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From 2022-23 Top Sustainability Stories in 2022 and implications in the new year

MioTech Research2023-01-05
COP27ISSBRenewablesVCM

2022 - a year of ongoing uncertainties as COVID-19 pandemic rages on, geopolitical tension and global energy crisis from Russian-Ukraine conflict formed the backdrop for the global ESG developments. Some U.S states, instead of advocating ESG, are actively turning away from ESG investing in order to protect shareholder interest, and big finance firms are now rethinking the net zero targets they committed to just a year ago.

On the bright side however, a landmark deal on loss and damage was announced at COP27. Nations also ramped up their efforts to an unprecedent level to keep the Paris Agreement alive. Other encouraging developments included renewable energy capacity growing at the fastest speed ever and greenwashing was finally put under closer scrutiny under new regulations. It was not the best year, but we believe there are reasons to remain optimistic.

Here are the top ten biggest ESG developments in 2022 that will carry great implications in 2023 and beyond:

1. COP27's milestone deal on "loss and damage"
2. ISSB draft disclosure requirements - A global baseline is born
3. Voluntary carbon market: Voluntary but necessary
4. Renewable capacity continues growth in its role in energy transition
5. EU's CBAM puts intenrational price on carbon
6. Inflation Reduction Act: Largest climate act in the US
7. China expects all state-owned listcos to report on ESG in 2023
8. From policy to market: EV had its best year
9. Party is over: ESG financial alliances face rising challenges
10. COP15 puts biodiversity on top agenda

Headline 1

COP27 wraps up its work in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt; Source: Kiara Worth, accessed on the official website of the UN

*COP27 wraps up its work in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt; Source: Kiara Worth, accessed on the official website of the UN

After a watershed Glascow COP26 in 2021 that kept Paris Agreement alive with the Glawcow Climate Pact aimed at phasing out coal and the creation of ISSB, the first international sustainability standard. 2022's COP27 brought us aonther heavy hitter with the establishment of another significant achievement, a "loss and damage" fund to compensate the developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis.

COP27 is the first UN climate convention in its history to include the issue of "loss and damage", or the irreversible impacts caused by global warming and extreme weather events on nature and humankind beyond their ability to adapt, as its subagenda. Developing countries have long appealed for the establishment of such facility that directs funds from rich countries to developing countries to deal with the loss and damage arising from climate change.

"This COP has taken an important step towards justice", said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. He added that "clearly this is not enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild the broken trust".

Although it has not been decided how the new facility will operate and the sources of funding, the US is expected to be leading the funding in this newly created mechanism. This is also likely to face the opposition from the GOP that has obtained the majority in the US Congress.

The UN had said in its press release on Nov 20 that the timeline from country representatives is to establish a financial support structure for the most vulnerable countries by the next COP in 2023. On top of the new facility, country representatives have reached agreement on a post-2025 financial goal and a work programme for climate change mitigation.

The part on

* The part on "Loss and damage" in the COP27 deal

Some delegates have expressed their wish to see the funding be provided for the most vulnerable countries, not the higher-income developing countries like China. Instead, the wealthy countries would like China and Gulf countries to be on the side that pays the money, while delegates from China and Saudi Arabia, among other developing countries said they have no obligations to be contributors in the facility.

Emphasis is placed on financing in another part of the deal on climate science, saying that accelerated financial support for developing countries from developed countries and other sources is a critical enabler to enhance mitigation action and address inequities in access to finance.

The deal also stresses the importance to avoid setback for the climate-related pledges under the backdrop of the current energy crisis that challenges the world. The global energy crisis "underlines the urgency to rapidly transform energy systems", the deal says.

Despite staying firm on the need to decarbonise the global economy across all sectors, the deal has highlighted "just transition" for developing countries. The global transition to low emissions provides "opportunities and challenges" for sustainable economic development and poverty elimination, the deal says.

The deal does not include any new commitments on emission reductions and phase-out of fossil fuels, which appear as a major disappointment to countries like the UK, New Zealand and EU members that sought an upgrade to the climate plan.

Concerns were raised regarding the "low-emission and renewable" energy mentioned in the deal, as it may include many things ranging from wind or solar power to gas and nuclear. As natural gas is in some cases not considered renewable and clean, it may be open up way to justify the development of fossil fuels.

