Results 11 January webinar: Getting started in nature, biodiversity and finance
The webinar ‘Getting started in nature, biodiversity and finance’ (11 January) was one of the two webinars organised by the FfB Foundation in collaboration with UNEP FI, the PRI and the Finance@Biodiversity Community to kickstart 2022.
The basics of biodiversity and finance
This webinar aimed to support banks, institutional investors and insurers who are at the beginning of their journey in addressing nature loss. The webinar explained how nature is connected to climate change and finance and introduced a few key concepts and initiatives.
A warm welcome and introduction was given by Anna Karamat, Policy Officer at DG Environment, European Commission and Coordinator of the Platform, Gemma James, Biodiversity Lead of the PRI, and Anita de Horde, coordinator of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation. The need for innovations and strategic investments in nature was highlighted. To bring the finance community up to speed, it is crucial to understand the basic concepts of biodiversity, the connections between biodiversity and finance and what data and tools are available to assess the impacts and dependencies of their portfolio.
Annelisa Grigg from Global Balance, introduced the concepts of biodiversity, natural capital and ecosystem services, and the interlinkages between them. Biodiversity underlies the quality and resilience of natural capital, but is strongly in decline due to sea/land use change, climate change, pollution, invasive species, and resource exploitation. Annelisa highlighted that our economy depends on ecosystem services. The decline of biodiversity thus poses risks for corporates and finance, but also opportunities. Various tools and types of data that can be used by the finance sector were presented to get started with biodiversity and to identify biodiversity risks and impacts at a sovereign portfolio, and company level.
Following the above-mentioned introduction, a panel discussion took place between Davida Heller (Citi), Wendelin von Gravenreuth (MEAG), and Sonya Likhtman (the international business of Federated Hermes). The three panellists highlighted different ways in which financial institutions are dealing with the issue of biodiversity.
- At Citi, an environmental finance target was set of 500 billion by 2030. Whereas the bank previously focused primarily on climate impacts, biodiversity has now been added to its ESG materiality assessment, and circular economy and sustainable agriculture and land use were added as environmental finance criteria in 2020. This is creating room to look at biodiversity opportunities.
- At MEAG, investments in forestry and agriculture are made as a way to diversify portfolios. As economic results in forestry and agriculture are not so much linked to results in other sectors, these natural capital investments make portfolios more robust. Remote sensing, GIS and artificial intelligence offer new opportunities for monitoring biodiversity in forests.
- At the international business of Federated Hermes, biodiversity is addressed through engagement with companies. It should get the same weight in these discussions as climate change. Overall biodiversity engagement requests include good governance, measurement of impacts and dependencies, creating a corporate biodiversity strategy, committing to a net-positive target by 2030, and disclosure of biodiversity-related information.
The webinar concluded that, although data is not perfect and financial institutions are still learning, there are frameworks, measurement approaches and best practices available with which financial institutions can get started.
To continue, learn more about the webinar ‘New green shoots – the latest innovations in nature finance’ (6 January), one of the two webinars organised by the FfB Foundation in collaboration with UNEP FI, the PRI and the Finance@Biodiversity Community to kickstart 2022.