Category: blog

The interdependence of biodiversity loss and climate change has become increasingly prevalent in the discussions around tackling the climate crisis. With the landmark agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), that was adopted by approximately 190 countries during the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) this past December, we can expect more momentum around biodiversity issues in 2023. One of the main targets of the GBF, Target 3, requires that at least 30% of terrestrial, inland water, and of coastal and marine areas, are conserved and managed by 2030.

This broad term for the variability among living organisms can be viewed through three different angles by companies designing their internal biodiversity strategies: disclosure of nature-related risks and dependencies, spatial assessment of proximity to biological sensitive areas and species, and management of biodiversity risks within one’s supply chain.

With the growing pressure for more transparency, reporting standards and frameworks have been working on improving disclosures on biodiversity impacts. The Taskforce for Nature related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) was formally launched in 2021 to develop a science-based, market-led framework that addresses the management and disclosure of nature-related risks. The latest version of the draft framework can be found here with a new version to be released in March 2023. TNFD will publish the final recommendations in September 2023.

The Global Sustainability Standards Board has released a major update to GRI’s 2016 Biodiversity standard, currently available for public comment till February 28, 2023. The proposal accounts for many updates, including new disclosures associated with the drivers of biodiversity loss and supply chain and biodiversity-related human rights impacts. Expert panel will result in a cohesive standard that reflects the latest insights on biodiversity, informing the CDP platform and Taskforce on Nature related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)’s framework as well. GRI will be hosting two webinars to share key insights on the proposed draft standard on January 18th. For anyone interested in attending, register here. Companies can take action beyond commitments by disclosing on biodiversity-related risks and opportunities through the aforementioned platforms.

CDP’s approach to biodiversity is through the CDP Forests questionnaire, which addresses the risks associated with deforestation and provides an opportunity for companies to take action on the restoration of forests and ecosystems. Companies can specifically focus on addressing high risk commodities such as palm oil, cattle products, and soy. In addition, in 2022, 7,790 companies responded to biodiversity-related questions through CDP’s climate change questionnaire, reflecting clear interest by many businesses for mandatory disclosures. It is important to note that CDP’s 2025 strategy involves broadening their scope to include oceans, land use, biodiversity, food production, and waste.

Investors can also refer to SASB and GRESB disclosures for decision-making purposes on biodiversity-related information. SASB’s Hotels and Lodging standard requires reporting on metrics such as distance to areas of protected conservation status or endangered species habitat and practices around the preservation of ecosystem services. GRESB’s Real Estate Assessment requires responses on whether companies have established policy, and conducted risk assessments on biodiversity and habitat.

Using the Science Based Targets Network’s guidance, companies can begin their biodiversity evaluation by conducting a materiality assessment of nature-related impacts and dependencies throughout their value chain.  Based on the results, companies can determine their high-priority issues and locations to begin collecting the relevant baseline data. Companies must also consider the state of nature in the locations where they operate, accounting for factors such as accumulation of pollution and species extinction risk. Science-based targets for Nature v1.0 will be launched in early 2023 to facilitate this process and help companies set targets that will be aligned with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Post-2020 framework. The SBTNs will help provide a consistent approach and catalyze solutions through industry-wide collaboration around the identification of biodiversity issues and priorities in the hospitality sector.

The social risks of biodiversity loss must be accounted for and addressed during a biodiversity assessment. TNFD’s discussion paper ‘Societal Dimensions of nature-related risk management and disclosure – Considerations for the TNFD framework’ provides feedback from civil society organizations, Indigenous Peoples, and Local Communities which will be incorporated into v0.4 of the TNFD framework (to be released in March 2023). Nature loss can lead to the violation of human rights; therefore, companies should consider implementing a due diligence process which would include an assessment of any adverse impacts of a company’s operations on its affected communities, actions to prevent such impacts, and monitoring the success of actions to address these impacts. Since Indigenous peoples safeguard 80% of the world’s biodiversity[1], social risks to these communities must be addressed through high quality dialogue and effective stakeholder engagement processes.

Since the hospitality industry is highly dependent on nature and in a position to reduce biodiversity loss, the industry must act now to identify, measure, and disclose their biodiversity impacts if not in alignment with the aforementioned initiatives. GSTC criteria for hotels specifically address biodiversity conservation through indicators such as awareness on natural protected areas and areas of high biodiversity value, invasive species management, visits to natural sites, wildlife interactions, and animal welfare. Launched in 2021, the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism has five shared pathways , one of which involves ecosystem restoration and protection along with safeguarding biodiversity. In addition, on December 12, 2022, the World Travel and Tourism Council, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance announced a vision to drive collaboration in the Travel and Tourism sector to support the implementation of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Greenview has been helping companies on these three areas for several years, and we are enhancing our offering in 2023 to accompany these growing needs. The Greenview Portal software is a GSTC-recognized sustainability management system and has both a readiness assessment and full practical guidance on all GSTC criteria including biodiversity for hotels seeking solutions. Feel free to get in touch to learn more.