However, on the other hand, some argue that there is a lack of gas investments rather than a fear for more gateway non-renewable energy. In a recent addition to a series of reports "Carbonomics," Goldman Sachs said the under-investment in gas infrastructure in Europe has left several nations with no choice but resume coal-fired power generators. Restricting gas investments is leading to an increase in energy costs without meaningful reduction in net carbon emissions. It is vowing for more investments in gas projects. (Read more: Green Capital Weekly Nov 22)

Headline 02

The International Sustainability Standards Board, or ISSB proposed its own inaugural sustainability disclosure standards on combat greenwashing on March 31, 2022.

ISSB was created from COP26 in 2021, established as a sister body to the International Accounting Standards Board (the IASB Board) by the London-based IFRS Foundation. It carries the goal to drive globally consistent, comparable and reliable sustainability reporting.

The two proposed sets of standards focus on the reporting of sustainability-related financial information under IFRS S1 and climate-related risk and opportunities under IFRS S2.

  • The IFRS S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information (general requirements) requires companies to report on their significant sustainability-related risks and opportunities.
  • The IFRS S2 Climate-related Disclosures (climate requirements) focuses on climate risk and opportunities. It incorporates the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and includes metrics tailored to industry classifications derived from the industry-based SASB Standards.

The general requirements include the disclosure of information about significant sustainability-related risks and opportunities, consistent with the recommendations of the TCFD, but extending to sustainability related risks and opportunities beyond those related to climate.

General framework

Source: IFRS, MioTech Research

The climate requirements uses the same approach as the general requirements, centring on governance, strategy and risk management of its business, and the metrics and targets used to measure, monitor and manage its significant climate-related risks and opportunities.

The key point - scope 3

The most significant feature of ISSB's requirements compared to other standards would be mandatory scope 3 emissions disclosure, while other standard setters like the TCFD only require the reporting of scope 1 and 2 emissions. Scope 3 emissions refer to the emissions caused from a company’s value chain, which will cost more efforts and resources to calculate than scope 1 and 2 emissions. Requiring the disclosure of scope 3 emissions was deemed high-expectation when the ISSB first proposed its framework.

In October, the ISSB published an open announcement confirming the Scope 3 GHG emissions disclosure requirement. Though the organisation will develop relief provisions to help companies work towards meeting such robust requirements to disclose the emissions caused from their value chain.

In December, the ISSB has further loosen the grip by offering a temporary exemption for a minimum of one year for scope 3 emissions disclosure following the effective date of its standards.

The ISSB expected to refine the proposed standards based on public feedback in the second half of this year and issue the final standards by the end of this year. But that plan seems now be subject to a delay. The latest announcement said the body aims to finish rectifying the standards by the end of this year and issue the final standards as early as possible in 2023.

Other outcomes of the decisive meetings include to modify the language of the documents to avoid ambiguity, including to remove the term "enterprise value" from the objective and the assessment of materiality and to remove the term "significant" to describe which sustainability risks and opportunities to disclose.

10月 18日ISSB在加拿大举行本月首次会议

*The webcast of the ISSB’s first meeting on Oct 18 in Montreal, Canada

Sound Leadership

Back in March, the body has only two members in the management team, Emmanuel Faber, the former CEO and chairman of Danone, as its Chair and Sue Lloyd, the current chair of IASB, as Vice-Chair.

The body has then onboarded professions across Europe, North America, China, etc., to expand the team to 14 members.
In April, the ISSB has set up a working group of jurisdictional representatives to enhance the comparability between ISSB’s standards and regional initiatives. Members of this working group include China's Ministry of Finance, the US SEC, the European Commission, the UK FCA, and Japan's Financial Services Agency.

Role of China

On December 29, the IFRS Foundation has reached an agreement with China's Ministry of Finance to establish an ISSB office in Beijing. The Beijing office will act as its hub in Asia, extending its global reach in addition to its dual headquarters in Montreal, Canada and Frankfurt, Germany, and offices in San Francisco, US and London, UK.

Jingdong Hua (left), Bing Leng (right)

*Jingdong Hua (left), Bing Leng (right)

(Read more: ISSB's draft for first global sustainability disclosure standard - What's in store?)

Headline 03

John Kerry, the US Special Envoy for Climate has announced what is called "Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA)" to help developing countries wean off fossil fuels, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, along with Rockefeller Foundation and the Bezos Earth Fund.

