Shaping institutions, policies and norms

Towards a nature-positive, actionable, and measurable framework for voluntary biodiversity credits

In a world grappling with biodiversity loss and climate change, the demand for companies to champion a nature-positive agenda is on the rise. Voluntary Biodiversity Credits (VBCs) are nascent market-based instruments that provide potential opportunities for businesses to address biodiversity loss while serving as a conduit for sustainable investment. VBCs have been recognized as a key funding tool in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework agreed by UN member states in December 2022, and represent an innovative funding source in national biodiversity strategies and progressive environmental policies.  

For companies venturing into this emerging market, a comprehensive, actionable, and measurable framework is essential to ensure their investments yield impactful results. The need to demonstrate impact and increase corporate non-financial disclosures suggests that the use of VBCs will also drive investment in biodiversity data collection and the rapidly evolving technologies underpinning monitoring efforts. 

Our research is seeking to identify the enabling factors that are necessary to ensure measurable and sustainable nature-positive impacts from Voluntary Biodiversity Credits. 

Led by experts in business, public policy and environmental science, our multidisciplinary approach ensures a holistic perspective on this multi-sectoral issue. In addition to reviewing academic and practitioner literature, we are engaging with existing initiatives focused on developing VBCs. We are also conducting interviews with experts and business, and putting emphasis on including multiple stakeholders, including local communities. Insights from carbon markets will also inform our approach. 

The project is expected to produce relevant academic and practitioner-oriented outcomes. Our specific aim is to deliver a draft framework designed to support businesses and other stakeholders in evaluating VBCs. In addition, we are committed to crafting a straightforward corporate guide to VBCs, ensuring practical utility for companies navigating this evolving landscape. Furthermore, a policy brief should provide timely insights for decision-makers at the next Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties in Colombia in October 2024.