Commitment to halt nature loss not enough, big businesses warn world leaders
Businesses including Unilever, Natura & Co and H&M Group are urging world leaders to use the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity to commit to reversing nature loss by 2030, lest they risk a "dead planet" in the near future.
The call to action is being made via an open letter from the Business for Nature coalition, which represents more than 1,000 businesses. The letter is signed by the chief executives of Unilever, H&M Group, Holcim, Natura & Co, Suzano, Wipro, Yara International, Sintesa Group, Mahindra Holiday & Resorts and FirstRand Group. Former Unilever chief executive Paul Polman is also supporting.
Addressed to all heads of state globally, the letter warns that the UN’s draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework “lacks the ambition and specificity required to drive the urgent action needed”.
In its current form, the draft plan outlines pledges to halt nature loss by 2030 and deliver a net-positive impact thereafter. The letter argues that harm must be halted, and regeneration scaled, on a more ambitious timeframe. It is calling for a concrete commitment to reverse nature loss by 2030.
The letter also recommends that governments agree to embed the true value of nature in decision-making; eliminate and redirect all subsidies that cause harm to nature; redirect all financial flows for a nature-positive future and addressing unsustainable levels of production and consumption.
At present, the draft agreement only contains measures to deliver the second of these four recommendations. The UN estimates that $500bn of subsidies annually are provided for activities that harm nature. Finance for Biodiversity believes the figure could be higher, when development banks are included, at $800bn.
“Nature is at a tipping point and time is against us,” the letter states. “We must recognise nature loss for the crisis that it is. We must understand that, while it is critical for tackling climate change, nature represents more than simply a climate solution.”
The letter comes as the 15th Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) officially begins. The event will consist of two parts, due to Covid-19; the official opening ceremony is taking place virtually this week and in-person negotiations will follow in Kunming, China, in Spring 2022.
As well as putting pressure on world leaders, the letter states that the business signatories are willing to adopt best-practice measures for minimising their negative impacts on nature and transitioning to net-positive models.
It states that the businesses will adopt science-based targets for nature as soon as the methodologies become available. Building on the success of science-based emissions targets, the methodologies are due to launch before the end of the year, edie understands.
Progress is also being made in the development of recommendations from the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TFND). This framework will help businesses quantify and reduce potential nature-related risks to their value chains in a range of scenarios. The finalised framework is earmarked for release in late 2023, following the publication of a draft next year.
COP26 Primer: Nature-based solutions
With COP26 on the horizon, edie has completed its Primer Report series which provides businesses with everything they need to know regarding the five key themes of the talks.
The Primer Report on Nature-based Solutions is sponsored by the Woodland Trust and examines how crucial nature-based solutions are, not just in responding to the climate crisis, but also in addressing the ecological breakdown that is exacerbating across the globe.