This article was originally published on Business Green.


“The finance sector must urgently set evidence-based biodiversity targets in order to prevent its activity from fuelling the ongoing degradation of ecosystems and jeopardising the stability of the global economy, according to UN-backed research.

A report published today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Natural Capital Finance Alliance (NCFA) warns that few banks, insurers, and investors have frameworks in place to measure and address ongoing biodiversity loss.

There are nine sectors where financial players are critically exposed to biodiversity loss through their loans, investments and underwriting activities, according to the report. The industries deemed most at risk include both economic sectors that have major impacts on biodiversity – oil and gas, mining and goods distribution – and, conversely, tranches of the economy heavily dependent on ecosystem health for survival, such as the apparel, accessories and luxury goods sector, brewers, electric utilities, and independent power producers. The agriculture sector, which is simultaneously heavily dependent on biodiversity while a major contributor to its decline, was also highlighted as a high-risk sector.

The report, dubbed Beyond Business as Usual: Biodiversity Targets and Finance, recommends that financial institutions craft biodiversity targets tailored to each sector’s activity that could be met through ecosystem restoration, conservation, and the sustainable use of natural resources. The targets themselves, it suggested, could incorporate “no net loss” or “net gain” of biodiversity commitments.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of our exposure to and the risks created by the loss of nature,” Corli Pretorius, deputy director, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). “We urgently need all sectors of the economy to create better outcomes for people and nature. This report shows that banks, investors and insurers have a crucial part to play too. By making nature part of its decisions, and setting ambitious targets for biodiversity, the financial sector can reduce its risks and help to build a more resilient economy.””

Read on at: Business Green