With little to no progress made in halting and reversing catastrophic biodiversity loss in the past few years, hundreds of companies have stepped up demands for regulations to increase transparency and accountability.
Businesses must be compelled to “assess and disclose their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity by 2030,” more than 330 firms and financial institutions from 56 countries said in an open letter published today (Oct. 26), organized by the Business for Nature coalition and addressed to world leaders. The signatories include Sweden’s furniture giants IKEA, India’s Tata Steel, and French international banking group BNP Paribas, among others.
As some large businesses demand regulations, other big companies have been linked to lobbying attempts to resist such laws. Currently, any biodiversity reportage is mostly voluntary and scattered. The statement is urging governments “to transform the rules of the economic game and require business to act now” before COP15 in Montreal in December, where the new Global Biodiversity Framework will be formed.
“Biodiversity loss could have significant macroeconomic implications. Failure to account for, mitigate, and adapt to these implications is a source of risks relevant for financial stability.”—Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS)
By the digits
$1.5 trillion: the combined revenue of all signatories of the letter
$41.7 trillion: more than half of global GDP is dependent on the healthy functioning of the natural world, according to insurance group Swiss Re
$1.8 trillion: how much the world spends on subsidizing industries that harm the environment and wildlife each year
$339.3 billion: additional wealth that would be created from policies to prevent the Amazon reaching this threshold—curbing deforestation, investing in sustainable agriculture, improving fire management—estimates by 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 land and oceans to protect by 2030 which may be part of the framework developed in Canada
32%: share of 100 largest US and European firms that disclose biodiversity issues directly affecting the business, such as number of sites in areas rich in biodiversity or how damage to natural habitats could impact supply chains.
89%: majority of leading business groups in Europe and the US from various industries—agriculture, fisheries, forestry and paper, oil and gas, and mining—designed to delay, dilute and block progress on tackling the biodiversity crisis. They opposed things like pesticide reduction and single-used plastics directives.
A long road from pledge to action
While signing a pledge and coming up with a framework is a starting point, it does not guarantee action.
For example, dozens of countries pledged action to fight climate change. And yet, the planet is on track to warm by 2.1 to 2.9 degrees celsius by 2100, far higher than the 1.5% goal. That’s because making promises does not necessarily mean industries will make good on the promises. In the face of global economic turmoil, a brewing energy crisis, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate goals have slid down on the priority list of governments. Developed nations—the richer ones who need to lead the change—are especially falling short on their promises.
️ African civil society organizations are being locked out of conservation funding
️ India takes the “office order” route to environmental clearance for businesses
️ A million plant and animal species are going extinct—and capitalism is to blame