सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Global Biodiversity Framework should protect indigenous rights from harmful industries

By Hannah Greep* 

“Never before have the business and finance sector been so present at a biodiversity COP.” This is how the Executive Secretary of the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD), Elizabeth Mrema, opened the first ever ‘Finance Day’ at the CBD COP15. The conference, held in Montreal in December last year, was the first time that financial institutions and businesses have shown up in large numbers to discuss how biodiversity impacts their business.
It is perhaps telling for the dramatic state of the world's biodiversity that finally banks are recognising that biodiversity loss is a material issue that they must begin to address. Financial institutions present at the Conference, including Bank of Montreal, HSBC and Bank of America, all stressed the importance of protecting biodiversity alongside efforts to curb the effects of climate change. However, little was said on how financial institutions will address their continued finance for industries that are driving biodiversity loss.
This is especially important in the context of the landmark Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which governments agreed upon during COP15. The Framework calls on governments to ensure that all public and private financial flows align with four goals and 23 targets aimed at halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030. Among these, Target 15 highlights the need for banks and businesses to monitor, assess and disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity throughout the value chain.
So what does it mean for financial institutions to align with the biodiversity framework in order to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030? We suggest that the most important steps are to divest from harmful industries known to be driving biodiversity loss, support regulation that ensures transparency and accountability for financial institutions’ disclosure and reporting on nature-related risks and impacts, and ensure the protection of human and Indigenous rights across all sectors.
Divest from harmful industries The targets of the Framework set out various actions that governments and other stakeholders must take to address biodiversity loss and ensure the restoration of ecosystems. These include, halting human induced species extinction (Target 4); reducing the impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity (Target 6); and reducing pollution risks and the negative impacts of pollution from all sources (Target 7).
For banks to contribute towards ensuring these targets are met, they must address their finance for the harmful industries that are key drivers of biodiversity loss. Three priorities are: 
  • the fossil fuel industry, which exacerbates the climate crisis and causes pollution, often in low-income areas where communities are more vulnerable to both pollution and the wider effects of climate change, as well as harming precious ecosystems such as tropical rainforests, oceans and the Arctic;
  • industrial meat production, which drives pollution and deforestation across some of the most at-risk ecosystems and emits huge quantities of greenhouse gases, like methane; and
  • the wood biomass industry, which is driving deforestation, replacing primary forests with monoculture plantations using invasive alien species such as eucalyptus which deplete freshwater resources, harm biodiversity and are prone to fires. While banks should be working to halt and reverse the devastating impacts of these industries, the reality is the exact opposite. According to our research, since 2016, financial institutions have pumped USD 267 billion into forest-risk commodity companies and as of September 2022, investors held USD 40 billion in bonds and shares in 300 companies whose operations may impact natural tropical forests and the communities that rely upon them. In addition, between 2016 and 2021, the world’s largest 60 banks financed the fossil fuel industry to the tune of USD 4.6 trillion, with USD 185.5 billion in 2021 alone going to the 100 companies doing the most to expand the fossil fuel sector.
It is clear that, in order to align with the goals and targets of the Framework, financial institutions cannot continue to finance the expansion of the very industries that are destroying our planet and must use their leverage to ensure their clients are supporting a truly just transition. Continuing to finance these sectors unchecked is not only a risk to the world’s remaining biodiversity, but it is also a risk to financial institutions themselves, since their business depends on well-functioning societies embedded in stable ecosystems.

