Aligning financial flows with biodiversity goals and targets
On 16 february 2022, the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation launched a position paper with suggestions for the draft Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) in preparation of the 15th meeting of the UN Biodiversity Conference of the Parties (COP15). The position paper emphasises that it is insufficient to think about financial flows only as an implementation mechanism and urges Member States to also ensure that the GBF is a policy aim for both for government action and for financial market actors.
Sonya Likhtman (International business of Federated Hermes), co-chair of the Public Policy Advocacy working group, says: “COP15 presents an opportunity for transformative change to address the biodiversity crisis. Establishing an ambitious GBF is key. To be successful, it must highlight the necessary actions to be taken by all stakeholders, including the financial sector, to urgently halt and reverse biodiversity loss”.
Explicit goals and targets for financial institutions
Article 2.1.c of the Paris Agreement was an important milestone for the financial sector. This article referred to aligning financial flows to the pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. In a similar way, the GBF should include an explicit goal for financial institutions and businesses to align financial flows to global biodiversity goals and targets. It is important not only to focus on increasing recourses for nature, but also to mention that harmful financial flows need to be reversed.
“Financial institutions are increasingly aware that, alongside climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the related decline in ecosystem services are creating risks to businesses and increasing systemic risk for the financial system. An enabling policy environment that supports financial institutions in better managing the risks and capitalising on the opportunities is key,” says Emine Isciel (Storebrand Asset Management), co-chair of the Public Policy Advocacy working group of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation.
Growing movement committed to biodiversity
There is a growing movement of financial institutions that are committed to protecting and restoring biodiversity via their own investments and finance activities. In total, 84 financial institutions representing 18 countries and over 12.6 trillion euros in assets signed the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge in 2021. In September 2021 the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation launched a Financial Institution Statement COP15 together with Ceres with 78 financial institutions on how a regulatory environment is needed to enable the finance sector to address biodiversity-related risks and opportunities.
CBD meeting in Geneva
The paper will be input for the GBF which will be discussed during the working group meetings of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) in Geneva from the 14th to 29th of March 2022. The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation will be joining these meetings as an official observer.
In July 2021 the CBD secretariat launched the Financial Sector Guide for the Convention on Biological Diversity, together with the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, Business for Nature, the PRI and UNEP FI on how to engage in the CBD-process towards COP15.