Biodiversity round-up: Industry bodies accused of lobbying against nature protection

News comes as RepRisk tool finds one third of natural and mixed UNESCO World Heritage sites are within 1km of an extractive project.

Industry associations representing key sectors and some of the largest companies in the world have been accused of lobbying to “delay, dilute and roll back” critically needed policy aimed at preventing and reversing biodiversity loss in the EU and US, in research conducted by InfluenceMap.  

For the pilot study, the non-profit assessed organisations including the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, American Petroleum Institute, BusinessEurope and the US Chamber of Commerce against a new biodiversity methodology, based on its established methodology for assessing corporate engagement on climate.  

In response to the findings, Adam Kanzer, head of stewardship for the Americas at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said: “Companies and their trade associations must align their lobbying activities with biosphere integrity. This report provides us with a significant first step towards nature-positive lobbying.” 

The news comes as RepRisk’s new biodiversity risk tool has found that one-third of natural and mixed UNESCO World Heritage sites are currently within 1km of an extractive project. 

The ESG data science firm collaborated with the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) Alliance to create RepRisk Geospatial Analytics, which details the proximity of more than 60,000 mining and oil and gas projects to over 270,000 protected areas and 16,000 Key Biodiversity Areas.

The data also showed that approximately 81 percent of oil and gas pipelines worldwide are within 10km of at least one environmentally sensitive site. 

Edward Ellis, business manager at IBAT Alliance, said: “RepRisk links assets on the ground to owner and operator companies, enabling investors to better understand aspects of their nature-related risk. When combined with the existing risk information in RepRisk’s ESG Risk Platform, investors are able to analyse biodiversity in the environmental pillar of ESG in an even more multi-dimensional way.” 

Future applications for RepRisk Geospatial Analytics will include proximity data on projects beyond the extractive sector, and data on emissions and deforestation. 

Finally, Lloyds Bank is working with the Soil Association to pilot a new service designed to help British farmers accelerate their transition to net zero and identify financial and environmental advantages for their land. Through the Soil Association Exchange, the bank will fund the service for up to 1,000 of its largest agriculture customers.