Finance for Biodiversity Foundation COP15 Journal
In a series of News Updates dedicated to COP15, taking place in Montréal from 7 to 19 December, we kept you informed on the activities of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation and on key outcomes concerning finance topics during the negotiations.
Discover the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation News Updates dedicated to COP15:
- 2 Dec 2022 #1 – Our activities at COP15
- 9 Dec 2022 #2 – Meet us at COP15
- 16 Dec 2022 #3 – Finance sector mobilisation at COP15
- 19 Dec 2022 #4 – Agreement reached at COP15
A lot has happened during the two weeks in Montréal. Inspiring panels, discussions, presentations, booth meetings, and hallway conversations. Our COP15 journal offers a day-to-day recap.
Discover the presentations held at the Booth of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation during COP15:
- ‘Cassowary Credits‘ on accelerating investment into forest restoration in the Wet Tropics, by Terrain, 17 December 2022
- Investors Policy Dialogue on Deforestation (IPDD) initiative presented by Storebrand AM, 15 December 2022
- Biodiversity Crisis: How much Nature is left?‘ by Doug Gurr, Director of the UK National History Museum, invited by Federated Hermes Limited, 13 December 2022
- Overview of the eco.business Fund, presented by Director Lloyd Stevens, 13 December 2022
- Biodiversity Report presented by Aviva plc, 12 December 2022
- Reuters: Investor group launches campaign to help companies protect nature, 11 December 2022
- ESG Clarity: COP15: Investors press for an ‘ambitious’ path to reverse nature loss, 13 December 2022
- Responsible Investor: COP15: Investors ‘have no choice’ on engaging with nature, 16 December 2022
- Financial Times: COP15: investors turn up to UN nature summit for the first time, 17 December 2022
- Responsible Investor: COP15 deal should make financial regulators ‘sit up and listen’, 19 December 2022
- ESG Investor: More relief than regret as Montreal fails to make it mandatory, 21 December 2022
19 Dec: ‘Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework’
Today, governments reached an agreement on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at the CBD COP15 in Montreal. The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation is overall positive on the text and comments on the elements in the text that refer to the finance sector and businesses.
These parts of the framework closely reflect the position we have advocated for. Financial institutions have a critical role to play in halting and reversing biodiversity loss, so it’s brilliant to see this articulated in the agreement. All eyes must now turn towards implementation at the national level and across all sectors of the economy.
18 Dec: Release of the non-paper on item 9A
The Chinese COP15 President released a non-paper on item 9A, about which the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation felt overall positive.
17 Dec: Closing plenary statement
On 17 December, Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management spoke on behalf of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation in the Closing Plenary with ministers at COP15 in Montreal. He stressed that the final agreement should include aligning public and private financial flows with the framework and will have strong references to disclosure requirements for corporates and financial institutions and leveraging private biodiversity finance as one of the solutions for closing the finance gap on nature. He also argued that strong implementation of the framework is needed on national levels in order to green finance as well as financing green and that as an ambitious group of financial institutions, we are looking forward to supporting governments in these efforts.
The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation hosted in its Booth a conversation with Terrain, on accelerating investment into forest restoration in the Wet Tropics through their project ‘Cassowary Credits‘.
In the morning, a lively discussion was organised at the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation Booth by Vice-Chair Mary Beth Gallagher from Domini Impact Investments LLC, on biodiversity and the rights of indigenous people.
15 Dec: High Level Segment Opening
Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO Storebrand Asset Management, represented the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation in the High-Level Segment Opening Plenary of COP15. He called for the Global Biodiversity Framework to clearly mention the alignment of financial flows from all sources with biodiversity goals and targets.
In the morning, FfB member Storebrand AM hosted the booth of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation. They presented the Investors Policy Dialogue (IPDD) that they established, a collaborative investor-led initiative to engage with public agencies and industry associations in selected countries on the issue of deforestation.
14 Dec: Finance and Biodiversity Day
The ‘Finance and Biodiversity Day’ started with a breakfast meeting during which ministers spoke with CEOs of Finance for Biodiversity Pledge signatories about the Global Biodiversity Framework. We had the honour to organise this breakfast meeting together with the UN CBD Secretariat. It included a welcome by Elizabeth Mrema and a key note by Mark Carney.
The ‘Finance and Biodiversity Day’ was the first ever in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (COP15).
The event structured an effective multi-stakeholders space for dialogue on key topics of the Global Biodiversity Framework negotiations. It enabled private actors to express their ambition, but also their needs from governments to create an enabling environment based on effective measures to reverse nature loss. The latter is absolutely necessary for corporates and financials institutions to take their part in the mobilisation of resources necessary for the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
Key topics included:
- The central concept of alignment of financial flows, from all sources, with biodiversity goals and targets;
- The “historic” volume of investment necessary to protect biodiversity;
- The importance of redirecting harmful subsidies, which currently create market distortions and contradictory incentives in all economic sectors;
- The role of disclosures, as essential building blocks to ensure transparency and effective decision-making;
- The social aspects linked to the governance of financing processes, such as gender equality and the inclusion of indigenous and local communities, but also sharing of access and benefits.
The discussions highlighted that resources mobilisation is discussed in terms of amounts, as well as in terms of process, accessibility, and efficiency in front of the urgency of biodiversity loss.
Key announcements included:
- The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) announced to advance work on natural ecosystem – Read more
- The German government announced major new funding for the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) over the next seven years – Read more
- The International Development Finance Club (IDFC) acknowledged its potential to mobilise more than $100 billion of biodiversity finance by 2027 – Read more
During the ‘Finance and Biodiversity Day’, the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation booth was transformed into a studio to film statements from high-level representatives from some of its members. They called on global leaders to agree on effective measures to reverse nature loss at COP15. Discover the statements from Amanda Blanc, Group CEO of Aviva, Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, Sarah Chapman, Global Chief of Sustainable of Manulife Investment Management, and Eoin Murray, Head of Investment of Federated Hermes Limited.
Moreover, the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge welcomed 15 new signatories! Thanks for their support to AP3, Tredje AP-fonden/Third Swedish National Pension Fund, avesco Sustainable Finance, Blue Horizon, Danske Bank, Desjardins Gestion internationale d’actifs, Desjardins Investments, Helios.do, JGP, Montpensier Finance, SWEN Capital Partners, Tribe Impact Capital, UBP – Union Bancaire Privée, UniCredit, Varma, and WHEB.
The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation was honoured to see many experts and financial institution speaking during the ‘Finance and Biodiversity Day’ of COP15. We congratulate them for their mobilisation as well as the UN CBD Secretariat for the organisation of the event.
- See the agenda and recordings of the full Finance and Biodiversity Day here.
- See the proposed Plan for Action to align finance with the GBF here.
Discover our video-highlight of the day, including the call for ambitions from high-level finance sector representatives:
13 Dec: Business Forum Days
The ‘Business and Biodiversity’ Forum started with a Plenary on ‘Financing a Sustainable Future’. In this context, the Statement from the Financial Sector ‘Moving Together with Nature‘ was presented, which had been drafted by the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, UNEP FI and the PRI. The statement has been signed by 150 private financial institutions. They committed to work within their own organizations to support the effective alignment of the proposed vision of ‘Living in Harmony with Nature by 2050’ from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Statement furthermore calls on governments worldwide to adopt a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework for economic actors, including financial institutions, to take action to halt and reverse nature loss. Investors are calling on governments to adopt measures within the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) which would set a clear mandate for the alignment of financial flows with the preservation of global biodiversity, like Article 2.1(C) did within the Paris Agreement. An ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework should also support the assessment and disclosure of nature-related impacts and dependencies; and provide clear targets and definitions to take action and support the development of a pipeline of nature-positive projects and investments.
In the morning, eco.business Fund hosted the booth of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation with a presentation by Lloyd Stevens, Director at Finance in Motion. Discover an overview of eco.business Fund.
