The world is shifting its agenda from pursuing continuous economic growth to realizing a sustainable society. Our well-being should not compromise that of future generations. People must be placed at the core of our indispensable responsible conduct. Amidst the multi-front challenge of SDGs, we are tackling global issues of environment and poverty. Environment issue includes biodiversity loss as a significant challenge with the same degree of urgency as climate change.
One of the major environmental organizations with thousands of specialists, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), reported a 68% average decline in individual populations of birds, amphibians, mammals, fish, and reptiles since 1970. It also warned that human consumption is far beyond the earth’s production capacity, and it would take 1.6 piles of earth to meet current human demands. The World Economic Forum（WEF） calculated that approximately USD44 trillion (more than half of the world’s GDP) is moderately or highly dependent on nature. We are now aware that biodiversity loss and climate change are equally important. It might lead to food and health crises, intensified natural disasters, and ultimately, the collapse of the basis of economic activities.
Our economic activities are highly dependent on nature and sensitively impact nature. We need to embed thoughts of nature/ecosystem conservation and restoration into business management.
Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation (KCNC) is a sister organization of the Japan Business Federation, Keidanren, the most prominent business federation with about 1,500 companies across the sectors. KCNC was established in 1992, the same year of the Rio Earth Summit, to take the “Keidanren Earth Environment Charter” into action. At the same time, we set up the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, which supports nature conservation efforts implemented by NGOs, mainly in developing countries. For about 30 years, we have granted nearly 1,600 projects with approximately 40 million US dollars. We also became the first IUCN member from the business sector in 1996. With these continuous efforts to conserve nature, we have long term relationships with NGOs globally and provided various networking opportunities between member companies and NGOs.
In 2009, we published the “Keidanren Declaration on Biodiversity Conservation”. The declaration indicated the principles for businesses to take proactive actions toward biodiversity. In 2018 we revised the declaration, augmenting its importance by stressing “Responsibility of management” and “Global perspective”. We also emphasized “Integrated environmental corporate management” to focus on the interlinkage of climate change, circular economy and biodiversity. With the declaration and action plans, we would expect companies to focus on biodiversity and “realizing a sustainable society through building a society in harmony with nature”.
“Initiative on the Declaration of Biodiversity by Keidanren” was formed by Keidanren and KCNC members who supported the declaration, with 256 members’ logo marks on the website. It showcased 136 nature positive business activities. Through the Initiative, we encourage broader companies to integrate biodiversity into their business and contribute to post-2020 GBF. The “Business for GBF” is another project in which we worked with the Ministry of Environment, Japan, to showcase the good practices of companies. Throughout the projects, we enhanced communication and dialog for business actions in Japan.
The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is scheduled to be adopted in COP15 part 2 this year, followed by domestic policy discussions that will be launched in earnest. The debate in the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD) is ongoing. It is open for stakeholders, including businesses, to develop the beta version to the final recommendation in 2023.
In light of the domestic and global trends, KCNC will take an active role in business society, help risk awareness of biodiversity spread, develop domestic discussions, and contribute to global rule-making as a voice of business. We are not stopping at merely nature conservation, but we will keep moving toward Nature Positive by 2030, aiming at bringing natural capital to a track to recovery.
Chairman, Keidanren Committee on Nature Conservation