The plan enables companies to purchase carbon credits and fund the developing countries' transition away from fossil fuels. Unlike the usual carbon credits marketplaces, the credits to be traded on the proposed platform would be built on a nation or state's plan to shift its power grid to renewables, instead of individual projects. According to POLITICO, a developing country's government can only sell on the market carbon credits associated with extra carbon reductions in the country beyond its baseline emissions trajectory, as verified by an independent institution. This could possibly prevent the new plan from going where clean development mechanism under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol had been, in which a project would remove some carbon emissions while generating additional carbon emissions elsewhere in the same country.
Companies participating in this initiative must have net-zero goals and science-based interim targets, and the purchased carbon credits should only be supplement to, not substitute for the emissions reductions they are responsible for, according to Axios. In addition, the plan will not be open to fossil fuel companies.
Kerry said at the COP27 that the initiative is expected to be "up and running" within a year, CNN reported.

The plan has invited criticism after its announcement. Climate activists have interpreted it as the attempt of the United States, among other richer countries, to escape from its obligations to provide funding for the poor countries to cope with the threats of climate change, which are most impacted by natural disasters. The proposed plan is a way the United States can leverage the private sector to finance the energy transition of developing countries without the need to win the approval by the Congress, which is likely to be dominated by the GOP that often downplays the impacts of climate change after the mid-term election. In a September event, Kerry indicated that getting trillions of dollars in climate aid passed in a GOP-led congress is not practical.

In an interview with CNN, Kerry again emphasised the world cannot avoid the worst effects of climate crisis with money from the private sector, because governments are not willing to pay what is needed.

Following that, the European Commission has released a proposal outlining the EU-wide voluntary framework for certifying carbon removals. This proposal aims to support the EU's carbon removal technologies, and contribute to the bloc's net zero goals.

This proposal was criticised by environmental groups as they fear this framework will become yet another greenwashing mechanism, allowing polluters to create an "environment-friendly" facade, while not putting forward any concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Green groups also questioned the feasibility of the large-scale carbon storage technologies, which are not yet proven to work.

The EU has included several criteria to ensure the quality of the certified carbon removals. The four key criteria are abbreviated as QU.A.L.ITY, which stands for "Quantification", "Additionality", "Long-term storage" and "Sustainability". These criteria safeguard the accuracy and legitimacy of carbon removals, the EU said.

Core Climate: Hong Kong's international carbon marketplace

The carbon marketplace has also caught on in Asia Pacific.

In Oct, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, or HKEX announced that it would launch its international carbon marketplace, something it has mulled for years. Named "Core Climate", the new marketplace will enable participants to source, hold, trade, settle and retire voluntary carbon credits on its platform.

The carbon credits on the platform will be recognised globally as they will be verified against international standards like the Verified Carbon Standard by Verra. According to Caixin, the marketplace will initially accept only institutions to participate, and only Hong Kong dollar and Renminbi as trading currencies.

The launch of the marketplace follows the Exchange established the Hong Kong International Carbon Market Council this July, joined by leaders in the finance sector and corporate sector like Bank of China, BNP Paribas, China Forestry Group Corporation, and Tencent Holdings.

Core Climate

*Core Climate

In the meantime, there seems to be more certainty of the resuming China's voluntary carbon market, or CCER market, which hit a pause button in 2017 following five years of operation since 2012, due to lack of standardisation and poor quality of the traded projects. Five years on, a spokesperson from China's MEE told reporters in a recent press conference that the MEE has made the resuming of the CCER market a key task on its agenda.

Demands for voluntary carbon credits

Source: NGFS, TSVCM, McKinsey

A previous estimation made by McKinsey in collaboration with the NGFS and Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) shows that global demand for voluntary carbon credits could soar by around 15 times to by 2030, from USD 1bn in 2021, and by up to 100 times by 2050. (Read more: Green Capital Weekly Nov 1)

Headline 04

Chart: Cumulative PV and wind power installations in Jan-Nov 2022, compared to 2021

Cumulative PV and wind power installations in Jan-Nov 2022, compared to 2021

Source: China Electricity Council, MioTech Research

In 2022, the build-out of photovoltaics (PV) capacity in China has grown by leaps and bounds. As of November, the cumulative PV installation in 2022 has reached 65.71GW, up 88.6% compared to the same period last year. Distributed PV installation on commercial, residential, and public rooftops has become the main driver of growth, which contributed over two-thirds of total new installations, outgrowing the utility scale PV.

