Published on
February 20, 2024

The trends that will shape nature progress in 2024

Following on from January’s World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, we examine some of the trends that will define nature progress as we look ahead to COP16 later this year.

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The trends that will shape nature progress in 2024

2023 marked an important year for advancing the conversation around nature progress in all its nuance and complexity.

It was a year that saw the regulatory environment around biodiversity continue to take shape following the introduction of the UN’s Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at the end of 2022.

The Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) launched its transformational framework in September – setting the agenda for organisational compliance and monitoring in 2024.

Elsewhere, new Initiatives like the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standard 6 (PS6) and the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) established benchmarks and guidelines for international best practice in biodiversity management and targets.

Meanwhile, despite falling behind on collective global climate targets, Dubai’s COP28 resulted in a more concerted effort to recognise the link between nature and climate. Governments must now consider nature and carbon stores, such as forests and coastal areas, as part of the next round of Paris Agreement contributions.

So where do we go next in 2024?

Collaboration and partnerships will boost nature progress momentum

The year has got off to a strong start. Nature was high on the agenda at the WEF annual meeting in Davos - demonstrating a growing commitment to tackling biodiversity loss alongside climate change.

One example was the launch of the NatureTech Alliance: a collaboration between Salesforce, ERM, Planet and NatureMetrics that will provide biodiversity measurement, management and disclosure for global corporations.

NatureMetrics’ Founder Dr Kat Bruce commented: “We’re very excited to come together to deliver something that's more than the sum of its parts. Partnerships will be critical for accelerating the implementation of solutions at scale and translating promising talk into real action on the ground.”

Innovative financial tools will help fund nature progress

To meet its Sustainable Development Goals, the UN estimates the amount of funding for nature needs to double by 2025. GBF’s target 19 aims to mobilise $200bn in annual biodiversity funding, including $30bn through international finance.  

In 2024, more organisations will shift their financial flows towards nature-positive outcomes, particularly with nature-based KPIs and targets becoming more common amongst lenders.

As a result, 2024 will see more organisations incorporate nature into their business strategies and accounting practices than ever before.

Dr Kat Bruce argues that closing the funding gap will be vital to tackling biodiversity loss. “New financial mechanisms, products and vehicles will need to channel money to different places, at different scales, and with different triggers and types of return.”

Biodiversity credits will take shape

Biodiversity credits are one such financial mechanism. While we have seen some early entrants to this market, there is some way to go before such tools will achieve the same uniquity as carbon credits.

The UK will be an interesting test case for national credits. The Government is introducing statutory biodiversity credits this year as a “last resort” if developers cannot meet its Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) targets and demonstrate a measurably positive impact on biodiversity.

Meanwhile the International Advisory Panel on Biodiversity Credits (IAPB), a UK/French-led initiative, is expected to present its recommendation at COP16.

Because measuring nature is inherently complex, high-integrity data will be essential to building trust and transparency around the effectiveness of tools like biodiversity credits.

Companies will embrace more sophisticated nature monitoring tools

Organisations will also need greater access to robust, scalable data to monitor, report and mitigate their impact on nature.  

At Davos, the TNFD announced that 320 TNFD Early Adopter organisations, representing $4tn in market capitalisation, have committed to start making nature-related disclosures  - just four months after the launch of its framework.

2024 will also see the wider rollout of the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) targets aimed at reducing organisation impacts on land and freshwater, following a pilot by 17 global organisations last year.

This increased emphasis on monitoring and reporting doesn't have to constrain companies’ operations. New nature tech is making it easier and more affordable to collect, monitor and share standardised data.

These tools include environmental DNA (eDNA), which allows companies to collect huge amounts of nature data on the ground using easy-to-use testing kits. This data can be fed into NatureMetrics’ Intelligence platform – providing organisations with a strategic view of ecosystems they operate in and allowing them to better manage their impact. Other vital tools in the nature tech armoury include geospatial assessments, bioacoustics and the application of advanced AI to understand trends over time.

More organisations will share their nature data

While collecting and monitoring nature data is essential, we cannot hope to form a global picture of biodiversity without establishing baselines from which we can compare progress. In 2024, we will see greater transparency around nature data as more organisations share their learnings.

As part of a recent scoping study, the TNFD found a growing demand for high-quality data. Following this, the organisation has called for the creation of a nature-related public data facility.

Independently, such work is already underway. For example, eBioAtlas is an ambitious partnership between NatureMetrics and IUCN to create a global atlas of life using cutting-edge eDNA technology.

COP16: A shift from goals to action

As we have seen, there are many reasons to feel optimistic about nature progress in 2024. The road ahead will not be easy. Nor has it ever been so urgent. It’s a year where talk must become action.

The United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP16), which takes place in Colombia in October this year, will provide an opportunity to demonstrate real progress in the fight against biodiversity loss – building on the momentum generated at Montreal.

The UN plans to use the event to help further the Global Biodiversity Framework’s aims, emphasising the development of monitoring frameworks and the mobilisation of resources.

Pieces of the puzzle are already falling into place – from greater collaboration between organisations to pioneering nature tech, the rollout of rigorous science-backed biodiversity monitoring to the widespread adoption of frameworks and guidelines to keep us on track.

As we look forward to COP16, we hope to see organisations and corporations come together to find real, tangible solutions to reaching nature positive goals in line with the Global Biodiversity Framework in 2024.

As NatureMetrics’ Chief Nature Strategist, Pippa Howard, comments: "We are making it possible to apply the best science in solid, peer-reviewed methodologies to ensure the highest possible integrity and outcomes for biodiversity. Collaborations and collective efforts will bring this all to life in 2024!”

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