Framing the framework: why global biodiversity is key
World in Motion – Global equities blog

Framing the framework: why global biodiversity is key

The COP 15 agreement is such an important development in the drive to reverse biodiversity loss

The much-anticipated UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) was finally held in China in December 20221. Having originally been scheduled for October 2020 it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Sustaining biodiversity is vital for all life on earth, but sadly it is deteriorating at such a rapid rate that scientists have concluded that the effective conservation of 30%-50% of all global land and sea resources is required to ensure a sustainable life-supporting environment.

With this in mind, a key outcome of COP 15 was the signing of a Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) by almost every country on earth which aims to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 through action on 23 goals. The US was notably absent from the signatories making it the only UN member not party to the Convention on Biodiversity. However, President Biden has signaled he will pursue policies aligned to the framework via executive action.

Some of the 2030 targets agreed include:

  • The conservation of 30% of land and sea areas by 2030, versus the 17% of land and 10% of seas currently protected
  • Reducing pollution from fertilisers and pesticides – this is among the most quantified goals in the framework and supports the transition to more sustainable agricultural practices, which is a key theme within the Columbia Threadneedle Sustainable Outcomes Global Equities (CTSOGE) strategy
  • To reduce food waste by 50%
  • With more than $1.8 trillion in annual subsidies going to industries connected to biodiversity loss, such as fossil fuels (which receive more than $600 billion in subsidies) and agriculture (more than $500 billion, 80% of which is linked to global forest loss), the target is to eliminate or reform more than $500 billion of these subsidies

Just like the Paris climate accord, the biodiversity agreement relies on individual countries working towards these global goals, so its success depends on national-level implementation and regulation.

The framework also targets improved disclosure by corporates and financial institutions around biodiversity risks and impacts from their operations and portfolios. This, along with the introduction of the TFND (Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures), should escalate reporting around biodiversity impacts to supplement the reporting we currently have around carbon emissions through the TFCD (Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures).

All in all, the GBF should help increase the focus on nature and biodiversity loss in the global environmental agenda, and offer improved clarity for some of the themes and ideas we are interested in on the CTSOGE strategy.

31 March 2023
Pauline Grange
Pauline Grange
Portfolio Manager
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1 Unless otherwise stated, all data in the COP 15 section is from https://www.unep.org/events/conference/un-biodiversity-conference-cop-15

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