22 December 2022 by Emma Whalley
With COP15 drawing to a close on Monday, we wanted to reflect on the impact that this landmark summit will have for biodiversity protection around the world.
Following a two-year delay as a result of COVID-19, COP15 finally took place in Montreal, with representatives from the 196 nations that have ratified the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Most member states went into COP15 with the desire of trying to find a viable way to achieve ‘30×30’, which aims to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030.
Discussions debated whether the ambition for conservation is financially viable. The role that private sector finance will play in securing biodiversity benefits was a recurring theme of the conference, which was particularly relevant to the work of rePLANET. Isabel Hoffman – Director & Head of Strategic Partnerships at rePLANET – expressed that we “urgently need to accelerate business action to reduce negative impacts and increase positive impacts on nature”. At rePLANET we are working towards narrowing this gap, driving large scale ecological restoration and protection through private sector funding.
Another major feature in nearly every presentation at COP15 was the huge potential that biodiversity credits have to plug the funding gap, but it was clear that there is still a long way to go before a consensus about how to quantify and trade biodiversity benefits is reached by the conservation and finance communities alike. An important part of rePLANET’s visit to COP, was to ensure that our work developing a clear methodology and definition of a biodiversity credit was included in the discussions. Significant progress was made towards a unified approach for a tradeable credit and rePLANET has been instrumental in this. It became apparent that rePLANET is further ahead in the development and implementation of biodiversity credits than any other organisation working in the green finance industry. As a result of this, Dr Tim Coles, OBE – Director & CEO of rePLANET – is now part of the technical advisory group informing Verra’s upcoming nature credit standard.
Whilst solidifying rePLANET’s position as a key player in discussions surrounding biodiversity credits, Tim and Isabel wanted to raise the profile of rePLANET and highlight the unique elements of our projects and crediting methodology. These are the factors that make rePLANET stand out in this ever-growing market. We are very pleased to announce that we made significant progress on this front, with our work featuring in recent articles from Carbon Pulse and Reuters.
The article in Carbon Pulse comments on the complexities behind defining a standardised unit for the measurement of biodiversity-related improvements and discusses the growing emergence of different methodologies in the voluntary biodiversity market. The rePLANET methodology is highlighted as an example of good practice, and our key priority of ensuring that at least 60% of funds raised from the sale of biodiversity credits goes to local communities is commended. The Reuters article focusses on the debate surrounding whether or not biodiversity credits can be designed to assign a monetary value to nature and biodiversity and shows how the rePLANET methodology has catalysed progress towards achieving this objective.
rePLANET is able to take the lead on the design of a fungible biodiversity credit because of the fact they are a sister company of Operation Wallacea which has extensive experience quantifying biodiversity in many of the world’s most fragile and endangered ecosystems. The extensive networking opportunities at COP15 ensured that many connections were made with organisations who are looking to finance large-scale and long-term biodiversity projects, alongside NGOs who are seeking funding for their ambitious conservation projects. The outcomes achieved by our visit to COP15 have highlighted the fact that rePLANET’s unique position at the interface of the financial and green industries have allowed it to make significant progress towards making the theoretical biodiversity credit into a reality.