TNFD final framework launches to ongoing fears of greenwashing
This week in New York, the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) launched its final framework for how businesses should report on biodiversity. The framework has been developed over a series of drafts. The ultimate decision-makers are a taskforce of global corporations - including several facing persistent accusations of environmental and human rights abuses. Over the last 18 months, a range of rights holder and civil society organizations have raised persistent concerns about the TNFD - including that it has failed to respond to evidence and specific concerns that its framework will facilitate corporate greenwashing. These can be accessed here. There is particular concern that some groups are trying to advocate for TNFD to become future law - essentially, allowing corporations to write the template of future regulations.
“It is horrifying to watch how the TNFD process has played out. At heart, the process has focused on empowering global corporations - including members of its corporate taskforce who are failing to act on their own environmental or human rights harms. Nothing in the TNFD framework challenges a corporation’s right to keep 100% of the profits it may make off environmental or human rights abuses. Nor does it uphold nature’s own right to exist. It is full of loopholes that can allow for rampant greenwashing and its reporting takes a generalized form that means that company claims cannot be checked against realities on the ground.” - Shona Hawkes, Advisor, Rainforest Action Network.
“The easiest way to move the market on biodiversity is to push for laws that deliver real-world consequences for businesses that are trashing nature. It’s not rocket science. The whole TNFD exercise has been a circus that distracts us from this very simple fact.” - Merel van der Mark, Coordinator of the Forests & Finance Coalition.
“Our message to government officials, to central banks and to genuinely ethical businesses is please, please don’t be swayed by TNFD to walk away from the actions we truly need to safeguard biodiversity and human rights. The TNFD does not have a mandate from environmental defenders, from Indigenous Peoples, from frontline women’s organizations or grassroots groups. To solve the biodiversity crisis we need to amplify the voices of those who have done the most to protect and celebrate nature - not corporate-written frameworks that allow for rampant greenwashing.” - Tarcísio Feitosa - 2006 Goldman Prize Winner - Forests - South & Central America - Brazil.
“We don’t disagree with TNFD that the financial system and corporate behavior is a key part of the biodiversity and extinction crisis. However, fixing that problem requires an evidence-led approach and regulation. It does not require throwing tens of millions of dollars at an initiative whose key decision-making body is a group of global corporations - including many with a very problematic environmental record.” - Lim Li Ching, Coordinator, Biodiversity Programme, Third World Network.
“It is Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant communities, peasants, womens’ organizations and youth movements who have led the charge to defend, celebrate and cherish biodiversity. Yet they have been completely sidelined from this process in every possible way. Many people are shocked to learn that the TNFD taskforce - TNFD’s decision-making body - is solely made up of global corporations.”- Kwami Kpondzo, Campaign Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition Extractive Industries, Tourism and Infrastructure campaign.
“The real solutions for the biodiversity and extinction crises must be rights-based. They must be founded in international human and Indigenous rights laws and respect nature’s own right to exist. TNFD does not align to these critical pillars.” - Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network.
“It is hard to recall any major case of human rights abuse or environmental destruction that has been exposed by company self-reporting. It is the communities negatively affected who have to sound the alarm bells and expose corporate wrong-doing. TNFD does nothing to rectify this. Not only is the logic of TNFD flawed - the framework doesn’t even help indigenous peoples and local communities with customary tenure rights to know which company is operating in, buying from or financing activities in their lands and territories.” - Oda Almas, Coordinator of the Responsible Finance Programme, Forest Peoples Programme.
“We have an incredibly short window to act on the biodiversity and extinction crises. Indigenous Peoples, youth, women’s groups, Afro-descendant peoples and peasants will continue to champion and lead the true solutions to the biodiversity crisis. TNFD is just the latest in a succession of business-led initiatives that repeat a familiar pattern: it addresses biodiversity as an economic asset, adding a monetary value to it and quantifying it in market terms as “natural capital” stocks. It neglects the intrinsic value it has for the livelihoods of all people on this planet, negotiating its survival from a trading perspective.” - Marília Monteiro, Senior Portfolio Manager - Nature Finance at Greenpeace International.
“Throughout the entire TNFD process there’s been almost no attention to the question “will this work?”. Companies telling you that this will lead them to change their ways is not the same thing as evidence that it will. TNFD is not evidence-based and has ignored much of the evidence from prior experience of why corporate-led initiatives so often fail.” – Cassie Dummett, Head of Global Witness Forests Campaign.
“We want investors and companies to understand that the TNFD is not a proxy for strategy or a reason to delay action. At this stage we can’t say whether the TNFD will be used to obscure or enlighten, and therefore whether it will aid or hinder serious efforts to deal with the biodiversity crisis. It’s what happens in parallel to the TNFD that matters even more. In Australia we’ve seen no serious corporate or investor commitments to reduce biodiversity impacts, there is no collective investor action, and industry groups are still running the biodiversity equivalent of climate denial campaigns for nature policy. And we are seeing TNFD participation being used as an excuse to continue business-as-usual on all these fronts.” - Tim Beshara, Manager of Policy and Strategy, Wilderness Society Australia.
"One would hope that financial institutions look the unfolding biodiversity crisis straight in the eye and start acting to weed out its root causes, by committing to stop financing business activities that destroy intact ecosystems globally. Instead, they embark on designing reporting guidelines for their impact on biodiversity, if material to their business, all without any meaningful involvement of those stakeholders that suffer these impacts the most. As with the financial industries' response to the climate crisis, focused on 'reaching net zero by 2050' instead of ending finance for fossil fuels now, one wonders when financial institutions will finally start acting with the urgency and decisiveness required" - Johan Frijns, Executive Director BankTrack.