Nature-related Data Catalyst | Terms of Reference
Background and scope
The first release (v0.1) of the TNFD beta framework in March 2022 included a data discussion paper that assessed the nature-related data and analytics landscape and identified a number of gaps and challenges.
While there is no shortage of nature-related data, there are acknowledged gaps and challenges which need to be addressed so that decision-makers across business and finance can use better quality and more comparable data efficiently and with confidence. The ultimate goal is to inform decisions on nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks and opportunities that support better strategy, governance risk management and capital allocation.
Improving the quality of location-specific data linked to company supply chains is particularly critical, as nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks and opportunities are location specific. Recognition of the importance of location and the understanding of place-based ecosystem condition sits at the heart of the TNFD framework and underscores the importance of geo-spatial data as part of the emerging data landscape for nature risk and opportunity analysis for both companies and financial institutions
The TNFD data and analytics assessment found that the current data landscape is heavily siloed with limited collaboration or transparency.
There are numerous different actors that can be broadly categorised among several key segments:
- Data aggregators, commercial providers of secondary data and analytic tool providers;
- Non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
- Governmental entities;
- Academic institutions developing taxonomies and measurement methodologies; and
- Companies advancing new technology and analytical approaches.
The landscape is rapidly changing with new entrants and developing technologies, and emerging collaboration among segments (e.g. NGOs and academia, commercial providers and academia etc.).
The Nature-related Data Catalyst will look to convene representatives of different actors from across the nature-related data landscape to address shortcomings in the current landscape of nature-related data, while also identifying and encouraging the development of, and access to, nature-related data, analytics and tools that can improve the ease, speed, and scale of adoption of the TNFD framework, once the Taskforce launches its full recommended framework in September 2023.
This is with the aim of:
- Catalysing greater data development and innovation where appropriate;
- Encouraging collaboration among market participants and actors in the data landscape;
- Facilitating a more standardised approach to data and analytics to aid future comparability of data for nature-risk analysts, TNFD-aligned report preparers and users; and
- Encouraging pilot testing of beta versions of the TNFD framework, with the aim of providing feedback on data specifically.
The Nature-related Data Catalyst will therefore also look to identify and define the data requirements relevant to the TNFD risk and opportunity management and disclosure framework, in order to provide a baseline for data relevance and credibility, while also identifying the desired future state of the nature-related data landscape. Key assessment criteria for the desired state of nature-related data include: accessibility; quality; format; relevance; consistency and transparency.
- Convene key actors around a common objective for data on nature-related risks and opportunities, including both improving existing tools and platforms and accelerating development of new tools and platforms.
- Establish a baseline for data relevance and credibility, while also identifying the desired future state;
- Identify areas for innovation where required to address gaps and overcome challenges;
- Encourage partnerships where appropriate, helping to unlock data and analytics enabling greater access;
- Set out guidance, in the TNFD’s final recommendations in September 2023, for data usage in populating metrics for the TNFD framework.
Activities for Catalyst participants
Catalyst participants will engage with each other and TNFD through a series of workshops, surveys and written responses to specific queries and asks from TNFD, in order to contribute to the below outputs.
- Data and analytics providers demonstrate through examples, case studies and pilots how their products can be applied to support assessment and disclosures through the TNFD framework, and provide feedback on beta versions, with a specific focus on data;
- Create a ‘how to’ guide developing common market terminology and understanding how data can be used to apply the TNFD framework (possibly using case studies);
- Unlock and enable collaborative and scalable data development across key elements of the TNFD framework:
- Spatially explicit data on business assets and investments including relevant attributes of those assets;
- Spatially explicit data on the state of environmental assets including ecosystem assets, and ecosystem services (condition and extent; and reference state);
- Value chain – identity and spatial location of a company’s suppliers and their operations, including attributes of what and how much is being sourced;
- Map data chains for metrics emerging in the TNFD approach to metrics and targets and develop one sector specific data chain case example per metric type (i.e., assessment metrics through to reporting metrics). Potentially, this could include data quality assessment of each data chain to guide financial institutions and corporates on what to be aware of in their data deployment e.g., low data update frequency, data coverage gaps etc.
