Global sustainability rules body steps up focus on biodiversity

  • ISSB will look at biodiversity after climate rules agreed
  • Appoints two special advisers to help on issue
  • ISSB board meets in Montreal at same time as COP15 talks

MONTREAL, Dec 14 (Reuters) - The head of a body setting a global standard for corporate sustainability disclosures said it expects to weave in guidance for more transparency on biodiversity immediately after publishing climate rules next year.

Emmanuel Faber, chair of the Frankfurt-based International Sustainability Standards Board, was in Montreal to meet fellow board members and participate in events around the United Nations COP15 talks to create a landmark deal to protect nature.

While initially focused on setting rules on climate-related disclosures such as carbon emissions, ISSB said investor feedback encouraged it to create rules relating to natural ecosystems.

Faber said the ISSB would publish its climate standards and then look at rules on biodiversity. The ISSB hopes to form a global baseline across most of the world, allowing investors to compare companies' performance across borders.

Biodiversity rules are "likely to be indeed the second batch" Faber said. While there is currently no specific date, Faber said he did not expect this to take more than one year. The ISSB was originally due to have its climate rules ready by the end of 2022.

"I think it's reasonable to expect there would be substantial progress and information shared with the market directionally in 2023," he added.

Faber said the body would look to build upon the work of existing market-led initiatives such as the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), as well as other standards and disclosure frameworks.

As part of its efforts, ISSB also said it had appointed two non-executive special advisers who will counsel Faber on issues relating to natural ecosystems and ensure the voice of indigenous communities is reflected in the rules.

Karin Kemper, former global director for environment at the World Bank, will advise on natural ecosystems. Geordie Hungerford, chief executive of the First Nations Financial Management Board in Canada, will advise on indigenous issues.

"The ISSB is bound to play a fundamental role in helping address climate change and nature loss, decreasing systemic risk for the planet, the global economy and the financial system," Kemper said in a statement.

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Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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