Choosing the right tools for the job – getting ready for nature-related disclosures | WWF

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INSIGHT by Nicolas Poolen, Senior Manager Nature Positive Finance, WWF International & Rebekah Church, Global Lead Biodiversity Stewardship, WWF Germany. Photo credit: Rebekah Church – © Kathrin Tschirner/WWF-Germany; Nicolas Poolen – © Leonie Linotte


Congratulations to the 320 pioneers who have committed today to apply the recommendations of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) in their corporate reporting for the 2024 or 2025 reporting cycle. By doing so, TNFD’s inaugural adopters are demonstrating leadership and commitment to a nature-positive future, and gaining a competitive edge in the market.

The TNFD’s final release in September 2023 represents one of the key milestones supporting the delivery of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (Target 15), signed by almost 200 countries to reach the global vision of a world living in harmony with nature by 2050.

 

| Navigating the tools-landscape for TNFD adopters

Though any business or financial institution can adopt the TNFD recommendations, selecting the right set of tools to implement them from an ever-growing landscape of resources can be challenging. The TNFD tool catalogue lists 145 tools that can help measure, value, manage and report on nature-related dependencies and impacts. And more are emerging on a regular basis. MSCI’s “Nature and Biodiversity Metrics” package just launched last month, and a month earlier the Natural History Museum & Bloomberg announced an upcoming tool that will integrate the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII) linked to physical assets.

If assessment and disclosures are to catalyze a shift in financial flows towards nature-positive activities, it’s critically important that companies are able to apply the right tools and resources in the right decision-making contexts. For example, focusing on a corporate water footprint while operating in basins where water use is overallocated, may not effectively reduce basin risks. So far, most corporate nature-positive ambitions have focused on operational impacts. But real progress toward nature-positive outcomes requires transformative action up and down entire value chains and across sectors.

So, TNFD adopters face an important decision that will affect the accuracy, effectiveness and comprehensiveness of their assessment and first TNFD disclosures: from the 145 tools (and other resources), which ones should they start with?

 

 

The TNFD tools catalogue itself provides support by tagging phases and components of LEAP, sector and biome. Other resources also offer support, such the Align Project (Aligning Accounting Approaches for Nature), which provides guidance in selecting biodiversity measurement approaches, based on factors such as spatial precision, accuracy, responsiveness to change and feasibility of applying them at scale.

Among the many useful tools and resources available, we highlight three here that adopters can turn to initially, and which offer a good foundation: the WWF Risk Filter Suite, the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) and WWFs Bankable Nature Solutions program. Deploying these resources and tools can help companies assess and respond to nature-related risks, inform science-based impact targets for nature, and identify opportunities that benefit both people and nature. Their combination covers impacts, dependencies, risks and opportunities, as addressed in TNFD’s recommendations.

 

| WWF Risk Filter Suite: Assessing and responding to nature-related risks

The WWF Risk Filter Suite is a free, web-based, and spatially explicit corporate- and portfolio-level screening and prioritization platform. It contains the Water Risk Filter and Biodiversity Risk Filter, which bring together over 80 global datasets in a single platform to help users understand and address nature-related risks. More than 10,000 users from different sectors, including organizations such as British International Investment, German Development Bank DEG, H&M, and Edeka, have already used it to understand their nature-related risks and inform their business strategy and investment decisions. WWF’s newly released Technical Guidance shows how The Risk Filter Suite can support organizations in their TNFD LEAP (Locate, Evaluate, Assess and Prepare) assessment.

 

| SBTN: Setting science-based targets for nature

The SBTN is a collaboration of leading global non-profits and mission-driven organizations working to equip companies and cities with the guidance to set science-based targets for nature. The SBTN’s first release is being piloted by 17 corporates, while separate financial institution guidance is forthcoming. To support its science-based methodology, the initiative has also developed and made available various tools to inform the steps in its process, such as the SBTN Materiality Screening Tool (offering insights in sectoral materiality of nature-related issues, including for operations and upstream activities) and the SBTN High Impact Commodity List. SBTN and TNFD have released joint guidance, showing how SBTN’s methods and TNFD’s LEAP approach complement and inform each other.

 

| Bankable Nature Solutions: Mobilizing private sector investment into nature

WWF’s Bankable Nature Solutions program offers a way to mobilize private sector investment into projects that not only build more sustainable, climate-resilient ecosystems for people, nature and economies, but that are also financially viable enough to be scaled up and replicated, increasing both environmental and financial gains. For example, the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development’s origination facility, managed by WWF and SNV, offers technical assistance for developing such solutions as stand-alone projects or in existing corporate supply chains. Various technical guidance and case-studies are available to scan and identify Bankable Nature Solutions.

Although opportunities are within the scope of the TNFD’s framework, its recommendations document is slightly more dedicated to addressing risks (mentioned 406 times), compared to opportunities (mentioned 268 times). WWF’s Bankable Nature Solutions program offers additional and tailored support in identifying, deploying, and disclosing such opportunities.

 

| Tooling up to LE, LE, LEAP

Selecting the right set of tools and resources to begin the LEAP approach should ultimately be informed by an organization-specific review, and, as they deepen their understanding of nature-related issues, most business and financial institutions will have to deploy additional tools.

One participant of a recent TNFD workshop referenced to the TNFD’s LEAP process as LE, LE, LEAP, to emphasize the need to engage in the Locate and Evaluate phases iteratively, deploying deeper levels of analysis (and tools) on the most risky areas each time. TNFD’s own guidance confirms this approach, based on feedback from pilot testing. The more effective assessment and disclosure become, the better nature-related impacts and risks can be managed, and the more opportunities can be identified and taken, while enhancing reputation, credibility and contributions towards nature-positive.

Together, the resources and tools highlighted here offer TNFD adopters an initial but comprehensive approach for gathering and constructing robust information needed for nature-related assessment and disclosure that will help shift financial flows towards nature-positive outcomes.

Nature is the backbone of human well-being and the foundation of all economic activity. TNFD adopters are leading by example in showing that the time to act is now. It might not be easy, but it’s necessary, for business, people and nature.

 


Related articles by Nicolas Poolen:

One materiality, and make it a double, please

Tooling up to finance nature


 

| brief bio

Rebekah Church is WWF’s Global Biodiversity Stewardship Lead, driving the development of new approaches and tools to support businesses in understanding and addressing their biodiversity impacts and risks. Rebekah is an environmental lawyer with a background in ecology, and has over a decade of experience in biodiversity strategy and program development working across NGOs, government and the private sector.

Nicolas Poolen is a Green Finance Specialist at WWF. He has a background working on diverse topics ranging from Bankable Nature Solutions to engaging the financial sector on the integration of nature into financial decision making and regulation. Through this experience he has collaborated with and led projects with Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO), the Taskforce on Nature related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), The Global Impact Investing Network, Rabobank and others. Since 2023, Nicolas has been managing the Finance Engagement, for WWFs Global Nature Positive Initiative. Prior to joining WWF, Nicolas was a Research and Engagement Advisor for Follow This, a movement of activist shareholders in the oil and gas industry. Nicolas has a background in business and sustainability.

 


| All opinions expressed are those of the author and/or quoted sources. investESG.eu is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around ESG investing topics.