Meanwhile, as of November, the cumulative new installations of wind power reached 22.52GW in 2022, falling only slightly short of the record last year. The main adverse factors included the reportedly instability in the supply chain and pandemic-related delays.

Supply chain and raw materials constraints remain critical this year. The vast majority of capacity for polysilicon, a key raw material for photovoltaics, is located in China. Following a sharp increase in 2021, silicon prices remained relatively high in 2022, plateauing at around RMB 300/kg (~USD 43/kg) since the third quarter and declined in the last month and will likely fall back to RMB 200/kg (~29 USD/kg) by the end of the year. Looking forward, we still see the continued rapid growth in polysilicon production capacity. The likely price drop would translate into lower project costs and serve as a stimulant for PV developers in 2023.

Chart: Polysilicon Price, China domestic, in RMB/kg (2021-2022)

Polysilicon Price, China domestic, in RMB/kg (2021-2022)

Source: iFind, MioTech Research

Other Key Issues in Renewable Energy:

We also noted the other key issues in 2022. Under the backdrop of supply chain challenges from the Russia-Ukraine war, both instability of the energy supply (and its upstream activities) as well as the resulting soaring gas prices both accelerated the growth of renewable energy significantly.

China's Green Leap - Energy Transition

In other reports in 2022, we explored in detail this growth of renewable eneryg along with electrification of energy supply as drivers of China's zero-carbon path in our flagship research report with Singapore's sovereign fund GIC - "Green Leap: How the Energy Transition is Tranforming China's Economy".

In addition, we took a closer look and analyzed the bp Statistical Review of World Energy 2022 and International Energy Agency's Renewable 2022 Report. We also explored renewable energy technologies that have not received much attention while holding promising potential, such as the geothermal energy.

In the coming year, we will continue to watch closely the world's and China's energy transition progress, from the phasing out of fossil fuels, to the application potentials of renewable technologies, or new trends in the energy consumption sectors.

Headline 05

In 2022, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (or CBAM) made significant breakthroughs in the EU legislative process. On December 13, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the latest draft CBAM document. Awaiting the confirmation and formal adoption by both ambassadors of the EU Council member states and the European Parliament, the final text of CBAM can then enter into force.

The effective CBAM will have important implications for trade between China and the EU, as well as for China's climate policy. Using the current situation as a baseline, China's aluminium exports could face a carbon border tax of up to USD 1.16bn, with a unit tax burden of USD 1,230 per ton of aluminium products, equivalent to a 27.2% carbon border tax rate, according to our study. The introduction of CBAM will likely have a significant impact on the aluminium industry chain in China and Europe, and the EU's downstream players will need to negotiate the solution together with Chinese upstream suppliers and regulators. In addition, China's plastics, steel, and organic chemicals industries will also be affected to some extent.

Chart: The CBAM's estimated influence on aluminium, steel, plastic, and cement

The CBAM’s estimated influence on aluminium, steel, plastic, and cement

Source: MioTech Research

Since the CBAM essentially charges the carbon pricing difference included in the production of homogenized products, reducing exposure to the CBAM in the long term therefore requires a fundamental low-carbon transition and a reduction in carbon emissions from domestically produced goods in China. While the EU is actively pushing for CBAM legislation to come into effect, we believe that China's related carbon policies will also be aligned with the country's interests and ambitions in global climate politics. (Read more: The Implications of CBAM, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism)

Headline 06

The US President Joe Biden signed and passed the "Inflation Reduction Act" in August 2022 that includes a series of measures to limit global warming that could bring a combined USD 369bn of funding for climate and clean energy programmes.

Rebranded from the "Build Back Better Act" that the Biden administration initially proposed that was worth USD 3.5tr, the new act covers climate, healthcare, and education, among other aspects. To get the bill passed, Biden has progressively reduced the act to USD 430bn and rebranded it as the "Inflation Reduction Act". All Democrats voted in favour, while all Republicans voted against it. Arguments against the bill included its contribution to inflation that came from Democratic Senator Joe Manuchin.

Biden signing Inflation Reduction Act

*Biden signing the "Inflation Reduction Act". Joe Manchin is the first person from the left; Source: Susan Walsh/AP Photo

After the adoption of the law in the US, the European Union also wanted to pursue a similar measure. As EU clean energy firms that eye the subsidies will need to move its production capacity to the US to be eligible, the US's new package may damage the competence of the European clean energy sector without a strong response from the EU.

Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission said the EU must simplify and adapt its rules on subsidising the clean energy sector to facilitate the public investments needed for the sector's development in the EU.

"The new assertive industrial policy of our competitors requires a structural answer," von der Leyen said.

In May, the European Commission introduced its REPowerEU Plan, outlining its strategy to rapidly reduce its reliance on Russian fossil fuels. The strategy includes plans to significantly accelerate the deployment of renewable and clean energy capacity, diversify energy supplies, and ramp energy efficiency initiatives, and proposes additional investments of EUR 210bn over the next five years.

The Commission's investment proposals through 2030 under the new plan include EUR 86bn for renewables, EUR 27bn for key hydrogen infrastructure, EUR 37bn to increase biomethane production, EUR 56bn for energy efficiency and heat pumps, and EUR 41bn to adapt industries to use less fossil fuels. (Read more: Green Capital Weekly Jul 18)

Headline 07

Chart: Those less controlled by Chinese central firms are less like to report ESG information

 Those less controlled by Chinese central firms are less like to report ESG information

*63% of listcos with more than 50% of shares owned by central firms reported ESG information; Source: MioTech Research

SASAC, China's supervision body of state-owned companies in May published a new work plan to improve the operations of listed state-owned companies. In the work plan, the SASAC encourages listed state-owned companies to be the ESG role models in the capital market. Specifically, the SASAC aims for all listed companies controlled by Chinese central firms to publish ESG reports by 2023.
Currently, 98 central firms have stake in more than 500 listed companies. Data from MioTech shows that of all these listed companies, 49% disclosed ESG information in 2021. Of those where central firms have more than 50% stake cumulatively, 63% reported ESG information. (Read more: Green Capital Weekly May 30)

Headline 08

Consumers continued to turn to electric vehicles for their low-carbon attributes and smart driving experience in 2022. China's electric vehicle market once again enjoys its best year yet as manufacturers expanded production capacities and rolled out new models. . As of November 2022, domestic EV sales have reached 6.06 million units, more than double the 2.98 million units in the same period last year. Combined with single-digit YoY growth in total vehicle sales, it is clear that EVs are increasingly replacing conventional vehicles - the penetration rate of EVs has reached 33.76% in November 2022, or one in three consumers is choosing EV over conventioanl fossil-fuelled vehicle.

Monthly sales and penetration rates of EVs in China

Monthly sales and penetration rates of EVs in China

Source: China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, MioTech Research

Accompanying the high growth rate of EV sales is the accelerated construction of charging stations and ancillary infrastructures. As of November, 580,000 new charging stations have been put into operation in 2022. It is expected that the number by the year-end will exceed the number put into operation in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Chart: Cumulative numbers of installed charging stations in China

Cumulative numbers of installed charging stations in China

Source: EVCIPA, MioTech Research

Chart: Spot price of battery-grade lithium carbonate (2021-2022)

Spot price of battery-grade lithium carbonate (2021-2022)

Source: iFind, MioTech Research

The prices of lithium and lithium salts, key raw materials for EV and energy storage batteries, continued to show increases in early 2022 in response to rising demand. Due to slow and lagged expansion of the mining projects, lithium prices have remained strong, peaking at RMB 570,000/ton (~USD 83,000/ton) at the beginning of Q4 and currently falling back to RMB 500,000/ton (~USD 73,000/ton). This price is still more than 65% higher than the RMB 300,000/tonne at the beginning of 2022.

What to expect in 2023:
Looking ahead to 2023, we expect the supply of lithium extracts to remain tight, leading to a relatively high price still.

2023 is also the end of goverment subsidies for EVs in China. On a positive note however, tax exemptions and free license plates still attract mroe attention for EV buyers. The great consumer demand is going to push EV manufacturers to further expand their production facilities, resulting in more fierce compeititon in 2023.

All would support the long-term transition to electrify the transportation sector. The question remains now is how much electric vehicle sales would grow in the short-term with gloomy confidence in the global and Chinese economies. (Read more: Are EVs Green and ESG?)

Headline 09

JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, among other Wall Street banks were considering to leave the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), the world's largest climate finance coalition as a result of the rising compliance costs with more stringent targets of decarbonisation and coal phase-down being proposed.

