Anastasia Balova

July 26, 2023

What is Target 15 and why is it important

Target 15, part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, is dedicated to the protection, restoration, and promotion of sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. This includes halting biodiversity loss, combating desertification and ending deforestation.

What is Target 15
Businesses are urged to assess and disclose their impacts on biodiversity as part of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, to reduce negative impacts, and to promote sustainable production patterns. In order to conserve biodiversity and ensure its sustainable use, this target is crucial, as businesses depend on biodiversity in various ways, and their activities can significantly impact it. Taking concrete steps to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity can be achieved by regularly monitoring, assessing, and disclosing risks, dependencies, and impacts.
How it can be achieved
It is essential that countries implement legal, administrative, and policy measures to encourage businesses and financial institutions to assess and disclose their biodiversity impacts, dependencies, and risks. Governments play a crucial role in encouraging and enabling businesses and financial institutions to take these actions consistently and equitably.
National target-setting should take into account the legal, administrative, and policy measures in place to encourage monitoring, assessing, and disclosing business risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity, as well as measures aimed at ensuring consumers receive information and comply with regulations and measures regulating access and benefit sharing. In addition to evaluating ecological, economic, and social benefits and costs, it is also important to determine the actors who may be affected.
Why is Target 15 important?
The achievement of Target 15 will support the achievement of other related targets and contribute to the realization of all goals of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Climate-related disclosure is well established across financial institutions and businesses and is used as a mechanism to better understand climate risk. It is hoped that Target 15 can act as the catalyst to ensure more transparency in reporting the interaction between business and biodiversity.
The role of businesses in achieving Target 15
Businesses are at the heart of Target 15, and they can already take proactive steps to implement Target 15. For instance, they can undertake biodiversity risk assessments to identify and prioritize areas of potential biodiversity loss or damage. Such assessments can help businesses develop strategies to mitigate negative impacts on biodiversity. Moreover, businesses can develop biodiversity management plans that incorporate measures to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity and promote positive impacts. These plans can also help businesses identify opportunities to generate positive impacts on biodiversity, such as through the restoration of degraded habitats or the promotion of sustainable land use practices.
In addition to risk assessments and management plans, businesses can also adopt sustainable sourcing practices that promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Such practices can include sourcing materials and products from certified sustainable sources or developing partnerships with local communities to promote sustainable land use practices. Furthermore, businesses can invest in research and development to develop innovative solutions that promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. A sustainable consumption pattern can be promoted by developing new technologies that reduce negative impacts on biodiversity.
Companies and financial institutions with large net impacts on biodiversity, and where there is a direct interaction with the natural environment, need such measures. As sustainability reports often overlook the issues associated with supply chains and portfolios, improving their monitoring, assessment, and disclosure processes could have a significant impact on biodiversity.
It is essential to recognize that the implementation of Target 15 requires the cooperation and engagement of all stakeholders, including businesses, governments, civil society, and local communities. Businesses should engage with local communities to understand their concerns and needs and develop strategies that promote their well-being and sustainable land use practices. Governments should also engage with civil society organizations and local communities to ensure that their policies and initiatives take into account the needs and concerns of all stakeholders. Furthermore, governments should ensure that their policies and initiatives are transparent and accessible to all stakeholders.
Measuring the progress
Several indicators are identified in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework to measure progress toward Target 15. These include the number of companies that disclose risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity, as well as how many companies publish sustainability reports. Businesses can also use the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) to disclose their nature-related risks and opportunities. A framework for setting nature-related targets and measuring progress against these targets is provided by Science-Based Targets for Nature.
At the heart of measuring this progress is the need for data that can feed into these key metrics. It is expected that for those organizations that have significant interaction with biodiversity, reliable geospatial data will be critical. The utilization of remote sensing and AI can provide an effective means to generate this data.
In the coming years, many organizations operating in the EU will be required to report. Target 15 can be implemented with the help of several resources:
  • The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) of the European Union (EU) provides guidance on how businesses can report on their environmental impacts, including their impact on biodiversity. Read more about the new rules on corporate sustainability reporting: provisional political agreement between the Council and the European Parliament here.
  • Businesses can disclose their nature-related risks and opportunities through the TNFD Nature-Related Risk & Opportunity Management and Disclosure Framework.
  • The Natural Capital Protocol provides a standardized framework for businesses to assess and value their impacts on natural capital, including biodiversity.
  • Science-Based Targets Network also offers guidance to businesses on setting science-based targets aligned with Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework objectives.
  • Did you miss the webinar "How AI is transforming Biodiversity measurement and monitoring" from our Webinar Series: AI for Biodiversity where one of the topics was Target 15? In case you missed the live session or want to revisit the insights shared, we are pleased to provide you with access to the recorded webinar and its slides.
  • For more news and insights, follow Galago on LinkedIn
  • Keep an eye for the next AI for Biodiversity webinar here
According to Target 15 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, businesses play a critical role in conserving biodiversity and ensuring its sustainability. By monitoring, assessing, and transparently disclosing their risks, dependencies, and impacts on biodiversity, businesses can better understand their relationship with biodiversity and take steps to mitigate any negative impacts. Legislative, administrative, and policy measures by governments facilitate the implementation of this target by encouraging and enabling businesses and financial institutions to take these actions consistently and fairly. This target requires the cooperation and engagement of all stakeholders to achieve its objectives, and several resources and initiatives exist to assist with its implementation.