On a recent HSBC Talks Business podcast, experts from HSBC, Walmart and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) explore COP15 outcomes, disclosure and how corporates and financial institutions are driving action towards biodiversity preservation and natural capital.
In December 2022, the long-awaited United Nations Convention on Biodiversity in Montreal produced a landmark agreement on the need to protect the world’s land and oceans from further destruction. The Global Biodiversity Framework, agreed between 188 nations, calls for the conservation of 30% of the planet by 2030 and the mobilisation of USD$200 billion a year for biodiversity-related funding.
The agreement marks the first-time global leaders have united behind a commitment to reverse biodiversity loss. The summit also sends a signal to businesses everywhere.
“A key takeaway from COP15 is that private-sector attention to nature is skyrocketing,” says Marine de Bazelaire, Managing Director and Group Advisor on Natural Capital, Corporate Sustainability at HSBC. “More than 100 financial institutions were present at COP15, alongside at least 1,000 corporates, whereas fewer than 10 financial firms attended COP14 in 2018.”
Whilst the UN Convention on Biodiversity has a slightly lower profile than its climate change equivalent, the gap is closing as the links between nature and climate become increasingly clear: one crisis cannot be solved without tackling the other.
“We are facing twin crises – a climate crisis and a nature loss crisis,” says Gregory Bohrer, Director of Natural Capital at Walmart, the global retail giant. “It was great to see engagement from the private sector, to see companies standing up and saying, ‘we’re committed to making a difference here’.”
Natalie Blyth, Global Head of Sustainability for Commercial Banking at HSBC - moderating the podcast - concurs. “It is really critical to put the spotlight on the fragility of our ecosystems and the dependencies businesses have on these natural systems,” she comments. “We're using 60% more of the Earth's resources than it can regenerate every year. This is just not sustainable and will ultimately lead to system collapse.”
Taskforce for impact
Alongside the landmark commitment to conservation, the COP15 agreement also made it clear that disclosure requirements for companies and financial institutions are on the way.
In another step forward for nature and biodiversity, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is set to finalise its recommendations in September this year. These will help companies and financial institutions incorporate nature into their decision-making and reporting.