TNFD publish v0.4 Beta framework (pre-final) on nature-related financial disclosure
The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) published the fourth version (pre-final) of its framework  to help companies outline and disclose nature-related risks and impacts in alignment with corporate reporting. Importantly, the framework includes 14 core global metrics, which all businesses are “strongly” encouraged by the TNFD to disclose on, where relevant, on a ‘comply or explain’ basis:
Core global metrics: impacts and dependencies
- Climate change: Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (refer to TCFD)
- Land/freshwater/ocean use change: (1) Extent of land/freshwater/ocean use change, by type of ecosystem and business activity. (2) Extent of land/freshwater/ocean use change, by type of ecosystem and business activity, for prioritised ecosystems
- Pollution removal: (1) Total pollutants released to soil split by type. (2) Volume of water discharged and concentrations of key pollutants in the wastewater discharged by type. (3) Total amount of hazardous waste generated by type. (4) Total non- GHG air pollutants by type.
- Resource use/ replenishment: (1) Total water withdrawal and consumption from areas of water stress. (2) Quantity of high-risk natural commodities sourced from land/ocean/freshwater split into types. (3) Quantity and share of natural commodities sourced from priority ecosystems split into types.
Core global metrics: Risks and opportunities
- Nature-related risks: (1) Proportion and total annual revenue exposed to a) physical risks and b) transition risks. (2) Proportion and value of assets exposed to nature related a) physical risks and b) transition risks. (3) Proportion and value of assets/total annual revenue exposed to risks by risk rating. (4) Proportion and total annual revenue/value of assets with substantial dependence on ecosystem services or with a high impact on nature. (5) Value of capital allocated to nature-related opportunities, by type of opportunity, with reference to a jurisdictional green taxonomy.
Further to these core metrics, the final framework will include additional disclosure metrics for certain sectors and subsectors. The framework is set to be published in September 2023 based on feedback gathered and pilot testing, following a 60-day consultation process between 30 March to 1 June 2023.
PBAF prioritises helping financial institutions with assessments of biodiversity materiality
The Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financial (PBAF), an industry-led partnership supporting the financial industry in assessing and disclosing their impact and dependency on biodiversity, will focus on helping financial institutions overcome their struggles to assess biodiversity materiality. Following COP15 and an increased focus on biodiversity, there is growing willingness to report on biodiversity amongst financial institutions. However, many struggle with assessing and understanding biodiversity risks including acquiring data, remedying instances if there is insufficient data; handling third party providers; and supply chain challenges.
PBAF’s aim is to translate the results of the TNFD, Science Based Targets Network and the European Commission-funded Align project (aligning accounting approaches for nature) into practical steps that financial institutions can take . In addition, PBAF also plans to launch the third version of its impact standard this year which aims to define the conditions that need to be met by the data behind biodiversity impact and dependencies. PBAF will also launch an additional working group focused on ecosystem services and look to cooperate more closely with TNFD.
“High Seas Treaty”: UN member countries reach historic agreement on protecting marine biodiversity in international waters
The United Nations member countries have reached an historic agreement  to safeguard the oceans beyond national borders, following over a decade of discussions. This landmark agreement, known as the UN High Seas Treaty, is expected to combat the depletion of biodiversity and promote sustainable development, according to environmental organisations . However, there is a considerable amount of work to be done before the treaty can be fully implemented.
The primary strategy to achieve the global target of safeguarding 30% of the world's oceans by 2030, as agreed at the 2022 UN biodiversity conference (COP 15), is to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) in international waters. While these designated areas will allow certain activities, such as fishing and shipping, they must align with the conservation objectives and avoid harm to marine life. Restricting fishing activities, shipping lanes, and deep-sea mining exploration may be necessary.
In addition, the treaty includes two significant provisions: Provisions for the distribution of marine genetic resources, and Stipulations for conducting environmental impact assessments (EIA) for deep-sea undertakings, such as mining. Marine genetic resources refer to the biological components of oceanic plants and animals that can offer societal advantages, including medicinal and nutritional benefits.
Countries have committed to dividing any deep-sea discoveries equitably among them. This was particularly critical for less prosperous nations, which argued that they may not have the means to conduct such research autonomously.
Before the treaty can be enforced, countries must reconvene to formally approve the agreement and undertake considerable work. It will take effect once 60 countries have ratified it and passed corresponding legislation in their respective nations. After ratification signatory countries must determine the practical implementation and management of the proposed measures. As this treaty establishes a framework for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, it can be referenced by issuers for use-of-proceeds ‘blue bonds’; the impact from such projects should focus on elements such as marine protected areas or measures to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
IPCC published AR6 Synthesis Report 2023
The fourth and final version of the sixth assessment report  (AR6) has been released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the world's leading climate scientists' body. This report draws together the key findings from the preceding three main sections, providing a comprehensive review of global knowledge of the climate crisis.
The first three sections focused on the physical science of the climate crisis, including observations and projections of global heating, the impacts of the climate crisis, adaptation measures, and ways of reducing GHG emissions. They were published in August 2021, February 2022, and April 2022, respectively. Additionally, the synthesis report also incorporates three other shorter IPCC reports published since 2018, which examined the impacts of global heating of over 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, climate change and land, and climate change and the oceans and cryosphere (the ice caps and glaciers). Its purpose is to condense thousands of pages of scientific research into a concise format, culminating in a "summary for policymakers" serving as a scientific basis for worldwide climate initiatives. Although scientists draft the report, representatives from nearly 200 UN governments debate (and can adjust) the wording of the findings, which some argue may undermine its message.
The report's primary objective is to inform the upcoming UN climate summit, COP28, hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, on 30 November 2023. At this event, nations will yet again assess their progress in reducing GHG emissions since the 2015 Paris climate accord.
ICVCM published its CCPs, which are set to act as global benchmark/standard for high-integrity carbon credits
The Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (Integrity Council or ICVCM), independent international governance body for the voluntary carbon market, has published its Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) which are intended to act as a global benchmark / standard for high-integrity carbon credits. The CCPs set rigorous requirements on disclosure about the quality of carbon credits and their contribution to sustainable development. The publication is seen as a significant milestone towards the scaling of the voluntary carbon markets.
The 10 Core Carbon Principles
1. Effective governance
4. Robust independent third-party validation and verification
7. Robust quantification of emission reductions and removals
8. No double counting
9. Sustainable development benefits and safeguards
10. Contribution towards net zero transition
According to latest estimates, the global temperature is on track for 2.6°C warming by 2100. There is a growing recognition that the world needs every tool available working at full speed to secure a liveable future. A high-integrity voluntary carbon market (VCM) can help unlock urgently needed finance to reduce and remove billions of tonnes of emissions. Historically there have been many well justified controversies about the credibility of this market and carbon offsetting strategies; the ICVCM’s guidance, alongside other related initiatives, is expected to help increase confidence in VCM.