The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release


New Report Exposes Corporate Capture Over UN Global Biodiversity Framework

Ahead of the 15th Conference of the Parties, Friends of the Earth analysis of business influence reveals commitments to profits over biodiversity action.


Friends of the Earth International released a new analysis before the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, The Nature of Business: Corporate Influence over the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Biodiversity Framework [1]. This analysis draws attention to the ways corporate capture has blocked, eliminated or corrupted efforts to prevent further biodiversity loss at the global scale. The report traces examples of how businesses have directly influenced the Global Biodiversity Framework and have derailed action in favour of profits.

Nele Marien, Forests & Biodiversity programme coordinator at Friends of the Earth International explains: "From funding delegations, over filling official secretariat roles with corporate-related actors, to intentionally distorting scientific inputs, corporate influence goes deep into the heart of the CBD. One strategy in particular stands out: the formation of purpose-built lobby coalitions allowing many corporations, such as BP or Vale [2], to present themselves as part of the solution and advocates for sustainability with green-sounding names. However, their 'solutions' are carefully crafted in order to not undermine their business models; ultimately they do nothing for the environment."

The report denounces how these coalitions use ambiguous and intentionally muddled language that passes for science, such as "nature-based solutions" or "nature positive," whose approach benefits the business sector, safeguards corporate profits, and promotes offsetting at the expense of Indigenous Peoples [3].

"There is a fundamental conflict of interest," adds Nele Marien. "Corporations are the most prominent contributors to biodiversity loss, ecosystem destruction and human rights violations. Addressing corporate capture of the CBD is a precondition for saving biodiversity. The UN and its Member States must resist corporate pressure and the CBD must reclaim its authority to regulate business."

Isaac Rojas, Forests & Biodiversity programme coordinator at Friends of the Earth International adds: "Putting corporations in their place would allow Peoples-led solutions to biodiversity loss to regain momentum. Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities protect 80% of existing biodiversity, often by defending it with their lives. Conserving biodiversity goes along with taking IPLCs and their human and land tenure rights seriously."

With 1 million species at risk of extinction globally and rapidly increasing biodiversity loss, urgent action is needed. CBD15 in Montreal is an opportunity for Parties to enact meaningful standards that would hold polluters accountable for ecosystem damage while advancing the voices and influence of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Friends of the Earth International is the world's largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 74 national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent. With over 2 million members and supporters around the world, FOEI campaigns on today's most urgent environmental and social issues.