How Biodiversity Fits into the Global Climate Agenda

Biodiversity May 9, 2023 Serhat Öngen

Navigating financial and political hurdles in the fight for biodiversity conservation and expansion

What is biodiversity and why is it important?

Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, that exist in a given ecosystem. Biodiversity is important because it plays a critical role in maintaining the health and functionality of ecosystems, as well as supporting the services they provide. This includes things like providing food and clean water, regulating climate, and supporting pollination and nutrient cycling. However, biodiversity is under threat due to human activities such as habitat destruction, pollution, and climate change, which can have significant negative impacts on both the natural world and human society. Therefore, protecting and conserving biodiversity is crucial for maintaining a healthy and sustainable planet for current and future generations.

Why has there been a decrease in biodiversity over the last few decades?

There are many factors that have contributed to the decrease in biodiversity over the last few decades, but most of them are related to human activities. Here are some of the main drivers:

  • Habitat loss and degradation: The destruction and fragmentation of natural habitats due to activities such as deforestation, urbanization, and agricultural expansion have had a significant impact on biodiversity.
  • Climate change: The effects of climate change, including rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and sea level rise, have altered habitats and ecosystems, leading to declines in biodiversity.
  • Pollution: Chemical pollutants such as pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic substances have contaminated ecosystems and caused harm to many species.
  • Overexploitation: Overfishing, overhunting, and over harvesting of resources has led to declines in many species and disrupted ecosystem dynamics.
  • Invasive species: Non-native species that are introduced into an ecosystem can outcompete native species for resources, leading to declines in biodiversity.

What is France’s Article 29 of the Climate and Resilience Law?

In France, Article 29 of the Climate and Resilience Law, which was adopted in 2021, introduces new biodiversity disclosure requirements for certain companies. The law requires large companies to report on their biodiversity impact and risks in their annual reporting starting in 2022. This reporting must be based on a set of criteria established by the French government.

The purpose of this new reporting requirement is to increase transparency and accountability around corporate impacts on biodiversity, and to encourage companies to adopt more sustainable practices. It’s worth noting that while the requirements of Article 29 are specific to France, there is a growing trend worldwide towards greater corporate accountability for environmental and social impacts, and it’s likely that other countries may introduce similar reporting requirements in the future.

How will France’s Article 29 of the Climate and Resilience Law help stop biodiversity loss?

France’s Article 29 of the Climate and Resilience Law aims to help stop biodiversity loss by increasing transparency and accountability around corporate impacts on biodiversity. The law requires large companies to report on their biodiversity impact and risks in their annual reporting, starting in 2022. 

By requiring companies to disclose their biodiversity impact, the law seeks to raise awareness of the impacts of corporate activities on biodiversity and encourage companies to adopt more sustainable practices. This can include measures such as reducing emissions and waste, adopting more sustainable land use practices, and supporting the restoration of degraded habitats.

The reporting requirement also allows policymakers and civil society to better understand the impacts of corporate activities on biodiversity and identify opportunities for improving conservation efforts. This can inform policy decisions and help to direct resources towards the most effective strategies for protecting and restoring biodiversity.

By increasing transparency and encouraging more sustainable practices, the law can help to reduce the negative impacts of corporate activities on biodiversity and support the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.

And, how does COP15 in Montreal in 2022 and the biodiversity agreement reached there fit into all this?

The outcomes of COP15 have several implications for businesses, including the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which sets clear targets to restore nature by 2030. These include protecting 30% of the planet’s oceans and lands by 2030 (known as 30×30), reducing pollution from all sources to non-harmful levels, restoring ecosystem services like air purification, and eliminating $500 billion of harmful subsidies to biodiversity by 2030. The agreement aims to raise at least $200 billion per year by 2030 to implement biodiversity strategies but there is no clear plan on where the funding will come from. While the deal was set with no objections, some developing nations were not fully onboard, and some critics are concerned about the lack of hard targets for restoring ecosystems and boosting wildlife populations and genetic diversity. Over the next year, governments will put the agreement into action, with wealthy nations contributing $30 billion a year by 2030 to help developing countries, and big businesses and investors expected to report on their actions to protect and impact nature.

France, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, the US, and Norway have committed significant investments to biodiversity. France will double its funding to €1 billion, Canada will provide $1.5 billion, including $800 million in indigenous-led conservation, the Netherlands will increase funding by 50% to $150 million, and Spain will provide $550 million between 2021-2025. Meanwhile, the UK is facing scrutiny for its £30 million pledge, which is considered insufficient by conservationists.

Corporations are expected to report their impact on natural ecosystems, but it is not mandatory. Nations are expected to set regulations for corporations as they develop their plans over the next year.

Clarity AI’s Biodiversity Impact solution, powered by GIST Impact, provides the most robust and comprehensive metrics you need to measure your biodiversity footprint. Leveraging our expertise in other sustainability areas and combining it with the biodiversity know-how of GIST Impact, we enable our clients to build portfolios knowing their biodiversity footprint and provide them with the necessary tools to comply with France’s Article 29 and the Task Force on Nature-related Disclosures (TNFD) reporting requirements.

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