330 companies and financial institutions from 56 countries said in an open letter published today (October 26), organized by the Business for Nature coalition and addressed to world leaders. Signatories include Swedish furniture giants IKEA, India’s Tata Steel and French international banking group BNP Paribas, among others.

While some big companies are demanding regulations, other big companies have been bound lobbying attempts resist such laws. Currently, all reporting on biodiversity is largely voluntary and dispersed. The statement urges governments ‘to transform the rules of the economic game and demand that companies act now’ before COP15 in Montreal in December, where the new global biodiversity framework will be formed.

Quotable

“Biodiversity loss could have significant macroeconomic implications. Ignoring, mitigating and adapting to these implications is a source of relevant risks to financial stability.Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS)

By the numbers

$1.5 trillion: the combined income of all letter signatories

$41.7 trillion: more than half of the world’s GDP depends on the natural world functioning properly, according to insurance group Swiss Re

$1.8 trillion: how much the world spends every year to subsidize industries that harm the environment and wildlife

$339.3 billion: additional wealth that would be created by policies aimed at preventing the Amazon from reaching this threshold – curbing deforestation, investing in sustainable agriculture, improving fire management – estimates from the Inter-American Development Bank show

1 million: Plant and animal species threatened with extinction because of the way humans mine, pollute, hunt, farm, build and travel

30 % : Share of wild lands and oceans to be protected by 2030 that could be part of the made-in-Canada framework

32%: share of the 100 largest US and European companies disclosing biodiversity issues directly affecting the company, such as the number of sites in areas rich in biodiversity or how damage to natural habitats could impact supply chains ‘supply.

89%: majority of major business groups in Europe and the United States from various industries – agriculture, fishing, forestry and paper, oil and gas and mining – designed to delay, dilute and block progress in the fight against the crisis of the biodiversity. They opposed things like reducing pesticides and directives on single-use plastics.

A long road from promise to action

While signing a pledge and developing a framework is a starting point, it does not guarantee action.

For example, dozens of countries have pledged to take action on climate change. And yet, the planet is on track to warm by 2.1 to 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100, well above the 1.5% target. It’s because making promises does not necessarily mean industries will keep their promises. In the face of global economic turmoil, a looming energy crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate goals have slipped down the list of government priorities. The developed nations, the wealthier ones who must lead the change, are particularly fall short on their promises.

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