Despite 2020 being declared as the "super year" for nature, the latest UN Global Biodiversity Outlook report brought with it the solemn news that the world has failed to fully achieve any of the 2020 Aichi Targets. Only six out of twenty targets have been partially achieved, limited to those on invasive species and protected areas. Ahead of the UN Biodiversity Summit on 30th September, difficult conversations need to be had on what went wrong, how this can be corrected, and how this outcome will shape the development of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework Targets.
To address some of these questions, CDP held an event as part of its 'Unlocking Nature's Potential' series on Business, Biodiversity and Supply Chains (recording here). We asked our multi-stakeholder panel, consisting of the International Union Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Natura & co. and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), what role the private sector plays in reducing biodiversity loss, and how must its impact be captured in future targets. A key milestone in this discussion is the recent inclusion of private sector disclosure in the updated zero draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Targets, recognizing the need for transparency in the private sector.
We heard from the IUCN on their draft guidelines for Planning and Monitoring Corporate Biodiversity Performance, outlining what measuring biodiversity performance at a corporate level could look like. Natura & co. discussed their work to integrate sustainability in its business operations, including actions to conserve biodiversity in the Amazon and their fair-trade initiatives with local communities. Finally, the CBD Secretariat invited the business and financial sectors to play a fundamental role, alongside governments and civil society, in the implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.stock
At CDP we believe that transparency is the basis for effective accountability. Our work with investors and large purchasing companies to promote supply chain transparency and create incentives for deforestation-free supply chains addresses some of the most pressing drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide. Disclosure of environmental information to CDP has been steadily rising over the past decade and despite the disruption to businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic, disclosure rates are expected to rise again in 2020 – demonstrating that businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of transparency and disclosure.
Looking ahead to the next decade, it is clear that we will need to work collectively to eliminate biodiversity loss. Mainstreaming biodiversity awareness and action in business and at all levels of policymaking is the only way to ensure that the new Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Targets do not suffer the same fate as their predecessors. The private sector bears much of the responsibility for the Aichi Targets not being achieved. Business awareness towards biodiversity, however, is changing rapidly and today the private sector is engaged in a multitude of sustainability initiatives. The ever-increasing rate of response to CDP questionnaires is a clear indicator of the changing role of business towards the environment. There is still a long way to go, but it is clear that the time is ripe to turn business from drivers of loss into actors of change.