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Accountability for Nature

Comparison of Nature-Related Assessment and Disclosure Frameworks and Standards

Key points

This report, co-authored by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), provides an overview of the key methodological and conceptual trends among the private sector assessment and disclosure approaches on nature-related issues. It focuses on trends related to the definitions of environmental concepts, understanding of the relationship between business, finance and nature, and the implications for disclosure. It is primarily aimed at financial institutions and businesses preparing for implementation of nature-related assessment and disclosure approaches in their organisations. However, it is also intended to inform the further development of frameworks and standards on nature by enabling developers to take stock of the evolving assessment and disclosure landscape. The report presents findings from a comparative research on seven leading standards, frameworks and systems for assessment and disclosure on nature related issues (referred to as “nature-related assessment and disclosure approaches” in this report).

These approaches vary in their specific purpose—which includes disclosure, assessment and/or target setting —and so does their content. The aim of this report is to highlight the common trends, while noting divergences that relate to the differing purposes.

Nature-related assessment and disclosure approaches reviewed in this report:

  • CDP disclosure system
  • European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS)
  • Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards
  • International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) Standards1
  • Natural Capital Protocol
  • Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) target setting guidance
  • Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) framework

Overall, the study revealed that the reviewed approaches are demonstrating an increasing level of alignment in key concepts and methodological approaches. Examples include cross-referencing of materiality definitions, LEAP approach and SBTN target-setting guidance, improvements in alignment of scoping and prioritization guidance, improvements in integration of science-based assessment methodologies and increased alignment of disclosure requirements and recommendations. Continued efforts to improve alignment are however needed to provide clarity and streamline the requirements for companies.