Scientists, Indigenous Peoples, businesses and NGOs raise alarm on ‘catastrophic’ nature loss

Posted on November, 16 2022

Global call for world leaders to prioritize critical UN Biodiversity conference in Montreal and deliver an ambitious agreement that reverses nature loss by 2030 for a nature-positive world

Sharm El-Sheik (16 November 2022): World leaders must deliver an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 this December to secure a nature-positive world this decade, in support of climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals, warn almost 350 civil society leaders. These leaders, across science, civil society, Indigenous Peoples, faith, youth and business express ‘deep concerns at the lack of ambition among government parties’.

The civil society warning is backed by a new survey of more than 400 business, science, civil society and government leaders, launching on Biodiversity Day at COP27. The survey reveals that despite national governments being considered the most important actors to lead the ‘Nature Agenda’, a lack of political support, policies, and incentives are causing significant barriers to progress on nature.

A distressing 88% of experts believe the state of the world’s nature to be ‘alarming’ or ‘catastrophic and potentially irreversible’, and only 1% view the state of nature in the world as ‘satisfactory’. Most experts (61%) believe there is a societal failure to account for nature’s value. 

"The science has been very clear: human activities are driving accelerating biodiversity loss which in turn is undermining our ability to limit global warming to 1.5C. Entire ecosystems are heading toward collapse, with devastating consequences for people and the planet. COP15 is a momentous opportunity to transition the global economy to one that works with nature, rather than against it. There's no more time to waste. Experts know it, business leaders know it, the public know it. We need world leaders to prioritize the negotiations and ministers from all sectors to be in Montreal - with a clear mandate to secure an ambitious agreement. We need all hands on deck to get a nature-positive deal for nature through," said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

Organisations that participated in the survey included IKEA, Suzano and Danone. Henri Bruxelles, Executive Vice President, Chief Sustainability & Strategic Business Development Officer, Danone, commented: “We all must take collective action to stop and reverse biodiversity loss. ​​Business has an essential role to play, including through the elimination of deforestation and conversion, preservation and restoration of wetlands, and acceleration of regenerative agriculture in our supply chains. But even if we are fully committed, voluntary actions won’t be enough: we need everyone to step up and drive a clear and ambitious Nature Agenda.”

“COP15 is a critical opportunity for governments to lead and create an ambitious framework along with enabling conditions to drive transformation on the ground. Through this, we can help unleash the private sector's potential, including via mandatory requirements for business and finance to assess and disclose nature impacts.”
Of the 400+ expert stakeholders surveyed, across the Global South and Global North, by global insights and advisory consultancy, GlobeScan, very few believe governments (7%) or the private sector (8%) are performing well in protecting nature. Both national governments and the private sector are cited as not meeting expectations to act. A majority of experts (55%) view government action to protect nature as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, with the private sector at 61%.

Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research commented: “Evidence shows the potential to adapt to climate change is not limitless and cannot substitute for ambitious mitigation. To have a 50% chance of achieving 1.5°C and thus limiting tipping point risks, global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.”

“Critically, these pathways rely on the continuing capacity of nature to operate as a carbon sink and to buffer against the worst impacts of climate change. 1.5°C is not a goal. It is a biophysical limit. Nature is one of the best climate solutions for remaining within that limit. An ambitious global framework for biodiversity at COP15 that addresses root causes of decline of the global commons is urgent and necessary.”

This concern is echoed by civil society; 64% of individuals surveyed across 11 countries warn the state of nature and biodiversity across the world is ‘alarming’ or ‘catastrophic’. Almost two thirds (65%) of the general public regularly worry that there will not be enough nature for future generations. Only two in 10 people agree that ‘economic development’ is more important than protecting nature.

Jennifer Morris, CEO, The Nature Conservancy, commented: “This new data reveals two things – first, people in every part of the world are concerned about nature loss and two, we are not doing enough. We must set the world on a safer climate path, and we must act now to reverse and halt biodiversity loss. From November to December of this year we have a rare moment where world leaders will convene twice to discuss these issues and we must use them wisely and be bold to go from promises to progress – from discourse to decisions.” 

