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Oct 26, 2023

Is TNFD serving the interests of all companies, or just the largest?

Some groups have raised concerns that the recommendations may be clouded by vested interests

Many of those reading this will have spent no small amount of time poring over the latest recommendations of the new Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), published at Climate Week NYC last month.

The recommendations attempt to set out a cohesive template for companies to report on their impact on biodiversity throughout their operations, supply chains and portfolios at a time when the world is starting to show signs of distress due to human activity. Starkly reduced crop yields, growing water scarcity, more extreme weather patterns: evidence of these is clear to see.

This is not news to most people. World Economic Forum managing director Dominic Waughray warned back in 2020 that ‘damage to nature from economic activity can no longer be considered an ‘externality’ [when] exposure to nature loss is both material to all business sectors and an urgent risk to our collective future economic security’

A good move, then? It seems to be. After all, the impact of the TNFD’s predecessor – the TCFD – has been felt worldwide, its recommendations made mandatory by regulators from Tokyo to London.

But there are voices of dissent. Some have warned that the 40 taskforce members – which hold more than $20 tn between them – are representatives only of the globe’s biggest corporations and financial institutions, and that their ability to set what will likely become rules governing all firms may be marred by conflicts of interest. TNFD co-chairs Elizabeth Maruma Mrema and David Craig have repeatedly said they would like the framework to become mandatory.

Some, including nonprofit groups such as Rainforest Action Network, Global Witness and Greenpeace, say companies have been given too much slack regarding nature-related legal action taken against them, leading to the potential for greenwashing.

It also shifts the onus for the work of preserving nature onto corporates, rather than regulators or governments. Perhaps that’s correct but I know that, for many of our readers, it will represent a significant disclosure undertaking. Unlike carbon reporting, there is no single metric that can measure ‘biodiversity’.

The need to grapple with the recommendations is urgent, however, and explains why so many of our readers are interested in finding out more. Happily, there are learned voices to guide your way, such as Jessica McDougall, the latest guest of The Ticker podcast and a former BlackRock director. Find out more about what she recommends here.

In the meantime, we will continue to report on the latest developments and advice as they come out. If you have any views on TNFD you’d like to share with us, then do get in touch via LinkedIn, or email me at

Laurie Havelock

Laurie has been part of the IR Magazine team for more than a decade, starting out as a reporter and research editor before becoming editor in 2023. He was previously acting business editor at the i newspaper and deputy business editor at The Daily...