As the UN Biodiversity COP15 officially opens, more than 1,000 businesses with revenues of $4.7 trillion USD, operating in 65 countries and employing more than 11.2 million people are urging governments to adopt policies now to reverse nature loss this decade. This is coupled with an open letter to Heads of State signed by the CEOs of leading companies featured in a Guardian article. CEOs from companies including FirstRand, H&M, Holcim, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts, Natura &Co, Rabobank, Sintesa Group, Suzano, Unilever, Wipro and Yara International recognize their responsibility to reject a “business as usual” mindset and to transform their business models to operate within planetary boundaries.

As well as taking decisive action within their own businesses to reverse nature loss by 2030, these CEOs call on governments to use the political momentum from the G7 Nature Communique and the Leaders Pledge for Nature to adopt at COP15 a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that is meaningful and actionable by everyone.

At COP15, they call on governments to:

  • Commit to reversing nature loss by 2030: this ambition would become the Global Goal for nature in the same way that the 1.5 degree climate pledge is the Global Goal for climate.
  • Adopt ambitious and actionable targets and commit to:
    • embed the value of nature in decision-making and disclosure,
    • eliminate and redirect all harmful subsidies,
    • align all financial flows towards a nature-positive world, and
    • ensure production and consumption footprints are within ecological thresholds.

This call follows recent and widespread calls from NGOs, faith groups, local and regional governments, Indigenous Peoples, academics, youth, business coalitions and artist for a more ambitious agreement at COP15 and an announcement last week from a group of philanthropists who pledged a record US$5 billion to nature conservation and restoration.

The draft Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is a step in the right direction but needs to be strengthened, improved and refined to ensure we transform our economic and financial systems and reverse nature loss by 2030. Business for Nature has developed a set of specific suggestions for negotiators to include in the Framework.

Putting nature on the map at COP26

Nature must be placed firmly on the agenda at COP26 in November. Governments, businesses and financial institutions increasingly recognize we must reverse nature loss by 2030, whilst also halving emissions this decade to limit global warming to 1.5°C. We need to embrace high-quality nature-based solutions that benefit people’s livelihoods, health, biodiversity as well as tackling climate change. Governments need to put nature and climate at the heart of policymaking and by doing so support businesses to deliver a swift transition to an equitable, nature-positive and net-zero future.

Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever: “The science on nature loss is terrifying. Nature underpins everything on this planet. An ambitious Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that brings transformative change to our relationship with our planet is absolutely critical. Business should be at the fore of calling for this change.”

Alan Pullinger, CEO, FirstRand Group: “Biodiversity debates lack a universal common goal and sharp focus on the urgency of mitigation. Global agreement and common goals will focus minds but needs a lot of collective thinking. The power behind the climate debate is transformation or punitive trade sanctions and hopefully the same level of persuasion can be obtained for biodiversity.”

Wiebe Draijer, CEO, Rabobank: “It is clear that more action is urgently required to reverse nature and biodiversity loss to ensure a living planet.”

Helena Helmersson, CEO, H&M Group: “We need governments and policy makers to be transformative and create new laws and frameworks and of course in collaboration with business that need to step up with their actions and commitments.”

Walter Schalka, CEO, Suzano: “We need ambitious policies on nature because a clear long-term political vision helps business drive sustainable investments. Brazil’s capacity to contribute to the global effort of halting climate change must translate into a competitive advantage through a transparent carbon market. This can bring economic and social benefits to communities in need particularly in least developed areas of Brazil.”

Read the open letter