Martin Broderick and Anastasia Balova

September 13, 2023

7 Challenges Businesses Face When Implementing Target 15 and Next Steps

Target 15 is a critical element of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) that outlines how businesses can contribute to the GBF 2030 Mission “to take urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to put nature on a path to recovery for the benefit of people and planet by conserving and sustainably using biodiversity and by ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources, while providing the necessary means of implementation.” It is, however, acknowledged that businesses may face a range of challenges when trying to implement Target 15.

Here is an overview of some of the potential challenges businesses may encounter on their journey:
Lack of awareness
One of the significant challenges businesses may face when implementing Target 15 is a lack of awareness of how their business interacts with biodiversity including the potential impacts and dependencies, this is known as materiality. Many businesses may not fully understand the implications of their operations on biodiversity and what steps they need to put in place to minimise the negative impacts and reduce any dependency-related risks.
Limited data availability
Corporate biodiversity data is relatively immature in terms of what is currently available to businesses, and many may face challenges in obtaining accurate and reliable data on their impacts, risks and dependencies on biodiversity particularly when going beyond the initial screening phase. Comprehensive biodiversity data is critical to ensuring informed decision making, allowing businesses to prioritize actions that have the greatest positive impact on biodiversity. Remote sensing data and interpretation of this data using AI is increasingly being seen as an effective means to generate the necessary biodiversity insights on a periodic basis, in an automated manner.
Complex supply chains
Businesses with complex supply chains may face challenges in identifying and addressing their impacts, risks and dependencies on biodiversity. Scope 3 reporting continues to be a challenge in carbon accounting to get visibility of the full supply chain and biodiversity corporate reporting will be no different. Supply chains can be difficult to trace, and businesses may not have full visibility of the environmental and social impacts of their suppliers.
Limited resources
Implementing Target 15 may require significant financial, human resources and the necessary expertise, which some businesses may not have available. Smaller businesses, in particular, may struggle to invest in the necessary resources to assess and disclose their impacts, risks and dependencies on biodiversity. This has been acknowledged within the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) where the initial phase of mandatory reporting is focused on publicly listed companies. The hope will be that the necessary reporting processes will be much more clearly defined following this first round of reporting, which will provide smaller businesses with a blueprint that can be applied to their business.
Regulatory uncertainty
There may be regulatory uncertainties around the policies and regulations related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in some countries. This can create challenges for businesses that operate in multiple jurisdictions and need to comply with different regulatory frameworks.
Short-term results
Some businesses may prioritize short-term profits over long-term sustainability goals. This can lead to a lack of investment in sustainable practices and a focus on maximizing profits at the expense of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Voluntary frameworks like the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD) are seen as a critical mechanism to reduce that prioritization of short-term profits, where investors and financial institutions will seek greater transparency in terms of an organisation’s impacts, risks and dependencies on biodiversity before they invest further.
Limited stakeholder engagement
Engaging with stakeholders such as local communities, civil society organizations, and governments is critical in implementing Target 15. However, some businesses may face challenges in engaging with stakeholders effectively, particularly if they operate in countries with limited civil society participation or weak governance structures.
Tips for businesses on how to implement Target 15
Implementing Target 15 refers to the goal set by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which focuses on protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, and halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss.
Here are seven steps for businesses when implementing Target 15:
  1. Understand the Target: Familiarize yourself with the specifics of Target 15 and its associated indicators. Gain a clear understanding of the goals, objectives, and desired outcomes related to protecting and restoring terrestrial ecosystems.
  2. Assess Current Impact: Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your business's current impact on terrestrial ecosystems. Identify areas where your operations may be contributing to land degradation, deforestation, or biodiversity loss. This assessment will help you understand the specific challenges and opportunities for improvement.
  3. Develop a Sustainability Strategy: Based on the assessment, develop a sustainability strategy that aligns with Target 15. Set clear goals and targets to address the identified impacts. Consider integrating sustainable land management practices, responsible sourcing, reforestation initiatives, and measures to protect and restore biodiversity into your strategy.
  4. Engage Stakeholders: Collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, customers, local communities, and NGOs, to foster engagement and gather diverse perspectives. Seek partnerships with organizations that specialize in conservation, restoration, and sustainable land management.
  5. Implement Action Plans: Translate your sustainability strategy into actionable plans. Outline specific actions, timelines, and responsibilities for implementing sustainable practices. This may include reducing deforestation in your supply chain, implementing land restoration projects, supporting biodiversity conservation initiatives, or promoting sustainable land use practices.
  6. Monitor and Measure Progress: Establish monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track progress towards your sustainability goals. Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess the effectiveness of your initiatives. Regularly review and report on your progress to inform decision-making and identify areas for improvement.
  7. Continuous Improvement: Embrace a culture of continuous improvement. Regularly evaluate your sustainability efforts, learn from successes and challenges, and adapt your strategies accordingly. Stay informed about best practices, emerging technologies, and scientific advancements in sustainable land management to enhance your efforts over time.
By taking these steps, businesses can help to make roads safer for everyone and contribute to the achievement of Target 15. It requires a coordinated effort from governments, businesses, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders. Governments can play a critical role in providing policy frameworks and financial and technical assistance to businesses to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Businesses can take proactive steps to invest in sustainability practices, engage with stakeholders, and promote transparency and accountability in their operations. Civil society organizations can help raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use and hold businesses and governments accountable for their actions. Feel welcome to follow Galago by Ramboll for more inspiration on AI-powered sustainable land management and biodiversity mapping, management, and restoration.

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  • Brittni Engels

    Senior Consultant, Business Development & Sales

    Brittni Engels

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