2022, Our Experts

Landing A New Deal for Nature: What the Global Biodiversity Framework Means for Fashion

In a historic moment for nature, world leaders landed the Global Biodiversity Framework at the end of COP15 in Montreal, Canada. It has been positioned as a “peace pact with nature,” by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, but what does it mean for the fashion, textiles, and apparel industry? Our Director of Industry Accountability and Insights, Liesl Truscott, shares her key takeaways.

Over the weekend, negotiations on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) – which sets out the strategic plan for nature for the rest of this decisive decade – were finalized.  

The last tweaks were achieved after a fresh set of high-level ministers joined the conversation for the last few days (December 17 to 19) of the United Nations Global Biodiversity conference (COP15).  

In an extraordinary plenary that began on Sunday evening, in Montreal, and lasted for more than seven hours, countries wrangled over the final agreement. But did we get our “Paris Moment” for biodiversity in Montreal (as we did for climate in Paris at the COP21 in 2015)?  

While the negotiations took some time, with walkouts by developing countries at mid-point, the final version of the GBF holds a level of ambition most participants feel they can work with. Here are our five key takeaways: 

For the Textile Exchange team and many of our group of corporate members together in Montréal, this was our first COP. As a sector community, the fashion, textile, and apparel industry is not shying away from the big conversations, and we are eager to learn and collaborate. But we need to break down silos between different industries and impact areas too. 

One important silo-breaker is the COP2COP roundtable stretching from the Climate COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh to the Biodiversity COP15 in Montreal. “In a time of growing uncertainty, the need for unity is greater than ever, says Farooq Ullah, Strategist at the B Team, and the power behind the COP2COP Collaboration. “There is a need for a new narrative on the potential of integrated approaches and solutions to the climate and nature crises, which must be underpinned by inclusive multi-lateral, multi-stakeholder, and multi-sectoral approaches.” 

All in all, it feels like we have enough ambition in the GBF to move forward with confidence that “nature matters.” Many of us are ready and willing to contribute to a nature-positive future, but there is no place for solo efforts when it comes to our ecosystems. Now that we have a framework in place, coordinating our actions will be the key to our success.