Global Natural Data Report
The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) released the Global Natural Data Report, which aims to study the collection, construction and use of natural data and related infrastructure in global sustainable development.
At the COP15 meeting last year, the proposal of the global biodiversity framework brought more attention to natural data solutions. According to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), countries need to use natural data to monitor, manage and disclose risks and opportunities related to nature.
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Despite the efforts of many international organizations to environmental protect, climate change receives far more attention than biodiversity in policy formulation and investment activities. According to United Nations, the current investment in natural change is about 154 billion US dollars per year, which is less than half of the planned amount. The world needs to invest US$484 billion per year in natural change by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target.
TNFD’s Research on Natural Data
TNFD believes that the global demand for natural data is growing rapidly, but there are problems with the credibility and consistency, which cannot help stakeholders in coping with natural changes. While some businesses invest heavily in natural data collection, their data remains private and is not accessible for others. Although some institutions pay to obtain these data, the expenditure in terms of cost cannot be widely promoted.
High-quality global natural data are actually valuable global public goods that can play a role in addressing biodiversity and assessing nature-related risks. TNFD believes that regulatory agencies, academic institutions and enterprises should establish a coordinated natural data platform and link it to public infrastructure, promote data collection and maintenance by providing incentives, and formulate rules for data access.
Besides, TNFD said that the emergence of new technologies has also provided assistance for the establishment of natural data platforms. Numerous organizations are already using satellite data to track changes in natural resources and monitor species activity based on environmental DNA and smart sensors. These technologies effectively reduce the cost of data collection and can regularly update the existing data.
The establishment of a natural data platform has significant benefits for multiple stakeholders. Governments can develop diversity strategies and action plans based on nature data, and international conventions (such as GBF) can use data to coordinate actions across countries. Companies can reduce the cost of disclosure and develop a clearer net-zero strategy. Financial institutions can choose investment targets that are more in line with biodiversity goals.
TNFD’s Research on Natural Data Facility
TNFD believes that natural data facility can create value in the following ways:
- Connect existing global natural data to enhance user access.
- Create a common set of global natural data aspects and standards to reduce costs.
- Provide incentives to encourage the use of data for decision-making in the public and private sectors.
TNFD believes that distributed access public data facility is the most likely to provide the above effects. This approach can hand over data ownership to the corresponding stakeholders and can meet the innovative needs of data collection and analysis. At the same time, distributed facilities are cheaper and require less time to create and maintain. If a global data warehouse is planned to be established, the development and deployment time will exceed 2030. A distributed data facility can avoid this problem.
Given that governments, companies, and financial institutions are all interested in obtaining higher-quality natural data, TNFD encourages stakeholders to conduct more detailed assessments of natural data and related infrastructure. Supported by the right governance, financing, and incentive structures, nature data will become an essential part of nature change risk management.