Tag Archive for: SDGs

In the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) E4 standard specifically addresses corporate sustainability relating to biodiversity and ecosystems.

The aim of ESRS E4 is to help businesses understand how they affect nature, positively and negatively, actually and potentially and how to interpret the results of corporate biodiversity action. Lucy Gaffney explains more…

Key questions for your business

  • How does the business contribute to achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)?
  • Can the business evolve its operations so that it no longer contributes to ecological damage?
  • Does the business understand the operational risks posed by deteriorating ecosystems and the potential opportunities that could be associated with the protection and conservation of nature?
  • How is the business managing those risks?

ESRS E4 specifies the information that must be disclosed about biodiversity and ecosystems across all sectors. Specific sectoral disclosure will be defined by ESRS SEC 1 Sector Classification and the CSRD requirements are expected to be in place for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2024 by large publicly traded entities that have more than 500 employees at the same time (i.e. entities already subject to the Non-Financial Reporting Directive) and by 2025 for other large companies. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will also be subject to a reporting obligation starting in 2027.

Disclosure Requirements

  1. ESRS E4 requires that a business disclose its strategic plan to ensure that their business model will become compatible with the transition to achieve no net loss of biodiversity by 2030, net gain from 2030 and full recovery by 2050. This disclosure will need to include plans to address nature loss within the value chain as well as confirmation that the strategy has been approved by the relevant management boards. 
  2. Each business will be required to disclose all policies relating to biodiversity and ecosystems. This is to ensure that businesses actually have policies to protect nature and how these policies are monitored and managed.
  3. Businesses will have to disclose plans and methodology that will support their biodiversity policies.
  4. A disclosure on the social consequences of nature loss will also be required. This includes, for example, information related to fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from the utilisation of genetic resources and traditional knowledge.
  5. Disclosures will have to include information on how business policies are connected and aligned with global goals and agreements, such as the SDGs, the GBF and the European Green Deal.
  6. Targets will form part of the disclosure mandate. Businesses will be required to disclose the biodiversity and ecosystem-related targets that it has adopted, including timelines, milestones, respect to ecological thresholds and planetary boundaries. In addition, these targets must be supported by the business management board and in alignment with and informed by guidelines set out by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
  7. Businesses must be transparent and disclose all biodiversity actions, action plans and allocation of resources that will enable the organisation to meet its policy objectives. 
  8. The standard requires the disclosure of pressure metrics. Does the business understand how its activities put additional pressure on the drivers of biodiversity loss? These include, but are not limited to pollution, invasive species, land use, climate change and exploitation of natural resources.
  9. Businesses must also disclose impact metrics related to geography or raw materials. This may include impacts on species and their extinction risk or impacts on ecosystems, reporting on extent, condition and function.
  10. Businesses will be required to disclose response metrics to understand how the business has tried to minimise, rehabilitate or restore nature in areas where it has had a significant negative impact.
  11. There is an optional disclosure on biodiversity-friendly consumption and production metrics which will provide insights into its consumption and production which may be considered biodiversity-friendly.
  12. The Taxonomy Regulation requires businesses to disclose information on the proportion of turnover, capital expenditure and operating expenditure that qualify as environmentally sustainable.
  13. Another voluntary disclosure is around biodiversity offsets, where the business may disclose actions, development and financing of biodiversity projects. 
  14. A disclosure on potential financial effects of nature-related risks and opportunities will be required.

This is an evolving space and many businesses will need to implement this as a first step. If a business cannot make these disclosures because strategies have not been developed or adopted, they will need to provide timeframes around when an appropriate strategy will be developed and adopted.

One of the chief aims of BFBI is to guide our businesses through upcoming policy changes around nature-related disclosures.

This article was also published in investESG Insight.

COP15 in under way in Montreal, Canada and Ireland has sent a delegation to attend these negotiations that will hopefully deliver a plan to address global biodiversity loss.

The talks are centred around the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) which consists of 21 targets that will not only support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but will serve to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.

We have eight years to halt the destruction of our natural world or it might reach a state where is becomes beyond repair. So why is COP15 and the GBF important for business in Ireland?

Of the 21 GBF targets, the business community should be tuned into two specifically:


Target 15: All businesses (public and private, large, medium and small) assess and report on their dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, from local to global, and progressively reduce negative impacts, by at least half and increase positive impacts, reducing biodiversity-related risks to businesses and moving towards the full sustainability of extraction and production practices, sourcing and supply chains, and use and disposal.

This essentially means that all Irish businesses, from your local hairdresser to global multinationals operating within the state will now have to understand how their actions and activities impact on nature. How do they contribute to pollution? How are they using land? Does the business contribute to or facilitate the introduction of invasive species? What is their contribution to climate change? Does the business drive the over-exploitation of natural resources?

They will also have to appreciate how their business depends on the natural world, and how the degradation of nature may pose risks to their ability to continue operating. Furthermore, Irish businesses will be expected to develop a strategy and action plan to reduce their negative impacts by half and start the healing process by investing in nature restoration.

Target 18: Redirect, repurpose, reform or eliminate incentives harmful for biodiversity, in a just and equitable way, reducing them by at least US$500billion per year, including all of the most harmful subsidies, and ensure that incentives, including public and private economic and regulatory incentives, are either positive or neutral for biodiversity.

In 2019, the Irish Government spent €4.1bn on environmentally damaging subsidies (Lee, 2019). These included subsidising the use of fossil fuels to the tune of €2.5bn, and €1.5bn to support agricultural activities that could cause significant environmental damage.

For example, rather than providing low income households with fossil fuel subsidies, that money would be much better spent retrofitting older properties to become more energy efficient. Most of the environmentally damaging subsidies are disguised as zero or low tax rates which incentivise the use of a potentially damaging commodity like chemical fertilisers.

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