FfB Foundation member Marie-Hélène Lafond (Fondaction) addressed the COP15 plenary to present the Biodiversity Indicators project for investors in Quebec. Caisse de Dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Fondaction, the Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP Québec), the Center for Science of Biodiversity of Québec (CSBQ) and the University of Sherbrooke came together around a research project that aims to produce a series of biodiversity indicators specific to the territory and to investors in Quebec.
- (French) Découvrez ce projet collaboratif de développement d’indicateurs de biodiversité pour les investisseurs québécois ici
FfB Foundation members Emine Isciel (Storebrand) and Kiran Sehra (Aviva) spoke at an event on Target 15 and stressed the need for mandatory disclosure, harmonised standards and ecosystem collaboration to accelerate business action on nature. The event was organised by Capitals Coalition, Business for Nature, CDP, the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, and partners.
“Mandatory disclosure will help the alignment of financial flows with the goals and targets of the GBF.” Emine Isciel, Storebrand
“As investors we need disclosure to understand which companies are taking action and making progress on nature, so that we can make well-informed investment decisions.” Kiran Sehra, Aviva
During the afternoon, member financial institution Federated Hermes Limited hosted the Finance for Biodiversity booth. They organised a presentation by Doug Gurr, Director of the UK National History Museum on ‘Biodiversity Crisis: How much Nature is left?‘.
At the start of the closing session for the Business and Biodiversity Forum, global luxury group Kering and premium and sustainable cosmetics company L’OCCITANE Group announced their teaming up to create the Climate Fund for Nature. The fund will be managed by FfB Foundation member Mirova, the affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers fully dedicated to sustainable investing.
Climate Asset Management, a joint-venture between FfB Foundation member HSBC Global Asset Management and Pollination AM, announced its initial closings. Natural Capital and Nature Based Carbon strategies receive over $650 million from a range of investors for Natural Capital projects globally.
12 Dec: Business Forum Days
In the afternoon, FfB member Aviva hosted the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation booth. It was an occasion for them to present their recent published Biodiversity Report.
Anne-Marie Bor, Finance for Biodiversity Foundation Co-Founder and Coordinator, spoke at the Global Commons Alliance event where the Global Commons Accountability Accelerator (GCAAA) was launched. The GCAA is mapping the entire accountability landscape to understand and then close the gaps and potential loopholes that would allow companies to say one thing and do another when it comes to nature-positive action.
On this occasion, Anne-Marie de Bor and Anita de Horde commented: “We enthusiastically welcome the official launch of the Accountability Accelerator. It was a great honor for us to be one of the first organizations to receive support. With that support, we’ve been able to successfully set up the collaborative investor engagement initiative Nature Action 100 together with a group of leading investors. We are looking forward to build further progress, collaborate on driving companies and financial institutions to reverse nature loss, and fill the gaps to create a strong accountability architecture.”
In the evening, the professionals from the 26 financial institutions part of the Finance Biodiversity Foundation delegation shared a meal at a reception to meet and share perspectives.
11 Dec: Finance Focus Day
The energy and the ambition of the public and private financial sector at COP15 is impressive. Real challenges need to be overcome in the face of nature-loss urgency, but bold solutions are emerging.
To participate in the work towards an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework and to increase funding for nature, the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation organised three sessions during Finance Focus Day:
1. Opening plenary for the launch of Nature Action100, a new collaborative engagement initiative with Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, Ceres, Planet Tracker and Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).
2. Panel on ‘Biodiversity Impacts and Dependencies assessments in the Finance sector – The time to act is now’ co-organised with Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF), UNEP FI and Capitals Coalition. On this occasion, the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation launched the guide ‘Act Now! The why and how of biodiversity integration by financial institutions‘.
3. Discussion on ‘Aligning financial flows with the goals of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework’ based on our dedicated position paper (part 3).
We are thankful to the professionals that spoke in our sessions, helping us to inspire the entire financial community to reverse nature loss in this decade: Kiran Sehra, Clinton Adas, Roel Nozeman, Emine Isciel, Sonya Likhtman, Onno van den Heuvel, Arthur Campredon, Romie Goedicke, Sylvaine Rols, Wijnand Broer, Martin Lok, Emily McKenzie, Elizabeth Aceituno, and Sebastian Bekker.
