Race is on to teach business how to navigate the biodiversity crisis

Published 10:06 on January 27, 2023  /  Last updated at 10:06 on January 27, 2023  / Stian Reklev /  Biodiversity

Sweden’s CircHive and UK-based NatureAlpha this week became the latest initiatives seeking to offer businesses and financials insight into their impact on nature and how to deal with it, a field that is rapidly becoming crowded.

Sweden’s CircHive and UK-based NatureAlpha this week became the latest initiatives seeking to offer businesses and financials insight into their impact on nature and how to deal with it, a field that is rapidly becoming crowded.

CircHive is an €11.5-million research project funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden that “aims to help organisations make more informed decisions that protect ecosystems, enhance biodiversity, and unlock new opportunities for society and businesses”, it said in an introductory LinkedIn post on Thursday.

Its emergence comes as a number of reports have concluded that most businesses are largely clueless about their impact on nature and how to deal with it.

A report from the Netherlands-based World Benchmarking Alliance released last month found that fewer than 5% of global companies have assessed the impact they have on nature and fewer than 1% understand how their businesses depend on natural ecosystem services.

While a number of groups, companies, and products have been established over the past couple of years to help corporations come to terms with nature-related issues, observers expect a large amount of start-ups to emerge in the months and years ahead to fill the biodiversity information and knowledge gap.

CircHive has set out to develop rigorous and standardised methods for valuing nature based on biodiversity footprinting and natural capital accounting.

It will work with 15 research and 10 case study partners to provide a comprehensive approach to improving biodiversity performance, an issue racing up the agenda for European companies after the adoption of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Global Biodiversity Framework.

As part of its work, CircHive will develop the BEEHive – Biodiversity Excellence of Enterprises – which it said will be a new community open to any organisation interested in learning how to measure and manage their impact on nature.

“Members of BEEHive will collaborate in the development and testing of CircHive’s outputs and will receive support in developing sustainable management practices,” CircHive said.

FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD

Meanwhile, nature and biodiversity analytics company NatureAlpha this week announced it has launched a new suite of data products and solutions for investors wanting to track the biodiversity and nature impact of their investments.

Its new suite includes biodiversity impact, nature risk, and biodiversity footprint data on 3,000 companies, that includes data from the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT), the world’s largest biodiversity database pulled together by a group of conservation organisations and UNEP.

“The launch comes at a critical time for the investor community, given the agreement of the Global Biodiversity Framework at December’s COP15 Conference in Montreal, which emphasised the role of companies and financial institutions in disclosing nature risks and impacts,” NatureAlpha said in an announcement.

Its aim is to help investors better identify their exposure to higher-impact companies, participate in more meaningful engagement with portfolio companies and stakeholders, and provide enhanced reporting in response to growing regulatory pressures and aligned with the evolution of the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, it said.

CROWDED

Also this week, French company CDC Biodiversity confirmed on Thursday that their proprietary biodiversity footprinting tool, the Global Biodiversity Score (GBS), has already completed some 10 assessments.

The GBS tool, first launched in May 2020, was developed with the Businesses for Positive Biodiversity Club (B4B+), a group of about 10 financial institutions and 25 companies. The tool took five years to develop and makes it possible for companies or financial institutions to evaluate their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity.

CBC Biodiversity experts explained the benefits of the GBS at a webinar on Thursday, noting that the tool facilitates reporting under sustainable finance disclosure regulations, and could help businesses set science-based targets to reduce their impact on biodiversity.

These latest developments come just a week after green group WWF launched its Biodiversity Risk Filter, a free access tool to help companies and investors better understand their impacts and dependences on biodiversity.

By Stian Reklev and Katherine Monahan – stian@carbon-pulse.com

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