Support regulation to ensure transparency and accountability

Target 15 of the Framework sets out that governments must ensure that businesses and financial institutions “regularly monitor, assess and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity”. During the conference, financial institutions such as Bank of America stressed the importance of such a target as it will help banks identify and understand the risks that biodiversity loss might pose to its business.
However, the Framework does not just focus on the financial risks biodiversity loss poses to banks and businesses, but also includes the need for reporting the opposite, namely to cover how the financed activities of banks impact on biodiversity. This is called “double materiality” – when the risks a company’s activities pose to the environment and society are assessed alongside those that the company potentially faces internally – and will be important in ensuring that monitoring and disclosure of risks is meaningful and effective.
Discussions on Target 15 and nature-related disclosures at the conference mostly centred around the Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), a risk management and disclosure framework being developed by a group of 40 corporations and financial institutions. While its proponents were touting it as the answer to the complicated questions of how biodiversity loss will impact banks, BankTrack, Rainforest Action Network and other CSOs have all raised concerns that it will pose a serious risk of greenwashing. The TNFD is yet to properly address CSOs concerns that it does not require double materiality reporting, fails to ensure the proper protection of human and Indigenous rights, and does not include a requirement for businesses to report on complaints filed about their harms to nature or affected communities.
In achieving Target 15, governments must not rely solely on voluntary corporate initiatives based on self-reporting, and frameworks like the TNFD should certainly not be adopted into regulation – as articulated by TNFD’s co-chair – without scrutiny. Instead governments must develop and strengthen legislation that requires companies to limit their impacts on biodiversity and provides accountability for when they do not meet such commitments. Financial institutions that have begun to eliminate harmful investments from their portfolios should publicly support regulation efforts for mandatory Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence (mHREDD), which can establish a level playing field across the sector.
Protect human and Indigenous rightsThe Global Biodiversity Framework sets out a recognition of the importance of Indigenous territories and the protection of their rights, which is critical since over a third of the planet’s richest biodiversity areas are located on Indigenous lands. The Framework represents a significant step forward towards rights-based, gender-just and socially equitable biodiversity conservation and was welcomed by many Indigenous groups around the world. In order to align with the Framework, financial institutions must step up their efforts to respect and protect the rights of Indigenous and traditional communities.
Indigenous Peoples’ rights have been continually violated by the very extractivist, colonial and industrial-scale industries that are driving biodiversity loss. Protecting biodiversity cannot be separated from protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and financial institutions need to recognise this in their own policies and commitments. It is important for banks to establish and/or strengthen their policies to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including requiring Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), not only as a matter of rights, but also as a crucial condition for achieving positive biodiversity outcomes.

Take credible actions on climate and biodiversity

The shadow of the Paris Climate agreement could be felt in every corner of COP15, with references being made to the need for an ambitious, easy to communicate “1.5 degree-like goal for nature” across the board. Representatives from the finance sector also made reference to the movement on climate that they claim to have made since Paris, relating this to the level of ambition needed to address biodiversity loss. For example, during his presentation on Finance Day, Mark Carney spoke about financial institutions following a “high ambition pathway to net zero” and stated that there is “no path to net-zero that doesn’t address deforestation”.
However, aside from a small number of banks that have taken credible steps to stop finance for new oil and gas projects, the focus of most banks’ efforts on halting climate change has been on distant 2050 net-zero goals that only obscure their continued fossil fuel finance, and there is a worrying lack of banks adopting policies that specifically exclude clients that are linked to deforestation.
Rather than looking to the “successes” of banks on climate, perhaps we should instead be learning from the mistakes that continue to be made. The urgent need to stop financing the expansion of the fossil fuel industry is clear, but there are a number of other high-risk sectors that also cannot continue to expand exponentially at the cost of our biodiversity and nature.
Aligning with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework means that banks need to recognise that high-impact industries like fossil fuels, industrial meat production and wood biomass cannot continue to form part of their finance portfolios. Banks must take clear policy steps to immediately exclude finance for the further expansion of these industries, part ways with the most notorious companies known to be destroying nature and demand from their other existing clients that they develop comprehensive transition plans that will see their business aligned with the goals and targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework. They must also ensure that the protection of human and Indigenous rights is upheld across all sectors. Governments in turn need to take concrete action to regulate the sector, ensuring that financial institutions are properly assessing, mitigating and disclosing their impacts of nature, as well as introducing real accountability where banks fail to meet their responsibilities.
COP16 will be held in Turkey in 2024, giving banks two years to make a concrete start on aligning their activities with the Framework and ensuring they are living up to their responsibilities on biodiversity protection and restoration.
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*Banks & Nature Campaign Lead at BankTrack. Originally published in BankTrack website

टिप्पणियाँ

ट्रेंडिंग

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

Under Modi, democracy is regressing and economy is also growing slowly

By Avyaan Sharma*   India is "the largest democracy in the world", but now its democracy is regressing and its economy is also growing slowly. What has PM Modi's ten years in power brought us? Unemployment remains high. Joblessness is particularly high among India's youth - with those aged 15 to 29 making up a staggering 83% of all unemployed people in India, according to the "India Employment Report 2024", published last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD). The BJP-led government did not provide jobs to two crore youth in a year as was promised by Modi in the run up to the 2014 general elections.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

रैंकिंग: अधिकांश भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिरा, इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी

- प्रमोद रंजन*  अप्रैल, 2024 में भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उच्च रैंकिंग की चर्चा रही। मीडिया ने इसका उत्सव मनाया। लेकिन स्थिति इसके विपरीत है। वैश्विक विश्वविद्यालय रैंकिग में अच्छा स्थान मिलने की खबरें, कुछ संस्थानों को इक्का-दुक्का विषयों में मिले रैंक के आधार पर चुनिंदा ढंग से प्रकाशित की गईं थीं। वास्तविकता यह है कि हाल के वर्षों में हमारे अधिकांश विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिर गया है। इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी रही है।

