Introductory resources and reference materials to help acquaint you with issues related to ecosystems.
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The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework
Agreed upon at the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, this global framework sets out to preserve and restore nature, protect biodiversity, prevent extinction of species, ensure sustainable use, and promote fair and equitable benefit sharing. It contains four ambitious goals for 2050 and 23 interim targets for 2030 that depend on collaboration between industries and governments at all levels.
The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures
Reversing global nature loss depends on a shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes and toward nature-positive outcomes. This depends on large and small businesses across supply chains, financial institutions, and industries of all types collectively identifying, assessing, managing, and disclosing nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities. Towards meeting this inter-industrial challenge, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) was established in 2021 in response to the growing need to factor nature into financial and business decisions.
The TNFD is actively developing a market-led, science-based risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks and opportunities. The V0.3 of the TNFD beta framework is now out for market consultation, and the complete recommendations (v1.0) are expected to be published in September 2023. The TNFD has also developed a Knowledge Bank that features a curated collection of the latest external resources and market insights on nature-related risks and opportunities.
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
Established in 2012, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an intergovernmental organisation that was created to "strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being, and sustainable development." They are a knowledgeable and reputable source for content that will support your understanding of nature's contributions to human well-being.
The IPBES produces assessments on specific themes and issues at both the regional and global levels; supports policy development; builds capacity and knowledge for participating member states; provides tracking to show the impact of their knowledge materials on decision-making; and engages in communications, outreach, and awareness-building on key ecosystem-related topics.
The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
This report is the first ever intergovernmental global assessment on the status and trends of the natural world; their direct and indirect causes; the social implications of these trends; and the actions that can be taken to ensure nature is conserved, restored, and used sustainably. The assessment presents a comprehensive analysis and synthesis of scientific publications, indigenous knowledge, and local knowledge to highlight the impact of biodiversity and ecosystem services on human well-being and the effectiveness of responses, including the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The summary for policymakers would be of particular value to directors, or to sustainability change agents for the creation of learning materials.
The Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD) aims to provide a global framework for biodiversity action. The CBD has three main goals: conserving biodiversity, achieving the sustainable use of its components, and fairly and equitably sharing the benefits arising from genetic resources. The CBD brings together the Conference of the Parties (COP) every two years to review progress, adopt programs, and provide policy guidance. Among their achievements is the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which provided an overarching biodiversity framework for the entire UN system and all partners involved in policy development. This plan includes the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which were established in an effort to protect and conserve the biodiversity that underpins global food security, health and clean water.
The CBD website is a rich source for learning materials on biodiversity indicators and required actions; primer guides on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; information on national biodiversity strategies and action plans; and more.
The IUCN Red List Index
Established in 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species is the world's most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus, and plant species. The index shows trends in overall extinction risk for species, and is used by governments to track their progress towards targets for reducing biodiversity loss. It is also used to guide scientific research, inform policy and conventions, influence resource allocation, and inform conservation planning.
The Nature of Risk
Scientific consensus is growing around risks to business from the loss and degradation of nature. This report and framework from WWF builds on existing natural capital and climate-related risk frameworks, and will help you understand the extricable link between nature- and climate change-related risks. This resource also includes a set of case studies featuring businesses facing the consequences of nature-related risk.
Climate Risk Assessment for Ecosystem-based Adaptation: A guidebook for planners and practitioners
This guide is a good starting point if your organisation is looking to preserve at-risk natural spaces from climate change impacts. The guide focuses on ecosystem-based adaptation, which involves the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services to help communities adapt to the negative effects of climate change and to reduce their risk to environmental hazards. This handbooks will help you to perform sound assessments of climate risks for social-ecological systems, and provides guidance on how to systematically consider ecosystems and their services as both a driver of risk (when function is reduced) and as an opportunity for risk reduction and adaptation. This document introduces key concepts and methodological steps relevant for ecosystem-based adaptation; identifies potential adaptation measures; and explains how to perform related planning and use risk assessments for monitoring and evaluation.
ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks, and Exposure)
ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks, and Exposure), a free tool from the Natural Capital Finance Alliance, will help you to visualise how your business may be exposed to accelerating environmental change. The tool provides a snapshot of the depencies and impacts for a wide range of sub-industries and processes, and includes fact sheets and maps to help you understand the links between business activities and nature.
The Nature Benchmark measures and tracks corporate performance towards a nature-positive future and ranks keystone companies on their efforts to protect biodiversity and the environment. Created by the World Benchmarking Alliance, the benchmark provides publicly available, evidence-based insights into how the world's most influential companies are contributing to the preservation and regeneration of nature. The inaugural release of the Nature Benchmark reviews the policies and practices of companies spanning eight sectors with a particularly significant impact on nature: metals and mining; construction and engineering; construction materials and supplies; containers and packaging; pharma and biotech; tyres and rubber; apparel and footwear; and chemicals.
Valuing Nature: The case for nature-related assessment and disclosure
This report by the SustainAbility Institute and the Capitals Coalition builds a case for nature-related disclosure and provides a roadmap for how businesses can approach it. The report unpacks new nature frameworks; connects the Capitals Coalition’s Natural Capital Protocol with the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure's (TNFD) beta framework; and outlines a set of nature-related actions that your company can and should take today. This is a good resource for preparing leaders and boards to make clear, consistent, and timely nature-related disclosures upon the TNFD's launch.
Strengthening Synergies: How action to achieve post-2020 global biodiversity conservation targets can contribute to mitigating climate change
Climate change and biodiversity decline are fundamentally connected, and therefore addressing these intersecting crises will require the development and deployment of nature-based solutions. This primer will help you to understand the role that achieving biodiversity conservation targets can play in reducing emissions to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The report looks at the carbon stocks associated with areas identified as possible priorities to meet proposed global biodiversity conservation targets.
Nature Map Explorer
Using the best available scientific data, Nature Map Explorer provides a set of integrated global maps on biodiversity and ecosystems services that will help you to explore, visualise, and understand the geographic context of various ecosystem services and the impacts of human activities on them. The map features layers such as terrestrial habitat types, human impact on forests, species richness, and areas of global significance for conservation, and can support your efforts to design and implement policies and initiatives aimed at limiting biodiversity loss and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Deforestation Monitoring and Response Framework
The Forest Positive Coalition has created a framework to proactively monitor and address deforestation and peat non-compliances. The framework is a living document, and it aims to create a more efficient and effective approach for dealing with non-compliance with 'No Deforestation or Peat Development' commitments. It has two sections: guidance on minimum requirements for monitoring, and a response framework that clarifies roles and responsibilities across the supply chain.
Although the scope of the monitoring is for palm oil only, the learning outcomes will be shared for other commodities across the Forest Positive Coalition members.
Nature Risk Profile
This guide from UNEP was created to support the financial sector with measuring and addressing nature-related risk. The guide outlines a methodology and provides scientifically robust and actionable sustainability analytics that can help you to assess your company's impacts and dependencies on nature.
Handbook for Nature-related Financial Risks: Key concepts and a framework for identification
This handbook from the University of Cambridge Institutite for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) explains how nature loss is a risk to financial institutions. Created to help financial practitioners with limited prior knowledge of biodiversity loss, land degradation, and other ecosystem-related sustainability topics, it provides an overview of key terms and concepts and features a framework for identifying various nature-related financial risks (as well as relevant physical, transition, and liability risks). This is a good starting point for practitioners who want to better understand how to embed nature-related financial risks into strategy and decision-making.