A think tank released research on Monday that showed a mismatch between executive rhetoric and corporate action on biodiversity within their supply chains, with many executives suggesting the issue is not the responsibility of private companies.
Capgemini Research Institute, the organisation’s “in-house think tank”, released the report on the fringes of the announcement of Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) recommendations, which urges companies to address their biodiversity risks and dependencies.
The research stated that despite nearly nine out of 10 executives understanding the importance of biodiversity, the issue is failing to move up the corporate agenda.
“Many organisations underestimate their direct impact on biodiversity loss, and their responsibility in protecting and restoring it,” said Cyril Garcia, group head of global sustainability services and corporate responsibility at Capgemini, in a statement.
“It’s time for businesses to proactively address the issue and get ahead of mandatory regulations that are on their way, especially as many solutions and frameworks such as the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure and regenerative practices are already available to help protect biodiversity. ”
The research surveyed 1,812 executives from 15 different industries and employed at organisations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue across 12 countries in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the US.
Only a quarter of the organisations surveyed had a biodiversity strategy, with companies from Australia (15%), Germany (16%), Canada (17%), and Italy (18%) lagging behind.
Just 16% of organisations have already assessed the impact on biodiversity of their supply chain and only 20% for their operations, the think tank said.
Many organisations have integrated biodiversity into their supply chain, with 58% of executives updating their supplier code of conduct for biodiversity, the research said. Approximately 50% of respondents claimed to invest in deforestation-free supply chains and demand sustainable forest practices from suppliers.
In specific industries, consumer goods (26%) most often assess their biodiversity impact, while the public/government sector (14%) does so the least. Retail (26%) leads in supply chain impact assessments, while agriculture and forestry (10%) lag behind.
Nearly half (47%) of executives regard biodiversity loss as a medium-term risk for their businesses and 30% perceive it as a long-term risk (2050), while just 17% view it as an immediate concern, the report noted.
Despite more than 94% of surveyed companies reporting it as a risk, just over half of the executives involved believe private companies should not address biodiversity outside of formal regulation, and this even reaches 78% in Italy and 75% in Japan.
The report noted that while there is broad agreement on biodiversity conservation being a priority, the underlying complexity is a major challenge to corporate action.
Some 59% of those surveyed said the absence of benchmarks for gauging and overseeing impacts on biodiversity, ambiguities in goal setting, and a skills gap in the biodiversity talent market create challenges for senior leaders to take action.
Global corporate investment in biodiversity preservation represents less than 5% of what is needed from all stakeholders (public and private) in the next 10 years to reverse damage to biodiversity.
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework set the target to mobilise $200 billion per year for biodiversity by 2030 from all sources.
By Tom Woolnough – email@example.com