Five things we learned at GLOBE Forum in Vancouver

What do you get when you bring together more than 1200 sustainability-obsessed conservationists, policymakers and businesspeople? A lot of goodwill, good ideas and good energy to take on the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.

GLOBE Forum 2024 took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre over three solutions-focused days in February. WWF-Canada was there alongside experts from Aviva Canada, the presenting partner of our Nature and Climate Grant Program and our co-sponsor of GLOBE Forum’s Restoring and Protecting Nature track.

Two women on white chairs at GLOBE Forum in Vancouver.
Megan Leslie, President and CEO of WWF-Canada, and Angela Kane, CEO of Secwépemcul’ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society, at GLOBE Forum 2024 in Vancouver. © GLOBE Series

Together, we hosted a crucial discussion about the importance of Indigenous-led conservation, held a standing-room-only session in which we brought our new Action Plan for Business and Biodiversity to life, and helped lead a workshop equipping delegates with practical changes they can make to put their orgs on the path to nature-positivity. We also met terrific people who shared meaningful moments.

But that’s only part of the story.

We asked some attendees from WWF-Canada and Aviva Canada to reflect on their key learnings from the event. Here’s a bit of what they had to share.

Lesson 1: Biodiversity has hit the mainstream

“My takeaway is that we’ve hit a turning point when it comes to businesses understanding biodiversity. When WWF would first attend GLOBE, the response to our talks about biodiversity was, basically, ‘That’s nice, but what does this have to do with us?’ Things have changed so much since then — I mean, the whole theme was The Future is Regenerative! And we had so much interest in our business and biodiversity workshop. It’s really great to see.”
Megan Leslie, President and CEO, WWF-Canada

A man in a suit with a woman seen from behind both sitting in white chairs.
BC Premier David Eby during an armchair dialogue with WWF-Canada’s President and CEO Megan Leslie © GLOBE Series

Lesson 2: Politicians have a duty to speak up

“I was struck by B.C. Premier David Eby’s bold remarks in his mainstage conversation with Megan Leslie. He said, ‘in my opinion, because British Columbians are on the frontlines of these impacts — the smoky summers, the floods, the heat domes more than other parts of Canada — we are also well positioned to understand why we need to do the work and show climate leadership.’ On one hand, he can’t ignore this reality; the province of B.C. and the municipalities within it are facing real risks as a result of the biodiversity and climate crises. But on the other, we’re seeing those impacts across the country, and most governments continue to tap-dance around climate impacts. I think Premier Eby’s remarks showed real political leadership.”
—Elizabeth Hendriks, Vice President, Restoration and Regeneration, WWF-Canada

Lesson 3: Businesses want to help

Elizabeth Hendriks, Vice President, Restoration and Regeneration at WWF-Canada and Alex Portman, Head of Corporate Partnerships at WWF-Canada, at GLOBE Forum 2024 in Vancouver. © WWF-Canada

“It was inspiring to see the sustainability community come together at GLOBE Forum 2024 to advance ideas and partnerships towards a regenerative future. At WWF-Canada, we’ve been working to highlight the urgent need to tackle biodiversity loss, alongside climate change, as the most pressing issue for the future of our planet. We were glad to hear from others, particularly in the business community, that there is a growing interest in biodiversity, and a strong willingness to take action through meaningful, impactful partnerships. Now is the time we need our corporate partners to take bold and decisive action towards a regenerative future.”
Alex Portman, Head of Corporate Partnerships, WWF-Canada

Lesson 4: Small and medium businesses need sustainability support, too

“I think the most important thing I learned at GLOBE Forum was about the disconnect between expectations developing around corporate sustainability and capacity of small and medium businesses (SMBs) to meet that demand. In some sessions, we heard large corporations talk about pursuing nature-positive and net-zero policies or the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure while in other rooms, we heard about government investments in the Great Bear Project Finance for Permanence or the Watershed Security Fund. But seldom did the B.C. governance initiatives intersect with the global financial landscape.

For small and medium businesses, this left them wondering what can they do? How do the B.C. and First Nations government initiatives help them be competitive in a global marketplace that seems to be putting ever-increasing value on biodiversity? The demand for nature-positive actions seems to be coming from multiple directions and tools are needed to help small- and medium-sized business fulfill that demand.”
—James Casey, Senior Specialist, Restoration & Regeneration, WWF-Canada

Lesson 5: The opportunity is massive

“The biggest thing I’m taking away is that there’s increasing recognition of the intersection of challenges and opportunities — and if we can solve climate and biodiversity at the same time, the impact is going to be huge.”

—Paul Fletcher, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Aviva Canada

Kathrin Majic, SVP Development, WWF-Canada, moderating a session at GLOBE Forum 2024 in Vancouver on business and biodiversity with speakers Paul Fletcher, Chief corporate affairs officer at Aviva Canada, Emma Race, Senior director, Sustainability & Social Impact at Loblaw Companies Ltd., and Daniel O’Brien, Partner, Sustainable strategy and transformation, PwC Canada. © Laurence C. Desrosiers / WWF-Canada

We’re excited to incorporate what we learned at GLOBE Forum 2024 in our work to reverse biodiversity loss, fight climate change, and support the priorities of our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners.

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