Guidance launched on aligning business action with global 2030 net-positive biodiversity goal
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched a set of guidelines for businesses looking to deliver a net-positive impact on nature, co-developed with the input of 60 firms with a combined value of more than $2trn.
The resource has been published today (9 December) as part of the Council’s ongoing involvement in the UN’s 15th Biodiversity COP. Negotiations on a new global treaty for nature began earlier this week and will run through to Saturday 17 December.
Developed in recognition of the fact that more and more large businesses are pledging to go beyond doing less harm to nature and to achieve net-positive impacts, the resource is designed to ensure that businesses take the necessary actions to ensure these goals are credible and to deliver them to time. It is in a draft format at present.
Large businesses of all sectors can use the resource, and the WBCSD is urging firms in sectors with high negative impacts on nature historically to use them in particular. Sectors in this category, it has stated, include energy, the built environment, agriculture and forestry.
The resource sets out six specific actions which businesses can take in order, starting with the completion of an up-to-date materiality assessment including nature impacts. This will give companies the baseline data they need to set meaningful targets, and the insights they need to ensure that action is prioritized where it will make the most positive difference.
Once the materiality assessment is completed, the WBCSD is advising, businesses should set targets grounded in climate and nature science and support their delivery with adequate resources (time, finances and trained staff). The resource highlights the importance of private finance provision in unlocking further finance across and beyond value chains.
Businesses should also, the WBCSD is recommending, align their lobbying actions and policy and industry engagement with their nature goals. The resource sets out how businesses can support policy that enables nature conservation and restoration at scale, nationally and internationally.
The last key theme of the new WBCSD resource is using credible metrics and regularly and transparently reporting progress. Bodies including the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), which are developing corporate nature reporting frameworks, have contributed to the WBCSD resource. The TNFD notably launched a third beta version of its framework last month and is aiming for a final version launch in 2023. Science-based targets for nature may also be forthcoming next year.
The WBCSD has noted that accountability is “expected to be central to COP15 discussions” as it was at climate COP27.
COP15 talks are being held to deliver a new post-2020 global treaty on biodiversity with an ultimate ambition of halting and reversing nature loss by 2030. The global treaty will need to be implemented by national governments, who will need to report progress to the UN.
There may also be reporting requirements for businesses in the treaty. Among the measures being negotiated are mandatory nature-related reporting requirements for large businesses in all geographies. Negotiators will need to agree upon when these mandates would be integrated and which businesses they would cover, in terms of size and sector.
The TNFD’s executive director Tony Goldner said: “Through our partnership with the WBCSD, we expect a growing number of companies to commit to setting SBTs for nature and best-in-class disclosures. The nature-positive roadmaps being developed by WBCSD provide a unique space for business to learn, share and drive action.”