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RIAA and TNFD partnership aims to lower nature-related risks

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The Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) has partnered with the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) to unite business, finance, public sector and civil society organisations for the purpose of driving engagement in nature-related business and finance issues.

The TNFD, a global market led-initiative, was established in 2020 with the aim to support a shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative and towards nature-positive outcomes. Final recommendations from the taskforce are due in September 2023.

In a bid to drive more local recognition of the global TNFD framework, RIAA on Wednesday announced it would convene the TNFD official consultation group for Australia and New Zealand, leveraging its existing work.

The RIAA-led consultation group is one of six globally, tasked with expanding outreach and engagement in markets where significant interest in the work of the taskforce has already been established.

“RIAA’s convening of investors through our Nature Working Group and now through the TNFD are critical elements in building investor capacity and ultimately, protecting our natural capital. This is of utmost importance to our investor members, and the Australian and New Zealand economies,” CEO at RIAA, Simon O’Connor, said on the occasion. 

“As we have seen with the successful adoption of the TNFD’s earlier climate equivalent, the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), a reporting framework is vital for investors understanding the nature-related risks in their portfolios and mitigating these,” Mr O’Connor noted.

According to the CEO, more than half of the world’s economic output is dependent on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

“There is strong momentum in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand to better account for and value assets on the basis of nature-related risks and how they are managed,” Mr O’Connor said.

Elsewhere, the TNFD recently announced initiatives to expand consultation with market participants and other stakeholders on the design and implementation of its recommendation on nature-related risk and opportunity management.

Efforts to develop the TNFD’s nature-risk framework are led by 34 individual taskforce members, representing financial institutions, businesses and market service providers, and supported by over 400 institutions around the world who constitute the TNFD Forum.

Commenting on local efforts that underpin TNFD’s work, Guy Williams, co-chair of RIAA’s Nature Working Group and TNFD taskforce member, stressed the taskforce’s importance.

“The TNFD represents a seismic shift for how nature is valued and properly managed. We have a chance to ensure Australia and New Zealand help guide this shift to build a new global best practice for nature,” Mr Williams said.

TNFD released its first ‘beta’ framework in March 2022. It now plans a further three updated based on the feedback from market participants. These are scheduled for release in June and October this year, and February 2023, before the final recommendations are made in September next year.

The TNFD framework is also said to be attracting considerable interest from policy makers and regulators as efforts accelerate within a number of jurisdictions towards integrated sustainability reporting requirements.