नोएडा में मैन्युअल स्कैवेंजर्स की मौत: परिवारों को मुआवजा नहीं, प्राधिकरण ने एफआईआर नहीं की

- अरुण खोटे, संजीव कुमार*  गत एक सप्ताह में, उत्तर प्रदेश में सीवर/सेप्टि क टैंक सफाई कर्मियों की सफाई के दौरान सेप्टिक टैंक में मौत। 2 मई, 2024 को, लखनऊ के वज़ीरगजं क्षेत्र में एक सेवर लाइन की सफाई करते समय शोब्रान यादव, 56, और उनके पत्रु सशुील यादव, 28, घटुन से हुई मौत। एक और घटना 3 मई 2024 को नोएडा, सेक्टर 26 में एक घर में सेप्टि क टैंक को सफाई करते समय दो सफाई कर्मचर्मारी नूनी मडंल, 36 और कोकन मडंल जिसे तपन मडंल के नाम से जानते हैं, की मौत हो गई। ये सफाई कर्मचर्मारी बंगाल के मालदा जिले के निवासी थे और नोएडा सेक्टर 9 में रहते थे। कोकन मडंल अपनी पत्नी अनीता मडंल के साथ रहते थे। इनके तीन स्कूल जाने वाले बच्चे हैं जो बंगाल में रहते हैं। नूनी मडंल अपनी पत्नी लिलिका मडंल और अपने पत्रु सजुान के साथ किराए पर झग्गी में रहते थे। वे दैनिक मजदरूी और सफाई कर्मचर्मारी के रूप में काम करते थे।

दाँव उल्टा पड़ा: राहुल गांधी के रूप में हम एक साधारण इंसान को नायक होते देख रहे हैं

-  अमिता नीरव  संघ औऱ बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी पर जो सोचकर ‘इन्वेस्ट’ किया था, उसके परिणाम गंभीर रूप से नुकसानदेह आ रहे हैं। ये थोड़ी अटपटी बात लग सकती है, लेकिन सोचिएगा कि संघ और बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी को जितना गंभीरता से लिया, उनकी संभावनाओं को लेकर वे जितना श्योर थे, उतना तो खुद राहुल और कांग्रेस भी नहीं थी।

બે પુખ્ત યુવક-યુવતીન જીવનસાથી બનવા નક્કી કરે તો સત્તાધારીઓના પેટમાં કેમ ગોળો ચઢે છે?

- બિપિન શ્રોફ   “લવ જેહાદ”! કેવો લાગ્યો આ  શબ્દ?  શું મારુ કે તમારું નાકનું ટેરવું તો ચઢી ગયું  નથી ને? લખનાર અને વાંચનાર બે માંથી કોઈના મા-બાપની કોઈ ગરાશ તો લૂંટાઈ ગઈ નથી ને ? એ તો જેને વીતે તેને ખબર પડે? પરોપ દેશે પાંડિત્યમ! કેમ? ખરી વાત ને? 

बिहार के ऐतिहासिक विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय के खंडहरों की परिक्रमा का रोमांचक अवसर

- सुमन्त शरण  कुछ दिन पहले एक सुदूर ग्रामीण अंचल (पीरपैंती)  से तकरीबन डेढ़-दो घंटे की दूरी पर अवस्थित ऐतिहासिक बौद्ध विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय (के अवशेषों) की परिक्रमा का अवसर मिला। विक्रमशीला विश्वविद्यालय की स्थापना पाल वंश के राजा धर्मपाल ने की थी। 8वीं शताब्दी से 12वीं शताब्दी के अंत तक यह विश्वविद्यालय भारत के प्रमुख शिक्षा केंद्रों में से एक हुआ करता था। कहा जाता है कि यह अपने कुछेक अत्यंत अनूठे नवाचार के चलते उस समय नालंदा विश्वविद्यालय का सबसे बड़ा प्रतिस्पर्धी था। हालांकि, मान्यता यह भी है कि अल्प अवधि के लिए दोनों विश्वविद्यालय के बीच शिक्षण एवं प्रबंधन के क्षेत्रों में घनिष्ठ पारस्परिक संबंध एवं शिक्षकों के आदान-प्रदान का सिलसिला भी रहा था। यह विश्वविद्यालय तंत्रशास्त्र की पढ़ाई के लिए सबसे ज्यादा विख्यात था। इस विषय का एक सबसे विख्यात छात्र अतीसा दीपनकरा था, जो बाद में तिब्बत जाकर बौद्ध हो गया। इसके प्रथम कुलपति ज्ञान अतिस थे।