​​The analysis arrives on the morning of an intervention from the champions of the Paris Agreement, setting the scene on Biodiversity Day at COP27 and looking ahead to CBD COP15. The survey, also found six in ten (60%) of business, NGO, government and academic experts are at least partly optimistic about the potential for collective efforts to protect and restore nature. A quarter (25%) of companies were found to be engaged with Science-based Targets for Nature, another quarter (24%) are considering this initiative, and a third (32%) are considering the Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures

The non-state actor group reaffirms that the biodiversity conference, taking place from 7th to 19th December in Montreal, Canada, is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for global leaders to come together to agree a new, ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) which can address the global nature and biodiversity crisis. The creation of a GBF at COP15 will act as a lifeline for ecosystems under extreme pressure, as well as Indigenous Peoples and local communities that may be particularly vulnerable to the impacts of nature and biodiversity loss; higher over the last 50 years than at any other point in human history. 

Helena Gualinga (Kichwa), Indigenous Youth Climate Leader, Sarayaku, Ecuador, commented: "Nature and the future of the climate is at stake, and we will not be safe until leaders are held accountable. For generations, my community has coexisted with nature, while witnessing extraction and deforestation of our territories devastate wildlife, nature and people. Our existence is our resistance, when we uphold our Indigenous Rights we safeguard key ecosystems for the planet. We only have this decade to turn things around, yet governments are failing their responsibilities. COP15 in Montreal is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to agree a global deal for nature, and we need leaders to show up and deliver."

Recognising the dual crises the planet is facing, 84% of experts strongly agree that companies need to take more integrated approaches and that biodiversity loss needs to be addressed with the same urgency as climate change (83%). It was highlighted that with 80% of the world’s remaining terrestrial biodiversity safeguarded by Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IP and LCs), the transition to a green economy however must be inclusive and equitable. More than nine out of 10 experts believe that initiatives to protect and restore nature must account for the rights, knowledge and contributions of IP and LCs.

Chris Coulter, CEO, GlobeScan, commented: "Our research with consumers and experts across the world shows the shared urgency around protecting nature. There is a unique opportunity for companies to help develop solutions and advance collaboration with governments, communities, NGOs and scientists. We need everyone to contribute to more inclusive and integrated approaches that effectively address the loss of nature and biodiversity, climate change and social inequality." 


Notes to editors
Blue Zone, NGO press conference room: Luxor, Taba Area. RSVP to +44 777 565 2919
The following experts will be speaking:
  • Lucy Almond, Chair, Nature4Climate
  • Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International
  • Helena Gualinga, Ecuadorian youth leader and Amazon defender
  • Carlos Nobre, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead-author
Journalists joining virtually can view the press conference live or retrospectively HERE

Blue Zone, Nature Zone (Zone C, Hall 5, Stand P128) 
The following experts will be speaking:
  • Manuel Vidal Pulgar, Leader of WWF’s Climate and Energy Practice
  • Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director, Indigenous Information Network
  • Patrick Frick, CEO, Global Commons Alliance
  • Gino Van Begin, Secretary General, ICLEI
  • Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International
  • Mrinalini Rai, Executive Director, Women 4 Biodiversity 
  • Marlene Achoki, Policy Advocacy Lead on Climate Justice, CARE International 
  • Alexandra Masako Goossens-Ishii, Representative to the UN, Soka Gokkai International

For media requests and interviews please contact: 
Robin Harvey, WWF International, Media Relations Manager,

List of signatories to non-state actors call to action
Click here to reach the NSA statement and view the full list of signatories. 

About the survey data
The data used in this release was taken from key learnings and insights revealed in the “Navigating the Nature Agenda” research project which was conducted by GlobeScan and 26 companies around the world between November 2021 and May 2022. The Nature Agenda program was developed to help companies with developing and managing nature-based strategies, programs, and engagement. 

The research design included company and expert interviews (including a focus on Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), a quantitative survey of 423 expert stakeholders from 90 countries, and consumer research across 11 countries (Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, UK, and USA) between May 4 and June 6, 2022. 

Click here to download the survey
Click here to view country fact sheets - Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Mayalsia, the Philippines, South Africa, Mexico, UK, USA  

GlobeScan is a global insights and advisory consultancy with 35 years of experience working at the intersection of brand purpose, sustainability and trust. GlobeScan helps decision makers know their world and create strategies to lead a sustainable and equitable future.  Learn more: