Bio-Mo-D: Appreciating biodiversity − Modernising economic accounting in Germany
Project leader at UFZ:
Dr. Johannes Förster
Tobias M. Wildner
Prof. Dr. Bernd Hansjürgens
10/2021 – 09/2024
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project as part of the “Research for Sustainability” strategy − „Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity (FEdA)“.
Policy Brief on CBD COP 15:
Biodiversity loss as an economic risk: Call for more transparency on the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in businesses and the economy (345.3 KB)
Side Event at CBD COP 15:
Business and biodiversity: The essential role of global sustainability reporting standards and their impact on corporate decision making
Within the Bio-Mo-D project, we are assessing how national and corporate economic accounting and reporting can be further developed to include biodiversity and ecosystem service indicators. The project is conducted in close cooperation with partners from the business sector (BASF and Value Balancing Alliance) as well as national agencies and ministries.
Accounting the carbon footprint of companies and countries is common practice. But what about the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services? Many economic activities involve the use of land and depend on the benefits and services that biodiversity and ecosystems provide. How can the use of nature be disclosed in corporate and national accounts?
At the international level, numerous initiatives are currently aiming to consolidate and define how companies and governments can integrate biodiversity into their accounting and reporting. At UN level, the "System of Environmental-Economic Accounting – Ecosystem Accounting" was adopted as a guideline for national governments.1 In Germany, this is currently transferred into national reporting systems.
With regard to corporate accounting, multiple initiatives develop standards for the accounting and reporting of biodiversity and ecosystem services often based on already established environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting frameworks. For example, the International Sustainability Standards Board of the IFRS Foundation is working on the further development of ESG reporting standards as a match to its globally respected financial accounting standard.
In parallel, the European Commission's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is being developed, which will set guidelines for corporate sustainability reporting also with regard to biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Due to increased regulatory scrutiny as well as significantly shifting risk-return perceptions, biodiversity and ecosystem services are playing an increasingly central role also for the financial sector. Besides the EU Green Taxonomy and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, private sector ratings according to sustainability criteria gain more attention.
The aim of Bio-Mo-D is to assess and support the development of approaches for the accounting and ultimately valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services at governmental and corporate level. It aims to contribute to the aforementioned processes of standardization, to support the ongoing dialogue between corporate and government stakeholders and to identify potential synergies between corporate and national accounting.
1 UN (2021) System of Environmental-Economic Accounting − Ecosystem Accounting: Final Draft
IÖR – Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development
Value Balancing Alliance (VBA)
IZT – Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment