Trucost Blog / 15 Jul 2010

Mandatory environmental reporting needed to manage financial risk

Why? Because the world, countries and regions have failed to achieve a target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. In fact, we are losing biodiversity faster than ever before. Angela Cropper of the UN Environment Programme highlighted a major barrier to progress at the first Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium on Tuesday:

Businesses will find it increasingly difficult and more costly to access “free” materials, commodities, freshwater supplies, food, fibre and fuels delivered through ecosystem goods & services.

Why? Because the world, countries and regions have failed to achieve a target to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. In fact, we are losing biodiversity faster than ever before.

Angela Cropper of the UN Environment Programme highlighted a major barrier to progress at the first Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium on Tuesday: Unlike carbon, biodiversity does not have a single indicator or index of value. One way around this is to to apply a price to different indicators, which is what The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (TEEB) study has done. It calls for businesses to identify their impacts and dependencies on nature.

Evaluating biodiversity and integrating it into economic systems is vital to avoid dangerous tipping points that could cause major, irreversible environmental changes such as massive dieback in the Amazon basin. Better data will hopefully help achieve new targets for 2020, to be agreed in Nagoya in October.

To deliver a new strategic plan, in their own interests, companies and investors will need to help address drivers of biodiversity loss such as pollution and overexploitation. Cropper called for mandatory environmental reporting for companies using biological assets. Monitoring and reporting is a small but vital step towards protecting natural assets that support the economy.