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Enabling the industry to protect the natural environment

Deena Clayton, Managing Director Sustainable Development, ConocoPhillips and IPIECA Vice Chair looks at how IPIECA’s Nature strategy is supporting the CBD COP15.


As the first part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 has just wrapped up, it’s timely to share what IPIECA, its members and the oil and gas industry are doing to support biological diversity and the contribution we are making to global conservation goals.

COP15 was due to take place in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The convention is split into two parts: the first, which took place virtually just over a week ago, was focused on the development of a new global biodiversity framework. The second part is an in-person event in China next year, where the framework will hopefully be agreed on and adopted by all 196 participating countries.

Biodiversity can’t wait

Recent reports such as the IPBES Assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services show that we are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate, while WEF research states that more than half of global GDP - US$44 trillion – depends on healthy ecosystems, clearly showing that biodiversity can’t wait.

Organizations like IPIECA and the UN, civil society and academic institutes that we regularly partner with have kept up the momentum. My hope is that CBD COP15 can act as a fulcrum to build nature into our recovery and turn the sense of urgency around biodiversity loss into real action. If COP15 is a success, we will come out with a global framework on biodiversity adopted by all the nations, focused on mainstreaming biodiversity across businesses and sectors.

IPIECA at COP15

The road to COP15 has been a long one, and IPIECA has been involved every step of the way.

We’ve taken part in the pre-event meetings, consulting with our members to provide industry feedback to the CBD on draft versions of the global framework, focusing on a science-based approach, collaboration and alignment with business priorities and providing business with a realistic yet ambitious framework to stopping and reversing biodiversity loss.

IPIECA was involved in the phase one virtual sessions and will provide insights and updates from these to our members.

This first phase was followed by the CBD organized Business and Biodiversity week, 18-22 October, to continue discussions on the framework and the role of business, acting as a precursor to the Business and Biodiversity Forum that will take place during part two of COP15. Again, IPIECA was present, taking part in two sessions focused on mainstreaming biodiversity across the energy sector.

When we wrap up the CBD COP15 next year with an agreed upon global diversity framework, we’ll be in position to support its roll out. Making the most of our participation in the CBD processes and insights into the likely framework, we’re already working with members and partners on good practice guidance and tools to support companies operationalize the framework as soon as it lands.

Our Nature strategy

IPIECA’s 2021-24 strategy has four interconnected pillars: sustainability, climate, nature and people. Our good practice guidance on implementing the global framework is an essential part of our Nature strategy which aims to enable IPIECA members to advance protection of the natural environment, minimise and mitigate risks and impacts from operations and products.

Supporting the industry to protect biodiversity and ecosystems is nothing new for us. For nearly 20 years, IPIECA, in partnership with IOGP has hosted a Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) Group. IPIECA also hosts industry experts in our Environment, Water and Oil Spill Preparedness Groups, as well as a Climate Group.

Through these groups, IPIECA convenes a significant portion of the oil and gas industry with key partners and cross sector initiatives such as UNEP, UNEP WCMC, CSBI, TNFD and IUCN (with whom we recently signed an MoU) to share knowledge on emerging environmental issues and work on good practice guidance and tools. In addition to our work on supporting the roll out of the global biodiversity framework, our 2021-24 strategy will see us produce guidance on environmentally responsible operations, support business to use the mitigation hierarchy, and explore the environmental and social elements of nature-based solutions to climate change.

Our strategy has seen us strengthen our relationship with WBCSD. In May 2021 we launched the SDG Roadmap with them. The SDG Roadmap identifies over 90 transformative actions across three systemic themes of climate, people and nature to accelerate the realization of the SDGs. The nature section highlights how the oil and gas industry can embed circularity, natural capital, and nature positive concepts into operations to conserve and restore biodiversity, promoting a healthier planet.

Collaboration is key

Collaboration is at the heart of what IPIECA does: from bringing together the oil and gas sector, to participating in cross sector initiatives and leading industry engagement with UN bodies - we recognise that the issues we deal with are too complex for any one company, sector or country to deal with alone.

IPIECA and its members are fully committed to prioritising biodiversity and ecosystem services throughout oil and gas operations and working with all parts of society to make positive contributions to global and local conservation goals.


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