Over 330 businesses urged world leaders today to require large corporations to assess and publicly release their environmental impact. They want all businesses to make public nature disclosures by 2030. This request was announced ahead of the COP15 global biodiversity talks in December.
Among the COP15 Business, Statement signatories are GSK, H&M Group, and Nestle. They have group annual revenues of more than $1.5 trillion. Their opinion is that the world needs to move beyond voluntary reporting rules.
Improving our planet’s health requires bold, effective action. The decision-makers and business owners have to be included. Some progress has been made, but it is insufficient, comments Rebecca Marmot, chief sustainability officer at Unilever.
No more hidden environmental impact
While regulators have pushed for more stringent reporting on companies’ environmental impact and initiatives to combat climate change, the broader impact on nature and biodiversity has yet to be evaluated.
Countries will try to agree on a new Global Biodiversity Framework at the COP15 talks in Montreal to combat the crisis that threatens the extinction of over one million plant and animal species.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2021 report, approximately 17% of the world’s land is currently protected. On the other side, only 7% of the global ocean is protected.
Assessment and full transparency are critical first steps in generating action, but they will only have an impact if made compulsory, according to the 330 businesses in their statement.
Andre Hoffmann, Vice-Chairman of Roche Holdings, stated that nature recovery is within our reach if we all act now. He thinks that the joint statement demonstrates widespread support from major corporations for an ambitious global environmental agreement.
Unilever, for example, said its commitment to have a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023. That means its palm oil, paper and board, tea, soy, and cocoa will not come from areas where natural ecosystems have been transformed into farmland.
Obligatory nature disclosures for all
So far, however, rules have been largely voluntary, which means that many corporations either do not report or report in a fragmented manner, making it difficult for investors and other interested parties to compare and assess their impact on the planet and hold them accountable.
We are flying blind into extinction without this information, thinks Eva Zabey, executive director of the global coalition Business for Nature.