Attending COP15 - The United Nations Biodiversity Conference

Svarmi was represented by Kolbeinn Hilmarsson, CEO, and Silvia Garcia Martinez, COO & Chief Sustainability Officer at COP15 in Montreal. In this short article they mention a few highlights from their time there.

The Experience

As first-time attendees of a COP conference, we were excited to arrive in Montreal for COP 15, the UN Biodiversity Conference in December 2022. The main goal of the conference was to agree on a new Global Biodiversity Framework, a subject that aligns with my personal and professional goal of promoting the role of nature and biodiversity in corporate decision making.

Business & Finance at Center Stage

Upon arrival, we immediately noticed a special atmosphere at the conference. Despite that this was the first time in a while we were back to wearing masks, the energy and engagement among attendees was high and the energy upbeat and positive. We were particularly impressed by the level of participation from business leaders and the finance sector, who have historically been under-represented in the dialogue around nature and biodiversity, which has often focused on local and national government action. The role of corporates will be critical in nature restoration and it was really positive to see such a high engagement with the private sector throughout the conference.

Prior to the conference we had signed the Business4Nature pledge to #makeitmandatory. The pledge calls for nature disclosures to be made mandatory for companies, an important step in ensuring that business decisions take into account the impact of corporate operations on nature and biodiversity.

It was exciting to see the final text of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) taking shape throughout the conference as sessions progressed and new ideas came to the fore. The Framework, particularly Target 15, pushes companies to

"Take legal, administrative or policy measures to encourage and enable businesses (and in particular to ensure that large and transnational companies and financial institutions):
(a) Regularly monitor, assess, and transparently disclose their risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity including with requirements for all large as well as transnational companies and financial institutions along their operations, supply and value chains and portfolios;
(b) Provide information needed to consumers to promote sustainable consumption patterns, and
(c) Report on compliance with access and benefit-sharing regulations and measures, as applicable; in order to progressively reduce negative impacts on biodiversity, increase positive impacts, reduce biodiversity-related risks to business and financial institutions, and promote actions to ensure sustainable patterns of production."

(Source: Official CBD Press release,

While the phrasing of Target 15 of the framework could have been more assertive, we are confident that the actions of leading corporations and financial institutions, in conjunction with regulations such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, are accelerating progress towards a future in which all companies include nature impact in their financial disclosures.


Overall, our experience was incredibly enlightening and inspiring. The opportunity to engage with people from all over the world working towards a common goal of protecting biodiversity was very rewarding. We left the conference with a deeper understanding of the important role that businesses play in conservation efforts as well as the importance of sustainable utilisation of natural resources, and a renewed sense of determination to take action.