- Enable to signpost to the relevant data and analytics tools and platforms for applying the TNFD framework such as – who are the key data providers? What are key data and analytics tools for applying the TNFD’s proposed LEAP approach for nature-related risk and opportunity assessment? What are they providing (input, output or integration data or analytics)? How can their quality be assessed?
- Identify data gaps and/or challenges with available data and develop an assessment or ranking of prioritization that focuses on enabling deployment of the TNFD framework, including the TNFD’s LEAP approach for nature-related risk and opportunity assessment and the TNFD’s draft disclosure recommendations. Identification of key actions and needs required to address the identified data gaps by regulators, data vendors, financial institutions and corporates.
Criteria for joining the catalyst
Entity to self-identify how they meet the following criteria:
- Be a member of the TNFD Forum (or in the process of joining the TNFD Forum) and aligned with the mission and principles of the TNFD.
- Existing provider or early-stage start-up of data, analytics, or workflow tools – not necessarily in the nature-related space, e.g. climate specialists may have functionality or technology adaptable for TNFD framework application purposes;
- Able to identify what elements of the TNFD’s proposed LEAP approach for nature-related risk and opportunity assessment and/or TNFD’s draft disclosure recommendations can be addressed with their product e.g. input, output or integrator;
- Willingness to collaborate within the catalyst for the greater good – comfortable sharing ideas and high-level methodologies on a pre-competitive basis and mindful of anti-trust requirements;
- Willingness and capacity to contribute proactively to three workshops at a minimum to be scheduled in Q3/Q4 2022 and written requests promptly;
- Willingness to volunteer time and resource – contribution to pilots, case studies, feedback on beta versions of TNFD framework etc.;
- Be representative of data landscape actors – coverage across segmentation and geographic regions.
Caveats / Controls
The Data Catalyst will be managed to prevent any discussions, or other inappropriate information exchange, between participants during moderated sessions (or more generally under the TNFD’s auspices) of pricing, commercials or other competitive or commercially sensitive aspects of the participants’ business in breach of applicable antitrust rules or guidance.
Participants in the Data Catalyst are equally responsible for ensuring they comply at all times with any relevant rules and guidance that may be applicable to them.
Participants in the Data Catalyst Initiative grant GFI PMO Ltd (on behalf of the TNFD) the right to use any information or data which a Participant or personnel of a Participant may provide through engagement in the Data Catalyst Initiative Activities in anyway it sees fit in furtherance of the TNFD’s aims, outcomes and objectives for the Data Catalyst Initiative as set out in these Terms of Reference.
For the avoidance of doubt, GFI PMO Ltd is the legal entity that was established to provide the operational elements of the TNFD secretariat and is a subsidiary company of the Green Finance Institute, the host of the TNFD Secretariat. Neither GFI PMO Ltd or its parent company, the Green Finance Institute, will use any of the information or data provided in the furtherance of any activity save for the purposes outlined in these Terms of Reference for the establishment of the Data Catalyst.
Each Participant agrees (and will ensure) that any information subject to intellectual property rights that it shares with other Participants in the course of the Activities can be used by the TNFD and/or other Participants to further TNFD’s aims, outcomes and objectives for the Data Catalyst Initiative as set out in these Terms of Reference. Where applicable, for the period of engagement with the Data Catalyst Initiative, each participant grants GFI PMO Ltd and all other Participants a non-exclusive, royalty free, non-transferable and non-sublicenable licence to use such information only to the extent necessary for, and for the sole purpose of carrying out the Activities.
GFI PMO Ltd waives all of its moral and intellectual property rights in any information, materials and/or methodologies which may arise from its role as facilitator of the Activities.
Participants may, individually or collaboratively by private agreement, during the course of their engagement with the Data Catalyst Initiative, assert intellectual property rights over any new information, materials and/or methodologies which may emerge as a result of their engagement in the Activities.
This section confers benefits on Participants, which will be enforceable by Participants against each other.
GFI PMO Ltd will not be liable to any Participant for any loss or damage which may arise as a result of another Participant’s use of any information shared by the first Participant or the personnel of the first Participant provided through engagement in the Activities.
Each Participant in the Data Catalyst owes a duty of confidence to GFI PMO Ltd and all other Participants and in return has the benefit of a duty of confidence owed to it by GFI PMO Ltd and all other Participants. This section confers obligations and benefits on Participants which are enforceable by Participants against each other.