Corporate Capture infiltrates and influences the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15, attempting to turn nature into business. The environment and peoples are set to lose the most.

According to the IPBES global assessment report and to the Nine Planetary Boundaries report, biodiversity is in danger and so is life on Earth.

Although big business is recognised as one of the key drivers of the biodiversity crisis, many of these corporations claim they are part of the solution and have a prominent seat at the negotiation table; they infiltrate UN processes to make sure their interests are defended and that any “solutions” don’t harm their profits.

Corporate influence is not new, but it has increased over the past few years. It has been encouraged by the need to seem accountable to consumers and investors that care about environmental issues, by the attractive prospect of “green” profits, and by the welcoming attitude of the UN system in general, especially the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In these fora, corporations are seen as necessary stakeholders, in line with the idea that without business (and its money) we can’t tackle environmental problems.

This fully referenced report “The Nature of Business: Corporate influence over the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Biodiversity Framework” exposes the strategies and tactics used by corporate actors in the CBD. The many business coalitions and their members, and the greenwashing proposals they come up with, are also explained in detail.

Tactics and strategies used by corporate interests to influence or capture UN agencies and processes

Corporations use a variety of tactics and strategies to achieve their desired results in the CBD processes. In particular, they form coalitions with promisingly green-sounding names, to advocate (and lobby) for sustainable solutions that protect corporates’ interests but do nothing for the environment. Examples include offsetting mechanisms (such as ”No Net Loss”, ”Net Gain”, ”Nature Positive” and ”Nature-Based Solutions”), self-reporting, self-regulation and self-certification.

Saving biodiversity requires transformative change, not corporate capture

The participation of big business in the CBD reveals a fundamental conflict of interest: how could the most important contributors to biodiversity loss – the same companies that must pay dividends to their shareholders – promote the radical transformation we need? Would they accept a diminished operating space and thus reduced income?

The simple answer is no; they don’t. And the impact of corporate influence on the CBD COP15 can already be seen in the draft Global Biodiversity Framework. Far from being transformative, it fails to address unsustainable production methods and allows for “business as usual”.

Report’s recommendations

This report addresses the UN and its member states with a clear reminder that their utmost priority should be to serve the public interest – including all humans and non-humans on the planet – and urgently address corporate capture of the CBD. It calls on the UN to:

  • Resist corporate pressure
  • Strengthen transparency around lobbying
  • Limit the role of business and industry and cap its participation
  • Disclose all existing relations and links with the private sector
  • Introduce a code of conduct for UN official
  • End all existing partnerships with corporations and trade associations
  • Establish a legally binding framework of obligations that can hold companies accountable to environmental, human rights and labour rights law