Mitigating biodiversity loss demands corporate accountability

Of 20 internationally-set biodiversity targets, only six were partially met by the 2020 deadline.

There is also a 2030 deadline for the completion of the Sustainable Development Goals. As these Global Goals recognize — most explicitly in SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land) — the decline in biodiversity threatens disastrous consequences for the natural environment, as well as for people and communities around the world. Meanwhile, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity is set to adopt the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework this year, which defines commitments and targets for all relevant stakeholders.

Holding organizations accountable for their impacts is crucial to break the chain of events on both biodiversity loss and climate change — for which transparency is the underpinning enabler.

Not only will high quality disclosures lead to better assessment by companies, it will also inform improved decision making by stakeholders, including governments, civil society, and investors.

The GRI Biodiversity Standard is already used annually by at least 2,000 organizations, out of the more than 10,000 companies reporting with the GRI Standards — the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standards.

The proposed revisions will help organizations to better report their impacts throughout the value chain, including how they contribute to key drivers of biodiversity loss (climate change, invasive species, land and sea use change, overexploitation and pollution).

The challenges we face to address and reverse societal impacts on biodiversity are formidable. Yet I firmly believe that improved transparency by organizations will drive the actions that contribute to the changes that we urgently need to see.

The future viability of the environment, as well as the sustainability of economies and communities around the world, depends on it.

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