Canada's negotiators at the COP15 conference say business groups and financial institutions have a role to play in preserving the planet's biodiversity.

Basile van Havre, co-chair of one of the Montreal conference's working groups, says the private sector is looking for rules and certainty on the environmental effectiveness of its investments.

He says it's part of a larger push for performance standards that companies and investors can use to measure their activities against.

The conference, which is bringing more than 190 nations together, is entering its second day of hard talks on hard targets for saving the world's biodiversity.

Negotiators hope to reach an agreement on how to protect 30 per cent of Earth's land and water, as well as a deal on how to pay for that conservation.

Van Havre says business groups have learned from climate change discussions that they need a way to assess risks.

He points to a possible example of a company funding beef production that creates deforestation, which might not be a sustainable long-term investment.

"They want measures of risk so that they can target their investment the right way," van Havre said. "Guess what? That helps us.”

Although there is broad support for the overall goals at the conference, consensus remains elusive.

Financial institutions have a role to play in preserving #biodiversity: COP negotiator @BasilevanHavre. #COP15

Negotiators say about 900 so-called "brackets" — points that haven't yet been agreed on — remain in the draft text.

The conference runs until Dec. 19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2020.

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