By Becky Martin, Manager, Environmental Sustainability, TMNA
In December 2022, I attended my first United Nations Biodiversity Conference, COP15, in Montreal, Canada. Representatives from 188 governments were present and on the last day of negotiations, they adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). It includes four goals and 23 targets aimed at halting biodiversity loss, restoring ecosystems and protecting indigenous rights.
The central pillar of the GBF is the commitment to protect 30% of the world’s land, coastal areas and oceans by 2030.
The GBF comes at a critical time when 1 million species are at risk of extinction and the World Economic Forum deemed biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as one of the greatest risks the world will face within 10 years.¹
In comparison to previous UN Biodiversity Conferences, this one had strong attendance from businesses. Over 1,000 companies were in attendance. Many sessions focused on methods companies can use to assess their nature risks and dependencies, such as the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) assessment process and the Task Force for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD).
My Takeaways for TMNA
I lead Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) biodiversity focus group and wanted to attend the conference to learn about global best practices in biodiversity. The good news is that TMNA is headed down the right path. We are working to achieve our current five-year target to support the development of 26,000 acres of pollinator habitat in North America. Our goal is to protect an area of land the same size as our footprint in North America. We are working with partners to support thousands of acres of pollinator habitat in communities across the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and already have habitat and/or species conservation programs certified by Wildlife Habitat Council at most of our manufacturing plants, which comprise our largest land footprint.
TMNA may even be ahead of the game when it comes to the GBF’s Target 15, which requires governments to enable large businesses and financial institutions to assess and monitor their risks and dependencies on biodiversity and disclose them. We are working with a consulting company called Pure Strategies to help us apply the SBTN assessment process. They have conducted a nature assessment of our entire value chain using data from multiple sources and identified hotspots. Based on the assessment, we’ve determined priorities to focus on when setting science-based targets for nature. The next step will be to set targets that we will then measure, disclose and implement.
Examples of priorities we’ve set include:
This is difficult work that can only be accomplished over a multiyear time horizon, but it’s worthwhile to do our part to protect nature.
Overall, COP15 was a very informative experience for me in terms of learning about where biodiversity issues are headed globally. It helped me understand the right direction for TMNA to take to support the GBF. It confirmed that the SBTN process, and TNFD, will help companies assess their risks and dependencies on biodiversity and take action to halt or reverse biodiversity loss.
I was inspired by companies that have started to assess their risks and dependencies on nature in their value chains, such as GlaxoSmithKline (a pharma company) and Holcim (a building materials and aggregates company). The real question is if the GBF will truly be implemented by the stakeholders and biodiversity loss will be halted by 2030. Each of us, especially the business sector, has a part to play in solving the biodiversity crisis. TMNA will strive to be a leader in the automotive sector through its biodiversity targets and programs.
¹ According to the World Economic Forum’s The Global Risks Report 2023