Members of the alliance are required to meet the climate targets set by the Race to Zero, including a recent ban on support for new coal projects, which members will need to comply starting June 2023. Financial institutions may see their GFANZ membership being revoked if they fail to meet such targets. As of Oct 21, GFANZ had over 550 financial institution members in 50 jurisdictions that oversee more than USD 150tr of assets in total.

The Financial Times cited a senior executive at a US bank who said it is "immoral and irresponsible" that a third-party body is creating legal liabilities for the banks and their shareholders. A bank might be subject to mistakes and misinformation is meeting these targets and could be sued, which the executive considers as "an unacceptable risk".

In response to US banks threatening to leave the GFANZ, the group made accommodation in its membership rules to displace the UN's Race to Zero as its standard-setter, the Financial Times reported. It explained this move as an evolution of its approach towards a "more technically oriented phase of work". Some have interpreted this change as a sign that the world's largest coalition of climate finance is giving in to the banks.

GFANZ成员分布情况

*Geographical breakdown of GFNAZ members; Source: GFANZ

The accomodation did not appease still did not appease the members however. Vanguard, one of the world's largest investment firms overseeing more than USD 8tr of assets, announced that it would withdraw from the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative on Dec 7. As the NZAM is one of the sector-specific alliances under the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), this move always signified that Vanguard has left the GFANZ.

The firm said: "Such industry initiatives can advance constructive dialogue, but sometimes they can also result in confusion about the views of individual investment firms."

As 80% of its assets are invested in market indexes, the investor was concerned about how to adopt net zero approaches to the broadly diversified index funds.

We expect such tug of war between climate finance coalitions and banks to continue in 2023 before a long-term equilibrium in agreement is met. (Read more: Green Capital Weekly Dec 13)

Headline 10

Biodiversity, an area that had oftn been overlooked in previous COPs, was highlighted in an unprecedented level in 2022. The UN's biodiversity conference concluded on Dec 19 with a landmark deal.

The "Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework" will be foundation of biodiversity governance worldwide for the years till 2030.

China's COP15 presidency has managed to make the deal a reality despite pushback from the Democratic Republic of Congo, BBC reported.

"We have in our hands a package which I think can guide us as we all work together to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put biodiversity on the path to recovery for the benefit of all people in the world.", said Huang Runqiu, Minister of Ecology and Environment of China.

The deal put forward four long-term goals for 2050 and 23 global targets for 2030. The deal aims to reduce extinction rate and risk of all species by ten times by 2050, while the action targets include to mobilise at least USD 200bn per year by 2030 to implement countries’ national biodiversity strategies, of which at least USD 20bn should be channelled from developed countries to developing countries, before increasing to USD 30bn per year by 2030 for developing countries to cope with biodiversity risks. The new framework expects global governments to assist the developing of various financial instruments to finance biodiversity protection.

COP15会议通过“昆明-蒙特利尔全球生物多样性框架”

* COP15 adopted the "Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework"; Picture Source: The UN's official website

Multinational companies and financial institutions are called to monitor, assess and disclose their biodiversity-related risks and impacts to cover their value chain and portfolios.

Call for attention from top leadership

There is more call for attention to biodiversity from top-level leadership, including Mark Carney, the co-chair of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, and Emmanuel Faber, chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

In a speech delivered during the COP15, Mark Carney, urged financial institutions to integrate biodiversity restoration in their transition plans.

"The world is still not acting with the urgency that the twin crises of nature and climate demand", Carney said. He also encourages parties to the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity to align all financial flows with nature goals.

In addition, supervisors should develop expectations for financial institutions and nature-related risk management, Carney suggested. He also called for support for scaling high-integrity carbon markets from authorities.

On the same day, Emmanuel Faber, said the standard-setter is planning to add requirements of transparency on natural ecosystem and just transition to its climate-related disclosure standard.

Faber said there have been strong feedback the ISSB received on strengthening the links between climate and nature, which will inform the board’s work to make incremental enhancements to its climate disclosure standard.

In the process, Faber said, the ISSB will refer to the work of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures.

In the past, ongoing advocacy to put emphasis on biodiversity paled in comparison from the attention climate and nature drew. We expect biodiversity to come to the front of sustainability agenda in 2023 to the gather the level of attention as Scope 3 emission had in past years. (Read more: Green Capital Weekly Dec 20)