The last quarter of 2022 saw three significant conferences of the parties (CoP) to international environmental conventions take place – one on climate change (UNFCCC CoP27), one on the international wildlife trade (CITES CoP19), and one on biodiversity (CBD CoP15).
While all three conventions have specific aims and focus areas, the biodiversity crisis is highly relevant to all and is front and centre of the 15th CoP of the Convention on Biological Diversity, held once every four years.
In July 2022, the G20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration welcomed progress towards a post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) to be negotiated at CoP15. Commitments would be made toward strengthening actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, including through nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches. These sentiments were echoed at the IUCN Leader’s Forum that ADMCF attended in October, where conversations surrounded the theme of ‘building nature-positive economies and societies’ amongst hope of positive outcomes for the imminent GBF negotiations.
The GBF would provide a global strategy and suite of targets to jointly safeguard nature in light of continued losses in biodiversity between 2011-2020 and failure to meet the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets set out at a previous CoP in 2010. Having supported the development of ADM Capital’s sustainability-focused investment strategies this year, we hoped that the GBF would encourage more private sector institutions to consider biodiversity-related risks, opportunities, and impacts in their decision-making processes.
CoP15 is a crucial opportunity for governments across the world to agree a new set of goals and make global commitments to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. There was much debate on whether the Framework’s proposed targets would be strong enough to instigate meaningful change, or whether an agreement would be reached at all.
It was a moment of relief, excitement, and gratitude when news broke that the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 196 participating countries successfully reached a deal for Nature on December 19th, 2022.
Consisting of four long-term goals for 2050 and 23 targets for 2030 to conserve and sustainably manage biodiversity, CoP15’s Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework comes after more than two years of pandemic-induced delays in negotiation. The much-anticipated ‘30 by 30’ goal was enshrined under three specific targets for 2030:
- Conserve 30% of the world’s land and oceans
- Initiate or complete restoration for 30% of degraded ecosystems
- Mobilise US$30 billion per year in biodiversity-related financial resources for developing countries
Beyond these headline targets, the GBF also outlined a wide range of other important targets that are crucial in achieving a nature positive future, such as ensuring equitable participation in decision-making, respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, promoting the collaborative development of science and technology, and many more (full list here).
Importantly, Target 15 of the 23 (see below) outlines the responsibility of financial institutions and large/transnational companies to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity and promote sustainable business practices and consumption patterns. To do so, these stakeholders must assess, monitor, and disclose their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity. The relevant frameworks, policies, and administrative environments must be in place to enable this industry-wide shift.
Over the past year ADMCF has been working to address these issues through the lens of private credit investment in Indonesia’s biodiversity hotspots and surrounding landscapes. What began as a simple question – how can we measure tangible changes in biodiversity made through impact investments? – led to an exploration of the emerging tools, metrics, and workflows that contribute to this process.
As we delved deeper, many challenges and gaps came to light, such as the lack of consensus on metrics and indicators that should be used to measure baseline conditions and progress towards targets. There is much to be done to strengthen biodiversity data-related skillsets and literacy in the financial sector, such as with geospatial analytics.
Our new working paper, Accounting for Biodiversity, was launched in hope of transparently sharing learnings and insights for the benefit of other organisations intending to embark on a similar process. In it, we share the beginnings of our approach to understand the impacts that a company’s investments and operations have on natural ecosystems and their functioning, as well as the relevant risks that biodiversity impacts pose to investments.
As the world moves forward from CoP15, the development of practical and scientifically robust accounting frameworks will be paramount to supporting the transition to a nature positive future. ADMCF will continue working to apply our biodiversity accounting approach to investment projects in collaboration with ADM Capital as we transition from an era of negotiation to implementation.
- BLOG: CITES CoP19 Deciding the Fate of 600 Species
Part I: CoP19, what it is and why it’s important
Part II: CITES throws a lifeline to sharks
- BLOG: COP27 takeaways for Hong Kong as a non-state actor – coming soon
 UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, CITES- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CBD – Convention on Biological Biodiversity