It’s been almost a year since the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) was adopted at COP15 in Montreal. A third of the GBF’s targets cited respecting Indigenous peoples and including them in decision-making.

Ever since, companies have been wondering about their role in engaging local communities — especially as many have troubled histories. How can they become better allies?

Native people comprise only 5 percent of the global population, but they protect 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, according to World Bank data published in Australia’s 2021 State of the Environment report.

Over a third of the world’s intact forests are within Indigenous peoples’ lands alongside other protected areas that store significant amounts of carbon and preserve biodiversity. Yet, they receive only a fraction of conservation funding. Even when funds are earmarked for Indigenous land conservation, the communities themselves only receive 17 percent of funding, according to Rainforest Foundation Norway and the Rights and Resources Initiative.

At the same time, Indigenous peoples continue to struggle to obtain land rights for their traditional territories and face illegal resource exploitation, encroachment and discrimination. Empowering them could therefore be a scalable way to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises.

These recommendations draw on conversations at our recent biodiversity event, Bloom 23.

  1. Do the research
  2. Build unconditional relationships
  3. Work on an equal footing
  4. Amplify their voices
  5. Tap into existing resources

Read the full article about building relationships with Indigenous peoples by Theresa Lieb at GreenBiz.