Nature & Biodiversity Disclosure - Takeaways from COP15 ISSB Event

By Anne-Marie Monette
Published December 16, 2022 | 2 min read

During the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15), RBC Capital Markets in partnership with Finance Montreal and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) hosted a special event focused on the sustainability disclosure landscape.

Sarah Thompson, Global Head, Sustainable Finance, RBC Capital Markets, interviewed Granville Martin, Head of Americas Policy and Outreach, ISSB and the discussion was focused on the rapid evolution of the sustainability disclosure landscape and why nature and biodiversity disclosures, along with climate and other sustainability factors, are being considered as part of the ISSB’s standard-setting process and guidelines.

Here are our top insights from the session:


1.Significant recent developments

The ISSB has released two exposure drafts (S1 General Requirements for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information) and S2 (Climate-related Disclosures). S1 sets out the overall requirements for an entity to disclose sustainability-related financial information on its most material sustainability-related risks and opportunities, while S2 sets out the requirements for identifying, measuring and disclosing climate-related risks and opportunities. The ISSB has received widespread support from the G7, G20, international regulators and institutional investors on its proposed disclosure requirements for sustainability-related risks and opportunities. According to Mr. Martin, these proposed disclosure requirements could be the biggest development in sustainability disclosures in the past 20 years.



Scalability and proportionality across markets and company sizes, particularly in ensuring that disclosure is consistent and comparable across jurisdictions, remains a key challenge.  Assurance requirements are another key question, particularly with respect to Scope 1 and 2. Moreover, while there continues to be strong investor interest for Scope 3, the ISSB intends to fill that gap over time. However, the announcement by CDP to align its questionnaire with the ISSB’s Climate-related Disclosures exposure draft is a significant milestone in support of greater standardization on climate disclosures.



The ISSB is currently collaborating with the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and other existing nature-related standards and disclosures to leverage research and conclusions that are relevant and decision-useful to investors. This will include considering the TNFD’s recent work on the intersection of climate and biodiversity disclosures in scoping the ISSB’s research on complementing its climate-related disclosures to address natural ecosystems. Mr. Martin commented it would not be at all surprising for the ISSB to start looking at biodiversity standard-setting next year. Building on this collaboration, Emmanuel Faber, Chair of the ISSB, announced at COP15 the appointment of two further Special Advisers, Karin Kemper and Geordie Hungerford, to provide strategic counsel on issues relating to natural ecosystems and just transition.1


4.Next steps

At COP27, the International Organization for Securities Commissions (IOSCO) outlined its expectations that both disclosures and assurance standards should be ready for use by corporates for their end-2024 accounts. IOSCO outlined it intends to move promptly to decide on endorsement of the ISSB standards and will develop a support program for its members to assist them in moving forward immediately should IOSCO decide to endorse these standards. The ISSB is hopeful that IOSCO will substantively support its standards for climate disclosures and general requirements, which would be a key catalytic event to watch for in 2023.

The multiple stakeholder groups who gathered this week at COP15 all seem to be converging on the idea that transparency and data will be a key underpinning of private capital mobilization towards climate action and biodiversity conservation, with the ISSB expected to play a central role.

1 IFRS - ISSB describes the concept of sustainability and its articulation with financial value creation, and announces plans to advance work on natural ecosystems and just transition

Anne-Marie Monette

Anne-Marie Monette
Director, Institutional Equity & ESG Sales