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We need sound metrics to reverse biodiversity loss at a global scale

Investors and corporates call for collaboration to push the measurement and management of biodiversity

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In order to face the alarming decline of biodiversity, we, corporates and financial institutions involved in the Business for Positive Biodiversity Club (B4B+ Club), call for the implementation of biodiversity-related quantitative metrics, biodiversity footprint assessment tools, and measurable science-based targets at all levels.

The closing decade marks a tragic failure in reaching most of the Aichi biodiversity targets for the 2010-2020 period. Worse, the latest Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report states that nature is still declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. The World Conservation Congress organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Marseille and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 in China (delayed to the first trimester of 2021), must propel us into a new era for biodiversity.

We consider that the private sector will play a key role in achieving both the CBD’s 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature”, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – in particular SDGs 14 and 15, dealing with biodiversity. We believe that it is critical for us to measure our impact on biodiversity, set biodiversity science-based targets and build a new deal for nature and people.

The need for sound metrics and targets covering biodiversity state and drivers of loss

The CO2 tonne-equivalent metric played a key role in mainstreaming climate issues and driving actions mitigating climate change. We need comparable metrics for biodiversity if we are to properly address biodiversity loss. That is, quantitative metrics depicting the state of biodiversity, broadly used and accessible to all, scientifically consensual and that can be aggregated or dis-aggregated at multiple levels of granularity. Such quantitative biodiversity metrics, coupled with qualitative analyses, are a necessary step in allowing states, companies and financial institutions to estimate and monitor their impacts, demonstrate gains and steer their operations.

To fulfil that need, we stand with the Mace, and al. recommendation from 2018 to use three complementary indicators and their associated scientifically-renowned metrics to evaluate progress in biodiversity recovery. Namely, the conservation status (Red List Index); population trends (Living Planet Index); and biotic integrity or biodiversity intactness (Mean Species Abundance).

Moreover, to engage companies, financial institutions, states, local authorities and public bodies in a transformative change, we must set clear and measurable international targets, counterparts to both the 1.5-2°C increase climate limit and its associated carbon budget. More specifically, we call for the setting of measurable targets for each driver of biodiversity loss identified in the recent IPBES report: land/sea use change, direct exploitation of natural resources, climate change, invasive alien species, pollution, and others. Ideally, these objectives would then be broken down at lower geographical levels. This would enable economic actors and states to allocate biodiversity efforts between different sectors of the economy, translating the targets for a vast majority of actors and setting economic actors on a positive biodiversity performance trend over the next decade. We welcome the CBD Zero Draft for COP15 which sets targets for species, ecosystems and genes and for each driver of biodiversity loss and we encourage the parties of the CBD to maintain the Zero Draft framework and establish realistic and ambitious goals and targets.

Tools exist and are building common ground

Fulfilling these ambitions require our technical ability to measure and monitor all drivers of impacts on biodiversity. Consequently, we emphasise that the development of biodiversity footprint assessment tools for all types of actors is crucial if we are to meet the COP15 future commitments for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Tools able to assess businesses’ biodiversity footprint by assessing their contribution to each driver of biodiversity loss using quantitative metrics, such as the MSA.m², already exist.

What’s more, initiatives such as Aligning Biodiversity Measures for Businesses (ABMB), the Natural Capital Protocol Biodiversity Supplement, the Biological Diversity Protocol (BD Protocol) or the EU Business@Biodiversity (B@B) Platform are establishing common ground for businesses to build upon, and bring coherence and compatibility between different approaches. We insist that impacts assessment tools must be compatible with one another and must also aim to appropriately connect with metrics and indicators used to track biodiversity performance at a site or project level. Indeed, a consensual definition of biodiversity footprint and shared concepts for its evaluation will clear potential cacophony and misunderstandings feeding inaction and perplexity among stakeholders. Finally, we find it key that impacts are measured along the steps of the value chain where they are material including upstream, direct operations and downstream impacts.

Many companies, asset managers, public and private banks are willing to evaluate and mitigate their impact on nature. In order to mainstream such assessments and impact reductions, the below signatories call for the involvement of all stakeholders to establish the enabling conditions for corporate biodiversity impact measurement.

Signatories

  • 3F, Anne-Sophie Grave, Directrice Générale
  • AFD, Rémy Rioux, Directeur Général
  • B&L évolution SCOP EC, Sylvain Boucherand, CEO
  • BNP Paribas Asset Management, Jane Ambachtsheer, Global Head of Sustainability
  • BPI France, Nicolas Dufourcq, Directeur général
  • Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), Éric Lombard, Directeur Général du Groupe CDC
  • CDC Biodiversité, Marc Abadie, Président
  • CDC Habitat, Yves Chazelle, Directeur Général du Groupe CDC Habitat
  • Egis, Nicolas Jachiet, Président-Directeur général
  • Generali Global Infrastructure, Gilles Lengaigne, Directeur Général
  • Greenflex, Frédéric Rodriguez, Président
  • GRTgaz, Thierry Trouvé, Directeur général
  • Icade, Olivier Wigniolle, Directeur Général
  • Ingérop, Yves Metz, Président
  • La Banque Postale Asset Management, Emmanuelle Mouray, Présidente du Directoire
  • LVMH - Moët Hennessy, Hélène Valade, Directrice Développement Environnement Groupe
  • Mirova, Philippe Zaouati, CEO
  • Noé, Arnaud Greth, Président
  • Schneider Electric, Xavier Houot, Global Head of Environmental Sustainability
  • Solvay, Pascal Chalvon-Demersay, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Suez, Bertrand Camus, Directeur Général.
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