10 Dec: Second part of the Opening plenary
Sonya Likhtman, Co-Chair of our Public Policy Advocacy working group, represented the Finance for Biodiversity in the second part of the Opening Plenary of COP15. She called for ambitious outcomes, focusing on Goal D, Target 14 and Target 15. Read the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation COP15 Opening Statement.
FfB Foundation member Peter van der Werf (Robeco), Advisory Board Chair Suresh Weerasinghe (Aviva) and Co-Founder and Coordinator Anne-Marie Bor presented the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation to interested parties, around a discussion on ‘How can financial institutions start acting on nature?’
Clinton Adas (HSBC) spoke as a member of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation at a COP15 side-event on ‘How nature-related standards and disclosures are guiding investors and insurers’, organised by UNEP FI.
The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation was a partner in the event ‘Reforming by redirecting all environmental harmful subsidies for a nature positive future‘ led by Capitals Coalition and WBCSD.
Currently, $1.8 trillion is spent every year on environmentally harmful subsidies, a figure that is many times higher than the amount of government funding used to protect biodiversity. These types of support distort prices and resource allocation and investment decisions, altering the patterns of production and consumption in the economy, increasing externalities and costs for society to reverse nature loss and clean up pollution.
Suresh Weerasinghe (Aviva) gave a key note and Lachlam Cameron (Finance in Motion) talked in our first side event ‘Alignment of financial flows: channeling public and private financial flows towards nature’ organised together with the International Development Finance Club (IDFC).
7 Dec: First part of the Opening Plenary
Marie-Hélène Lafond (Fondaction) represented the FfB Foundation in the Opening Plenary on the ‘Finance’ seat.
6 Dec: COP15 Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony of COP15 highlighted the key role and importance of indigenous culture in the protection of biodiversity. This was illustrated with artistic representations. It was also the occasion to share messages on the urgency of nature loss.
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for ambition and encouraged consensus for an agreement on the Global Biodiversity Framework. He confirmed the adhesion of Canada to the commitment of 30% of lands protected by 2030, and pledged another 350 m $CAD to fund the protection of biodiversity.
- UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres sent an alarming message on the current situation of the world, about humanity becoming ‘a weapon of mass destruction’, that is ‘treating nature like a toilet’. He condemned a ‘suicide by proxy’ if no ambitious agreement and urgent actions were to be taken. He also proposed a ‘Peace Pact for Nature’, based on bold action plans across all governments, including the redirection of harmful subsidies, the increase of positive investments, and the protection of local communities’ rights. He called for private actors to protect the natural capital that economy depends upon. To do so, he asked for strict mandatory disclosures across the entire value chains. Finally, he stated that countries from the North must help countries from the South, notably by ensuring better funds accessibility.
- Mayor of Montréal Valérie Plante insisted on the capacity of action and implementation at the city level. She is part of the network C40 and presented its initiative ‘Urban Nature Campaign‘.
3-5 Dec: Open-Ended Working Group
Sonya Likhtman (Federated Hermes Limited), Co-Chair of our Public Policy working group, participated in the OEWG-5 to follow the discussions to resolve the ‘bracketed text’ in the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) from Saturday until Monday.
- The idea is that as much as possible needed to be agreed here, at the technical level;
- Everything that could not be agreed will go to COP15 to be discussed at the political level;
- Calls from OEWG Co-Chairs for spirit of compromise and flexibility at this stage in the process, so that an agreement can be reached;
- Not discussed in the Open Ended Working Group, most likely it can only be agreed at the political level
- Most discussion focused on whether to keep the list of sectors in the target
- At the moment, this target will need to go to COP15 for further discussion
- Still a significant amount of text in brackets and many moving parts and proposals (e.g. which businesses, mandatory requirements, risks)
Overall sentiment and our position
- There are still many sticking points and challenges in seeking consensus
- Our main point on the alignment of public and private financial flows is reflected in Target 14 and will hopefully remain in Goal D
- Target 15, on disclosure of impacts and dependencies, remains quite confused, with lots of competing views and unresolved text
Special thanks to our sponsors who made our presence at COP15 possible