Jan 20, 2023

What the new COP15 framework means for biodiversity and landowners

In Montreal last month, the global biodiversity conference ‘COP15’ adopted a new, 10-year global framework for nature recovery. After what the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity called a “sometimes fractious” two-week meeting, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework[1] commits signatories (almost 200 countries) to halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity by 2030 by taking urgent action to maintain, enhance and restore ecosystems.

The major goals and targets include:

  • Committing to the “30-by-30” target to protect 30% of land, inland water, coastal and marine areas by 2030. The framework also includes targets to restore at least 30% of degraded ecosystems.
  • Requiring large and transnational companies and financial institutions to monitor, assess, and disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity through their operations, supply and value chains and portfolios.
  • Raising at least $200 (£160) billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from all sources (public and private).
  • Halting human-induced extinction of threatened species and reducing by tenfold the extinction rate and risk of all species by 2050.

The rights of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are specifically identified throughout the framework, recognising and respecting their rights and leadership over their traditional territories; and highlighting another important consideration for the assessment of the impacts of organisations’ value chains. And through their value chain all sectors and organisations will likely be impacted by the agreement and should prepare for increased reporting requirements on their impacts on biodiversity.

What can we do to support the aims of the Global Biodiversity Framework?

Whilst many organisations will already be used to measuring their carbon, it is important to also identify and measure biodiversity and develop strategies to enhance and protect ecosystems for the land that you manage and/or develop.  As part of our SHIFT Environmental Audit for clients, we currently use ‘above ground biomass’ as a surrogate for biodiversity, which aligns with ESG reporting and provides an estimate from land coverage data on all land holdings, including gardens as well as communally maintained land. This approach also aligns with emerging UK methodologies for biodiversity assessment.

Access to green spaces and biodiversity can deliver major benefits to our health and well-being and we need resilient ecosystems to withstand the worst effects of climate change. Our recommendations for improving biodiversity for the land and communities our clients manage include:

  • Ensure you know much land you own and the vegetation type. It may be possible to record this on your existing databases to allow easier biodiversity reporting in future.
  • Consider planting higher density biomass areas in existing green spaces.
  • Above ground biomass can also be increased by the addition of green roofs, green walls, and street trees can increase sequestration potential, air quality, water management, and heat regulation.

Finally, attempting to assess your impact on biodiversity through your value chain is becoming more commonplace and the more that suppliers are asked the questions the more developed their capacity to respond will become. Engaging the supply chain can also help address the indigenous peoples issues raised at COP15.

If you would like a full environmental audit for your organisation, including biodiversity and supply chain engagement, then please get in touch.


Image by Scotty Turner on Unsplash



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