Biodiversity Pulse Weekly: Thursday May 25, 2023

Published 10:13 on May 25, 2023  /  Last updated at 10:13 on May 25, 2023  /  Biodiversity, Newsletters  /  No Comments

A weekly summary of our biodiversity news plus bite-sized updates from around the world. All articles in this edition are free to read (no subscription required).

Presenting Biodiversity Pulse Weekly, Carbon Pulse’s free newsletter on the biodiversity market. It’s a weekly summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world. Subscribe here

All articles in this edition are free to read (no subscription required).

TOP STORY

SBTN launches first science-based targets for nature

The Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) on Wednesday launched methods for companies to set targets for ecosystem protection and restoration, freshwater use, and freshwater pollution, with 17 global firms to pilot the methods ahead of a general launch next year.

MARKET

Experts forecast flood of biodiversity credit demand but urge regulation

A strong wave of demand for biodiversity credits is expected within the next couple of years, experts speaking at an event in London on Monday predicted while urging standard-setting bodies to ensure rules exist to allow the market to scale with integrity.

Australia to deal with offsetting concerns in nature repair market through methodology work, govt official says

Australia could split biodiversity certificates into separate offsetting and non-offsetting methodologies in its nature repair market (NRM), to give buyers and landholders broader choice and confidence in how they engage with the scheme, according to a government official.

Developed biodiversity market schemes have seen $8 mln pledged for credits -report

The footprint of eight of the most developed existing biodiversity crediting schemes covers more than 800,000 hectares with $8 million in funding so far pledged toward investment in the creation of the resulting units, a report has estimated, also assessing each mechanism’s credentials across various criteria, such as additionality and scalability.

Carbon ratings agency launches eDNA trial for biodiversity measurement

A carbon offset ratings agency has launched a trial project in Uganda to assess the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to measure biodiversity values in ecosystems, including as basis for the issuance of nature credits.

Australian state land restoration programme partners with planting tech company to deliver projects

An Australian land management company has partnered with an international restoration tech company to restore and protect 20,000 hectares of land in Victoria, as part of the state government’s Bushbank programme.

BUSINESS & FINANCE

Majority of investor votes since 2010 are against biodiversity resolutions -report

Large investment funds have consistently voted against measures to protect biodiversity at shareholder meetings, a report has found, with proposals supporting nature receiving support of less than 40% of votes cast since 2010 across those analysed.

Financial firms commit to nature action by signing biodiversity pledge

Another 15 financial institutions have signed up to the Finance for Biodiversity (FfB) pledge, committing to help reverse the ongoing nature loss and set specific biodiversity targets.

Finnish firm to pilot biodiversity premium payment for forest-owners

Forestry firm Stora Enso is launching a pilot programme where it will pay forest-owners across several regions in Finland for leaving their harvested forests in better shape than required by regulations.

TNFD co-chair names September date for launch of final nature disclosure recommendations

The co-chair of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) has confirmed the launch date for the final nature reporting recommendations as Sep. 18, speaking at a conference in London on Monday, stating that the highly-anticipated disclosure guidelines will be presented at the New York Climate Week.

Equity index firms team up to launch biodiversity-linked suite

A biodiversity index suite has been released on Monday in an effort to help investors align their portfolios with their biodiversity impact reduction and sustainable development goals (SDGs) by screening for companies with low impact.

POLICY

EU’s centre-right seeks to block nature restoration law in Parliament

A law to restore 20% of the EU’s nature is at risk of being blocked in the European Parliament by a coalition of centre-right political groups, as a vote in favour of felling the bill passed by a slim majority in an interim committee ballot on Wednesday.

G20 urged to push for scaled-up ocean funding through new financial instruments

The G20 should act to catalyse funding for the blue economy transition through targeted financial instruments like debt-for-nature swaps, blue bonds, and outcome-based payments, according to an engagement group set up under India’s G20 presidency.

Australian state moves to end native logging

The state government in Victoria in Australia on Tuesday announced its local logging industry will shut down at the end of the year, six years earlier than planned.

SCIENCE & TECH

National Geographic lifts anchor on five-year Pacific Ocean conservation expedition

A five-year ocean expedition set sail on Wednesday under National Geographic Pristine Seas that will see a team of international experts promote ocean protection in the tropical Pacific, providing video links to underwater landscapes and supporting local conservation efforts.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

MARKET

Biggest yet – The Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority has signed an MoU with Singapore-registered GreenCop Development on the establishment of a carbon credit project that would span 2.4 mln hectares across three game reserves to make it Africa’s biggest carbon project by far. The scheme would cover forests, soil, and marine vegetation, and also contribute to Tanzania meeting its targets under the GBF. (Carbon Pulse)

Stay clear – Alaska recently approved a programme that would allow the creation of carbon credits from forestry projects on state-owned land. However, research group CarbonPlan this week warned voluntary offset buyers to shun the Alaskan programme amid additionality concerns after state government officials commented that the programme did not mean timber sales would need to slow down if Alaska adopted the scheme. (Carbon Pulse)

BUSINESS & FINANCE

Kicked out – Norway’s Storebrand Asset Management has excluded energy company ChinaPower because of the negative impacts its business activities have on threatened species like rhinos, orangutans, and tigers in Tanzania and Indonesia. The investor tried to have a dialogue with ChinaPower but failed to make an impact, the company told Norwegian news outlet e24. In Tanzania, the Chinese company is building a hydropower plant on a site listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. In January, Storebrand placed Bunge and ADM on an observation list due to their deforestation policies.

