Businesses should be ‘forced’ to report environmental impacts, says former UN chief

Yvo de Boer director-general of the Global Green Growth Institute

Efforts to stem the rapid decline of biodiversity will only be successful if governments force businesses to measure the impact they have on the world’s natural resources, the former United Nations climate chief has said.

Speaking to BusinessGreen as environment ministers meet in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for a high level UN summit on biodiversity today, Yvo de Boer, who led the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change between 2006 and 2010, warned the loss of biodiversity is failing to get the attention it deserves.

“For a long time biodiversity has been so far outside how we think about economics that it makes the issue very difficult to address from a business perspective,” he said.

While he welcomed suggestions this week that countries needed to “double their commitments” to protect biodiversity, he said it still remained unclear “who is doubling what, against what baseline and by when”.

The summit has this year called for a fresh push for countries to meet their 2020 targets to reverse biodiversity loss, warning that four years since those goals were set, nations are way off track to meet them. Ministers this week are likely to sign up to the “Pyeongchang Roadmap” that will help provide a clearer pathway to meeting the international goals.

But de Boer, who is now director-general of the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), said he was unsure if the summit would deliver any major step forward in efforts to boost biodiversity and called for governments, businesses and investors to work together to deliver a new “triangle of success” for addressing biodiversity issues.

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