Mere weeks after the United Nations climate conference (COP27) ended in Egypt, diplomats assembled in Montreal for another UN conference, this one focused on biodiversity (CBD COP15). Following the mixed results at COP27, the sustainability sector set its eyes on the discussions to be held in Canada, where an ambitious target to protect the world’s natural areas and promote green growth was to be tabled . Over a hundred countries pledged their support for the goal which aimed to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030. Steeped in science, protecting the world’s biodiversity would ensure that important natural systems could be maintained, helping mitigate climate change and building sustainable economies in developing nations [1, 2].
As Grenadian diplomat and UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell explains alongside Jamaican Minister Matthew Samuda, protecting local biodiversity could have a massive impact on global goals: “With our nations committing to both land and sea protection we will contribute to the following global benefits:
- Safeguarding 500 gigatonnes of carbon stored in vegetation and soils;
- Reducing the risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks like COVID-19;
- Supporting 30 million jobs and US$500b of GDP in ecotourism and sustainable fisheries;
- Restoring depleted fishing grounds and fish populations by 600 per cent; and
- Increasing food security and improving local economies. ”
While the benefits are clear, heading into CBD COP15 roughly 17% of land and 8% of oceans were protected, further highlighting how ambitious such a target would be .
Driving Positive Change
Despite some drama during the negotiations process that put in doubt the viability of the target, a consensus was reached and the 30×30 target was agreed upon, and parties will now work on an implementation process . While this landmark deal is drawing scepticism as to its feasibility, it has undeniably highlighted the demand for nature-based solutions and investments into sustainable economic structures [5-7]. For businesses, this signals a change in momentum favouring purpose-led businesses, as Carolina Klint explains, “Organizations should focus their resilience efforts on expediting green energy, climate and nature investments [as well as] improving employee health and well-being. ”
But what does this all mean realistically?
The 30×30 will have a more pronounced effect in developing nations and countries with large biodiversity hotspots, where blue/green economic growth that focuses on protection can be effectively developed. However, this also provides opportunities for companies and institutions to explore new ways of integrating nature, biodiversity, and sustainability into their business model [5-7]. This can be through partnerships with like-minded entities, creating local programs, or actively working with suppliers and customers to build sustainable supply chains – have you thought about how your business can contribute to global goals?
- Protecting the world’s biodiversity will mitigate climate change and build sustainable economies in developing nations [1, 2];
- For businesses, this signals a change in momentum favouring purpose-led businesses, who should focus on green energy, climate and nature investments and improving employee wellbeing ; and
- This provides opportunities for companies and institutions to explore new ways of integrating nature, biodiversity, and sustainability into their business model.
 High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, 2022, “Why 30×30?”.
 Simon Stiell & Matthew Samuda, 2022, “Caribbean 30×30 target: Protecting nature to protect future”, Jamaica Gleaner.
 John Cannon, 2021, “Protected areas now cover nearly 17% of Earth’s surface: U.N. report”, Mongabay.
 Patrick Greenfield & Phoebe Weston, 2022, “Cop15: historic deal struck to halt biodiversity loss by 2030”, The Guardian.
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “The Importance of Sustainable Business Models”, LEAD-WiSE.
 Vincent Diringer, 2022, “Net-Zero: The Future of Sustainable Businesses”, LEAD-WiSE.
 Carolina Klint, 2023, “Global Risks Report 2023: How organizations should respond”, World Economic Forum.