Fast growth – The global regenerative agriculture market stood at $8.1 bln last year and is expected to grow to over $21 bln by 2029, New Delhi-based consultants BlueWeave said in an announcement this week. Large US companies like Pepsi, Walmart, Unilever, and Microsoft are contributing to the fast growth. The consultants attributed the trend to increasing awareness of the negative impacts of conventional farming methods on the soil and environment.

Going bigger – Hana Financial Group announced at the UNEP FI Asia-Pacific Roundtable held in Korea this week that it will take the lead in “expanding investments in the field of biodiversity” for sustainable finance in the Asia-Pacific region. Chairman Ham Young-joo, who served as a keynote speaker at the event, declared, “In the current situation where the importance of the ‘biodiversity’ sector is growing due to issues such as the pandemic and resource depletion, we plan to actively participate in the Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and the Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF) this year. We will fulfill the role of finance for environmental and social responsibility through policy establishment and investment expansion in the ‘biodiversity conservation sector’, which has tremendous potential.” (Business Korea)

Donation beesness – To coincide with World Bee Day on May 20, Guerlain gave its Abeille Royale Advanced Youth Watery Oil a striking makeover to help raise funds for its long-standing bee conservation programme. The French perfume, cosmetics, and skincare house enlisted the talents of French visual artist Celine Cleron to transform the star product’s bottle and packaging especially for the occasion. Over three days, Guerlain donated 20% of its total sales, including of the limited edition product. The goal was to raise up to €1 million. (TR Business)

POLICY

Not quite there – Indonesia has put nearly a tenth of its national waters, the sixth-largest maritime jurisdiction of any country, under some form of protection. But poor management means these protected areas haven’t been able to achieve their biodiversity conservation goals, a new study says. Indonesia’s 411 marine protected areas — parks, reserves, and maritime conservation areas — cover a combined surface area of 284,100 sq km, an area larger than the UK. For all their size, these MPAs account for less than 9% of Indonesia’s waters; the country is targeting to expand that coverage to 10% by 2030 and then 30% by 2045 as part of its contribution to the global “30 by 30” conservation goal. Despite these lofty goals, none of the existing MPAs has demonstrated effective or sustainable management based on the government’s own standards, researchers have found. In addition, the country’s expansion of the MPA network isn’t proceeding fast enough to meet the 30% goal by 2045, the researchers wrote in a recently published study in the journal Biological Conservation. (Mongabay)

Spread it around – Last year, Sri Lanka was plunged into economic crisis. As the country struggles in the aftermath of its sovereign debt default in Apr. 2022, officials have said they are considering a debt-for-nature swap. If this happens, this would remove $1 bln from Sri Lanka’s outstanding $40 bln of debt. With Ecuador having earlier this month completed the world’s biggest debt-for-nature swap to date, taking roughly $1.6 bln off its national debt, these deals look set to play a bigger role in dealing with both debt burdens and biodiversity conservation. Being home to some of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, South Asian countries, several of which are struggling under the weight of their debt, could benefit from these innovative schemes. (The Hindu)

Spending – The Philippines government has allocated $42.7 mln for forest rehabilitation in its 2023 budget, the Department of Budget and Management said Saturday. That goes to a National Greening Programme, which will restore 13,565 ha of land, as well as to planting 7.25 mln seedlings and maintaining almost 159,000 ha of land. Launched in 2011, the rehabilitation programme is headed up by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to achieve “poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, environmental stability, and climate change mitigation and adaptation”. The climate budget was almost 200 times that of forestry rehabilitation, an increase of 60% from 2022. (CNN Philippines)

Forever – The National Campaign for Updating and Verifying the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) was launched in Goa, India, in collaboration with various government entities and attended by notable dignitaries. This campaign aims to document and preserve India’s diverse biological resources. During the event, the Union Minister of State, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, underscored the importance of preserving the delicate balance of nature. He highlighted the necessity of giving back to nature as much as we take from it, stating, “Maintaining nature’s delicate balance is crucial; we must restore what we extract.” (Krishi Jagran)

SCIENCE & TECH

Good news and bad news – Scientists and conservationists have discovered 380 new species across Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam since 2021, according to a report released this week by WWF, including 290 plants, 19 fishes, 24 amphibians, 46 reptiles, and one mammal. However, many of the species are already under threat from human activities, the green group said, urging governments in the region to increase levels of protection for the new discoveries.

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