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Business Reporting on Biodiversity

The role of business with respect to their impacts and dependencies upon biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, as well as their potential to contribute to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, has been increasingly recognized by Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Unfortunately, there have been, up to this point, issues related to the consistency and context of data available with respect to the actual impacts and dependencies of businesses on biodiversity, as well as the actions taken to address them. This is due, at least in part, to a relative lack of systematic reporting in this area.

This activity, which responds to the mandate issued by the twelfth Conference of Parties (COP) (decision XII/10), aims to achieve an understanding of the current situation with regard to business reporting on biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services through a review of the current schemes and research on this topic. This review will then be used to develop an initial framework of recommendations for reporting on biodiversity. Finally, the review and typology will be used to develop recommendations for further actions to help to make business reporting more effective vis-à-vis biodiversity-related issues. This study will therefore take the initial steps needed to help Parties to both better understand the activities and impacts of the business sector on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Mandate and Objective

The relevant decisions (XII/10/1b, 2b, 3b) on reporting:
  • Invites Parties “to cooperate with the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity… in order to assist businesses in reporting on their efforts to mainstream the objectives of the Convention and its Protocols…”;
  • Encourages businesses “to include in their reporting frameworks considerations related to biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, and ensure that the actions taken by companies, including through their supply chains, are captured…”; and
  • Requests the Executive Secretary “to support, and collaborate with, the Global Partnership for Business and Biodiversity… in conjunction with other programmes, in developing reports on the progress of biodiversity mainstreaming by businesses, including by establishing a typology of possible actions…”.

In response to this decision, the overall objective of this activity is to facilitate Parties’ ability to understand and derive meaningful information (through reports) with regards to the impacts and dependencies of business upon biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, as well as their efforts to address these impacts. Based on this information, Parties should ultimately be able to make more effective and efficient use of this information, particular as it relates to providing information for their national reports. In addition, a typology in the form of an initial framework of recommendations will help businesses and other stakeholders to better understand the data being reported on with respect to impacts on biodiversity, utilizing methods that are consistent with existing reporting systems.

An important issue to consider in the design of this activity is what this reporting data will ultimately be utilized for. It is therefore essential to determine what the needs of the Parties to the Convention are in terms of business reporting. An important emerging strand of work is reporting progress against the Business and Biodiversity Pledge. While there is overall little business reporting dedicated to biodiversity, notable case examples include the reports provided by the signatories of the Leadership Declaration of the German ‘Biodiversity in Good Company’ Initiative.

Project Materials

  • The finalized document on business reporting as provided to Parties at SBI-1 can be found HERE.

  • A document reviewing the questions and categories used by the various reporting schemes can be found here HERE.

  • A consolidated version of this document (just the categories used by the various reporting schemes along with the numbers of questions & schemes associated with each category) can be found here HERE.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme