Sustainability Conversations: What the new Global Biodiversity Framework for 2030 means in numbers

Sustainability Conversations: What the new Global Biodiversity Framework for 2030 means in numbers

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) was held from 7-19 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada. In this edition of Access Partnership’s Sustainability Conversations series, we round up the top 10 takeaways from COP15 and the newly agreed post-2020 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – a landmark moment to arrest biodiversity and nature loss by 2030.

Reminder: Why biodiversity matters

We depend on nature and its ecosystem services for everything from food, water and materials to protection from the worst that climate change has to offer. Our past research with the World Economic Forum estimated that over half of global GDP is at risk from biodiversity and nature loss – a figure that rises to 63 percent in Asia Pacific. By any estimate, we are losing nature at an unprecedented rate – experiencing the “sixth mass extinction event” in the Earth’s 4.5 billion-year-history caused directly by humans – with the global rate of species extinction exceeding that of the past 10 million years by tens to hundreds of times. Businesses in three socioeconomic systems precipitate much of the major threats to biodiversity – (1) Food, land and ocean use; (2) Infrastructure and the built environment; and (3) Energy and extractives. The good news is that, by acting on 16 ambitious, systemic, but achievable transitions, they could also unlock a US$10.1 trillion “nature-positive” economy by 2030.

While the climate COP27 in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt gathered much of the headlines in November, countries party to UNCBD COP15 were preparing to agree an ambitious, landmark deal for nature and biodiversity in Montreal, Canada the following month. This would be the culmination of many years of negotiations, working groups and agreements, ably chaired by China and hosted by Canada, resulting in the landmark Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) being adopted on December 19, 2022. Below are the top 10 takeaways in numbers for businesses:

  1. 4 and 23

Four goals and 23 targets for achievement by 2030 – ambitious, but specific and achievable. Signatories are obligated to monitor and report at most every five years on progress against these goals and targets, with global trend and progress reports expected. Governments and businesses must take responsibility for these targets with varying but equally important sub-goals and sub-targets.

  1. Nature-positive

A truly landmark goal to make sure we halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, described in simple and clearly understandable terms much like the “1.5OC pathway” for the climate. In essence, we must add more back to nature than we take from it, and we have 8 years to get our act together to do so. Quite like the climate and global SDGs – what better window to overcome all systemic challenges?

  1. Near-zero (Target 1)

The loss of areas of high biodiversity importance, including ecosystems of high ecological integrity, must be brought to near-zero by 2030. With nearly all of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots falling within large urban areas, including Brussels, Cape Town, Chicago, Jakarta, and Singapore, the onus will very much fall on all of us to achieve this target where we live, not in some remote but beautiful location thousands of kilometres away.

  1. “30 by 30” – restoration (Target 2)

30% of the world’s degraded terrestrial, inland waters, and coastal and marine ecosystems must have restoration completed or underway by 2030. We lag far behind these targets, but promising action on forests and wetlands in recent years offer hope – and the good news is that once protected, we can save millions on converting new land and building new infrastructure to combat increasingly destructive weather patterns.

  1. “30 by 30” – conservation (Target 3)

30% of the world’s lands, inland waters, coastal areas and oceans must be officially under national protection and conservation efforts by 2030. We are halfway there in terrestrial ecosystems – 17% – but are lagging in marine areas – 10%. This indicates strong will, but it needs to be met by decisive action.

  1. 100% (Target 15)

The GBF proved a wake-up call for the private sector – governments will require assessments and disclosure on biodiversity from all large transnational businesses and financial institutions latest by 2030. This is the first time a multilateral agreement has explicitly outlined expectations from business, built with strong business support – more than 330 businesses representing combined revenues of over US$1.5 trillion signed the #MakeItMandatory Campaign pledge prior to COP15.

  1. 50% (Target 16)

30% of food produced is wasted today – whether in the supply chain or at the point of consumption – up to 50% in high-income countries. Meanwhile, millions go hungry while the food system is a direct threat to over 72% of threatened or near-threatened species globally. The GBF mandates that this be halved by 2030 – implying that each of us must service our needs but not bow to our greed.

  1. US$500 billion (Target 18)

The GBF also mandates that US$500 billion of harmful subsidies that harm biodiversity – including for chemical fertilisers and fossil fuels – be phased out by 2030, while incentives that encourage sustainable land and water usage be scaled up. Harming nature is harming ourselves, so why should we continue to make it cheaper, of all things?

  1. US$200 billion (Target 19)

The world must mobilize at least US$200 billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from both public and private sources by 2030 – twice the 2020 baseline but a fraction of the estimated US$2.7 trillion we estimate is needed to unlock a nature-positive economy. All, however, an even smaller fraction of the trillions that were mobilised to mitigate the impact of COVID in just the last three years. Again – if we want to think big, we do.

  1. 196

196 countries are party to the UN CBD, of which 188 governments attended COP15 to agree the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, with two non-Parties also attending (the US and the Vatican). This is an unprecedented level of global consensus, quite like the Paris Agreement signed at the Climate COP21 in 2015.

What is your organisation doing about biodiversity and nature loss?

Access Partnership can help you on your path to a nature-positive future. We have extensive experience in helping corporations, investors, governments, and NGOs identify risks from environmental sustainability issues and capture emerging opportunities. For more information, contact Shivin Kohli.

  1. UNCBD (2022), “COP15: Nations adopt four goals, 23 targets for 2030 in landmark UN biodiversity agreement”,
  2. Business for Nature (2022), “COP15 Global Biodiversity Framework: 196 countries to require all large business and financial institutions to assess and disclose their risks, impacts and dependencies on nature”,
  3. Capitals Coalition (2022), “Make it Mandatory”,
  4. World Economic Forum, Alexander von Humboldt Institute, and AlphaBeta (2022), BiodiverCities by 2030: Transforming cities’ relationship with nature,
  5. Temasek, World Economic Forum, and AlphaBeta (2021), New Nature Economy: Asia’s Next Wave,
  6. World Economic Forum and AlphaBeta (2020), The Future of Nature and Business,

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