World Benchmarking Alliance to launch nature engagement initiative in 2024

Collective Impact Coalition will focus on engaging firms on the assessment and disclosure of impacts and dependencies on nature.

The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) will launch a Collective Impact Coalition (CIC) focused on engaging firms on nature in early 2024, Responsible Investor can reveal. 

First launched in 2021, CICs are facilitated by the WBA and aim to provide a space for stakeholders to take cross-sector, collaborative action based on data and evidence provided by the initiative’s benchmarks.  

There are already CICs focused on issues such as the Just Transition and digital inclusion. 

According to Jenni Black, WBA’s nature transformation lead, target companies will be drawn from the 769 companies assessed so far within the nature benchmark. These sit across a range of sectors, including metals and mining, food and agriculture, pharma and chemicals.

First launched in 2022, the benchmark aims to track and measure how companies are reducing their negative impacts on nature and contributing to the protection and restoration of ecosystems, aligned with the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework. 

The CIC will focus on engaging firms on the assessment and disclosure of impacts and dependencies on nature. Progress will be measured through the benchmark. 

“For us, this is the fundamental first step in terms of credible action on nature,” Black told RI. 

Currently, WBA is recruiting for participants ahead of a planned launch in early 2024. It is hoping to attract 20-40 investors. 

As well as an investor coalition to engage firms, WBA will also work to ensure it brings in voices from civil society, communities, and biodiversity experts/academics, Black said. 

“This is so that we can share expertise across stakeholder groups, and try to bring alignment so that companies don’t receive mixed messages,” she added.

Alignment with other nature initiatives 

A key question that has emerged as collective engagement initiatives focused on nature – such as Nature Action 100 – have ramped up in the last year or so is: how will they all align and work together to avoid duplication?  

Asked about NA100, Black said the WBA will liaise with the initiative and that the CIC will focus on companies that are not in scope of NA100. “We have assessed 769 companies, so have many others to choose from.” 

Depending on interest and willingness from CIC participants, CIC actions could also look at the broader nature landscape, Black added. “For example, some actions could focus on policy/regulation, rather than engagement with specific companies.” 

Earlier this month, RI reached out to all 190 investor participants of NA100 to ask whether they have identified how many – and the types of – firms they would like to or have put themselves forward for.