BlackRock, AP7, UBS among 30 advisors to ‘TCFD for biodiversity’

News comes as UK Government is urged to make it illegal for the finance sector to use commodities linked to deforestation

Representatives from AXA, Blackrock, BNP Paribas, UBS and pension fund AP7 are among the 30 executives who have been selected to serve for two years as Members of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD).

Investor and financial services members include Johan Florén, AP7’s Head of ESG & Communications; Judson Berkey, UBS’s Managing Director, Group Head, Engagement & Regulatory Strategy; Sébastien Soleille, BNP Paribas’s Global Head, Energy Transition & Environment, Celine Soubranne, AXA’s Group Chief Sustainability Officer and Jessica McDougall, BlackRock, Director, BlackRock Investment Stewardship. 

A number of members from service and data providers have also been appointed as TNFD members, including Rahul Ghosh, Moody’s Corporation, Managing Director, ESG Outreach & Research; Richard Mattison, S&P Global, President, S&P Global Sustainable1 & CEO, S&P Global Trucost and Herry Cho, Singapore Exchange, Managing Director, Head: Sustainability & Sustainable Finance.

Other financial services organisations represented include Bank of America, HSBC, Macquarie and Mirova, while corporate members include Anglo American, GlaxoSmithKline, Nestle and Tata Steel. 

TNFD members are tasked with driving the work to develop a beta framework for companies and financial institutions to assess, manage and report on their dependencies and impacts on nature. 

The beta version is set to be launched in 2022 and will be tested and refined with market participants for the final framework to be released in 2023. 

Mirroring the model of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and catalysed by UNEP FI, UNDP, Global Canopy, and WWF, the TNFD was first announced in July last year. 

In June 2021 it officially launched with its Co-Chairs – Elizabeth Mrema, United Nations Assistant Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and David Craig, Former CEO of Refinitiv and Strategic Advisor to London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).

And earlier this month the TNFD announced its Secretariat will be hosted by the UK Green Finance Institute (GFI) and headed up by former World Bank adviser Tony Goldner.

Moving forward each Member will be part of at least one of five initial Working Groups, which will focus on: Defining nature-related risks, Data availability, Landscape of standards and metrics, Development of a Beta framework, and Pilot testing and integration.

The taskforce’s membership will ultimately consist of up to 35 individuals, with the selection of the remaining executives currently underway “to broaden the taskforce’s geographic and sector coverage and its diversity of expertise”. 

Also today, the TNFD announced the launch of a broader consultative body of institutional supporters and partners.

Known as the TNFD Forum, there are 100 institutions involved, including ASN Bank, Aviva Investors, Bank of America, Bank of England, HSBC, MSCI and Moody’s.

Membership to join the Forum is still open and is “expected to grow over time as more organisations become aware of the importance of their engagement and come on board to support a shift in financial flows towards nature-positive outcomes”.

In related biodiversity news, the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has called on the Government to “make it illegal for UK businesses and the finance sector to use commodities linked to deforestation and at the very least, the Government must include the finance sector within proposed laws on forest-risk commodities in the Environment Bill.”

The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) made a similar recommendation earlier this year, stating that, although it supported the Bill, it needs to cover all harmful deforestation activities (currently it only addresses illegal deforestation), as well as potentially expand the mandatory due diligence requirements to the financial sector – rather than just businesses –  “to prevent investors from financing illegal deforestation”.

In addition, UKSIF yesterday urged the Government to ensure the UK National Infrastructure Bank includes biodiversity in investment considerations.