UNEP-WCMC hosts Nature Action Dialogues to scale up private sector action towards halting and reversing biodiversity loss

A lake with snow-capped mountains in the background, Adam Vradenburg

UNEP-WCMC hosts the two-day Nature Action Dialogues across 1st and 2nd July in Cambridge, to catalyse businesses and financial institutions in taking further urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss in line with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The theme of the event is “The Road to CBD COP16: Scaling private sector action in support of global goals”.

The Biodiversity Plan sets global goals for nature

The historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF or “the Biodiversity Plan”) was adopted in 2022 as a roadmap to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on a pathway to recovery for the benefit of people and the planet. The GBF sets out 23 urgent action-targets for 2030 and four long-term goals for 2050 to transform our relationship with nature.

The GBF will mainly be delivered by developing and implementing national biodiversity strategies and action plans, which will identify each country’s contributions to the global ambitions, taking into account specific national contexts and priorities.

The next UN Biodiversity Conference (COP16) taking place in October will focus on implementation of the GBF and will evaluate the current progress parties have made in developing their national strategies and action plans. Through these, governments will be outlining their contribution to global targets which focus on reducing threats to biodiversity, meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit sharing, and creating tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming.

The event, held in Colombia, will be the first biodiversity COP since the adoption of the GBF, providing a great opportunity to take stock of action since the framework was agreed, and identify areas where additional capacity, resources and political will might be need to make progress. However, achieving the global biodiversity goals requires a whole-of-society approach with active participation from all. The role of the private sector will be critical to success.

UNEP-WCMC was centrally involved in supporting development of the GBF, and is now providing our support to governments in delivering on the framework’s goals and targets at the national level. As we gear up towards COP16 and move quickly towards the 2030 deadline for the GBF targets, it is also important to recognise the critical role that non-state actors including businesses and the finance sector will need to play in achieving a world living in harmony with nature.

Neville Ash, Director of UNEP-WCMC

Companies depend on ecosystem services

Companies can make a signification contribution towards the GBF by addressing the nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks and opportunities across their operations, portfolios, and value chains. There is greater recognition of business dependance on various ecosystem services and the risks that stem from a lack of nature action.

An ecosystem service is a benefit which nature provides that sustains or improves people’s quality of life. Many companies depend on these services for their production needs. For example, an agricultural producer benefits from healthy soils to produce its commodities. If the soil is degraded, the company loses its ability to meet demand and its long-term profits decline. As such, it is in the interest of businesses to adopt sustainable practices to support nature.

The private sector, including businesses and financial institutions, may face additional risks if they do not adopt sustainability strategies and standards, using guidance such as the Taskforce for Nature Related Disclosure (TNFD). These include reputational risks from business activities without sustainability at their core and additional costs from new regulations.

Businesses depend on nature. In fact, we all do. The ecosystem services provided by nature are at the heart of our needs, whether these are physical, social, economic, or spiritual. The private sector has a great opportunity to be key agent of change to protect biodiversity and the longevity of the ecosystems we all rely on.

Sharon Brooks, Head of Nature Economy at UNEP-WCMC

Businesses can play a key role in supporting nature

Where there are risks, there are opportunities. An economy with nature in mind requires society-wide transformation. This includes and provides opportunities for the private sector to support the delivery of GBF goals.

As well as an understanding of the ambitions of the GBF, this requires companies to understand national strategies for its implementation, for both countries they operate in and those across which they have value chains. Working with national priorities allows companies to prepare for policy changes that will affect their operations, and to prioritise action.

Further, such action will provide companies with a reputation as leaders in the transition to a nature-positive future which may lead to new opportunities for sustainable investment and finance. Building resiliency is only one benefit. The core benefit lies in reversing damage to nature and shielding ecosystems against further degradation.

Opportunities for private sector action on the road to COP16

The Nature Action Dialogues are an opportunity for financial institutions, businesses and biodiversity and social science specialists to come together to discuss action for nature. They will consist of a range of interactive sessions allowing attendees to share best practices on addressing a selection of biodiversity and people-focused issues.

The session’s themes include:

  • Private sector contributions and actions towards the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework
  • Identifying and scaling credible tools and solutions for tacking the nature crisis
  • Target-setting, reporting and disclosures
  • Opportunities for collective action across supply chains and landscapes
  • Sector transformations and embedding nature in decision-making

The event provides opportunities for knowledge exchange across companies and sectors, allowing businesses to share information on effective solutions and gain insight from leading scientists. A range of people across the private sector and conservation community will connect and forge relationships centered in finding solutions to the biodiversity crisis.

The conference aims to:

  • Accelerate ambition towards delivery of the GBF and explore the role of business as a supporting player
  • Convene a diverse cross-sector group of attendees to share knowledge to inspire action and innovate solutions
  • Support corporations to assess, commit, transform and disclose their relationship with nature
  • Collaborate with industry experts and conservation leaders to build actionable strategies to support global goals
  • Connect with like-minded experts through dynamic and interactive sessions

UNEP-WCMC is a global centre of excellence on nature’s contribution to society and the economy. Within the Centre, the Nature Economy team supports the private sector with tools and guidance towards halting and reversing nature loss. The Nature Action Dialogues will provide space to determine how the private sector can support the transition to a sustainable economy on the road to COP16 and beyond.

Stacey Baggaley, Principal Specialist, Nature and Business at UNEP-WCMC

For more information about this event, including the agenda, please visit the official event webpage.

Main image: Adam Vradenburg via Unsplash

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