31 August 2023

TNFD 101: An illustrated guide to the future of nature reporting

Recent findings from the World Economic Forum revealed that approximately US$44 trillion, equivalent to nearly half of the world’s GDP [1], is moderately or highly dependent on nature. Yet, recognising the larger and profound connections that our economy has with nature is a true challenge for any financial institution and corporation.

It is, therefore, crucial for every economic player to gain a comprehensive understanding of how their interactions with nature can be effectively measured and managed. This understanding is vital not only to reduce the impact their activities have on nature and mitigate the potential physical and transitional risks, but also to envision the first steps towards creating positive impacts within their ecosystems.

Today, by leveraging new frameworks, such as the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) [2] organisations of all sizes and jurisdictions can effectively gain vital insights, identify, assess, manage, and disclose nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities.

Unfortunately, navigating the extensive documentation of this nature-related risk and opportunity management and disclosure framework can be time-consuming. At AXA Climate, we have developed thoughtfully designed resources to facilitate the initial steps of the TNFD framework for any financial institution or corporation. These resources have been created to assist stakeholders to easily navigate through the hundreds of pages of the framework and engage efficiently with its tools and methodologies.

These include (i) the answers to the most frequently asked questions and (ii) an illustrated guide on the methodology proposed by the TNFD to study nature.

Taking the first step: initiating action on nature

Companies need to start acting on nature now.

Although our understanding of nature and biodiversity may not be as precise as our understanding of climate change, this should not be used as a reason to delay on recognising the significance of addressing these issues with the same level of importance. Delaying action on nature is no longer an option if corporates and financial institutions are committed to achieving a transition towards a sustainable economy and leveraging potential opportunities that align with sustainable practices.

The TNFD is the first step of a long process.

A crucial first step that many companies can take, is to embark on the TNFD framework. By starting with the “Locate” phase of the analysis, and thus mapping the organisation’s assets, processes, value chains, and products to specific ecosystems. This enables starting the evaluation of nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities for the organisation, investors, and creditors. This initial action sets the foundation for comprehensive assessments, and should encompass the organisation’s interface with nature across owned assets, operations, value chains, locations, and business units.

Market or societal attitudes towards nature can evolve rapidly, potentially surpassing regulatory timelines, requiring companies to promptly adapt.

Given the complexity of the topic, it is crucial for companies to prioritise and address nature-related risks early on. Moreover, by initiating a collective movement among companies and diligently evaluating their dependencies and impacts on nature, there is a strong belief that other economic actors will be inspired to join the cause. Through this collective effort, there is immense potential to drive substantial and transformative changes.

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