At this month’s U.N. nature summit in Montreal, business representatives from the industry are participating alongside activists and negotiators from nearly 200 nations. The summit’s discussions on a global agreement to protect nature could result in stricter disclosure rules for companies.

Due to their significant negative effects on nature, including activities that can contaminate soil, pollute waterways, or pollute the air, industries like mining, agriculture, oil, and fashion are being closely examined at the COP15 talks. Momentum is growing for a proposal to make it mandatory for businesses to disclose their environmental harm as negotiators try to reach an agreement on conservation goals by the summit’s scheduled conclusion on December 19.

The Eurasia Group stated in a policy statement that a weak agreement without a global consensus on how companies should behave could also increase company costs by allowing for a patchwork of diverse biodiversity regulations and requirements that make compliance more challenging. Here are some examples of how the COP15 negotiations may impact important sectors:

Consumers and governments are putting pressure on the fashion and retail industries to cut waste and emissions across the board.

For them, a strong agreement that requires all businesses to disclose any harm would help allay some consumer worries. More than 330 businesses, including the Swedish fashion behemoth H&M Group, furniture maker IKEA, British pharmaceutical and biotech company GSK, and Nestle of Switzerland, supported a COP15 agreement that calls for mandatory disclosure of businesses’ environmental impacts by 2030 in a letter to world governments in October.

A disclosure requirement might be harder for smaller businesses to comply with because of their constrained resources for accounting and monitoring.

An environmental disclosure requirement for companies that mine metals and coal could compel them to disclose the effects of not only the drilling and blasting they conduct on-site, but also the logging and deforestation done to build access roads.

The primary objective of the COP15 talks, to reserve 30% of Earth’s land and ocean areas for conservation by 2030, has mining companies worried as well. That might affect regions with abundant resources for extraction.

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