Upcoming study to unveil biodiversity impacts and dependencies of global equity companies and sectors using footprinting data

26 February — The Finance for Biodiversity (FfB) Foundation, collaborating with four biodiversity footprinting providers, has initiated a study to calculate the biodiversity footprint of the nearly 3,000 companies from the MSCI All Country World Index (MSCI ACWI) universe. The study kicked off last month with the intention of analysing the impacts and dependencies of these companies and sectors, identifying potentially significant impacts and dependencies and the part of the value chain in which these exposures lie. It will be finalised by the second quarter of 2024. 

As a continuation of a similar pilot study conducted in 2023,  this new multi-tool study will provide a subset of normalised indicators to investors of the FfB Foundation, with currently 76 member financial institutions globally, for their company engagements, as well as to the investors that are part of the global collaborative engagement initiative Nature Action 100. The project aims to generate quality data that contributes to more effective accountability of corporations and incentivises corporate action.

Julen González Redín, Technical Director of the FfB Foundation and the project coordinator, says: “Building upon the success of our previous study, which focused solely on MSCI World Index companies and their biodiversity impacts, this new project widens its reach to include companies from both developed and developing markets. Moreover, this study enhances its focus by not only examining impacts at the corporate, pressure and scope levels, but also analysing dependencies, all while incorporating the latest updated data”.

The new study seeks to offer investors a nuanced understanding of the complex relationships between companies and biodiversity. A subset of normalised indicators will be provided to FfB Foundation and NA100 signatories, empowering them in their collaborative efforts to engage with companies. Additionally, a public report will be generated that explores dependencies and impacts at the sector, pressure, and scope levels. The report will include normalised, aggregated figures by sector, pressure and scope; not by company. This will allow investors and stakeholders to understand in more detail how different portfolio sectors may be exposed to risks and opportunities relating to their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity, and how these are distributed along the sectors’ value chain.

“This report will help promote a shared understanding among investors of biodiversity and its interactions with corporate activity”, says Steve Freedman (Pictet), the co-chair of the Impact Assessment working group of the FfB Foundation. 

The project, led by the FfB Foundation in partnership with consultancy Global Balance and with the support of the consultant Wildcap, brings together expertise from various sectors. The biodiversity footprinting tools and providers performing the analysis are:

  • Biodiversity Impact Analytics – Global Biodiversity Score (BIA-GBS) tool, co-owned by Carbon4 Finance and CDC Biodiversité
  • Corporate Biodiversity Footprint (CBF) tool, developed by Iceberg Data Lab in cooperation with I Care
  • Biodiversity Footprint for Financial Institutions (BFFI) tool, developed by ASN Bank, PRé Sustainability and CREM
  • Global Impact Database (GID) tool, developed by Impact Institute, a social enterprise and spin-off of True Price.

These four frontier footprinting tools calculate biodiversity footprints of corporations based on life cycle analysis (LCA), using a biodiversity model to estimate a company’s impact on biodiversity loss. Two of the tools —BIA-GBS and CBF— have developed approaches to assessing corporate and sector dependencies on ecosystem services based on the tool ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities and Exposure). Further information and case studies on these tools are presented in our recently published 3rd Edition of the Guide on Measurement Approaches, written by the FfB Foundation and the European Business & Biodiversity Platform (EU B&B).

This project has been funded by Global Commons Alliance´s Accountability Accelerator (GCAAA). 


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Partners of the study

Annelisa Grigg, Director and Sustainability Advisor at Global Balance, comments: “We hope that this work will allow FfB Foundation and NA100 signatories to access quantified data on impacts and dependencies to help move their collaborative engagement conversations with companies on biodiversity to a new level of sophistication”.


Arthur Campredon, Footprint Measurement Director at CDC Biodiversité, comments: “By exploring the biodiversity impacts and dependencies of investments in developed and developing markets, the multi-tool study approach establishes a robust foundation for informed and sustainable investment choices. Not only does it overcome known biases inherent in existing tools, but it also provides a comprehensive framework on the drivers of biodiversity loss, empowers investors with nuanced insights on priority sectors and guides their decisions towards biodiversity preservation”.


Virginie Wauquiez, CEO at Carbon4 Finance comments: “Carbon4 Finance works permanently to help financial actors qualify and quantify their impacts and dependencies on natural capital. Including the double materiality approach helps to provide comprehensive risk profiles for investors to engage more efficiently with companies. The partnership with Finance for Biodiversity Foundation is an opportunity for us to contribute  to the success of the Nature Action 100 engagement program and act on both developed and developing markets”.


Matthieu Maurin, CEO at Iceberg Data Lab, comments: “This project will update the result of the 2023 pilot study used to provide insights in terms of industries’ impacts on biodiversity. This 2024 study will incorporate enhanced methods of improving footprinting tools and in particular the Corporate Biodiversity Footprint to allow NA100 investors and FfB Foundation members to assess the double materiality of their investments. Iceberg Data Lab is thrilled to participate in this broader exercise to foster common ground among investors, comprehensive data coverage (e.g., supply chain and end-of-life impacts) and Science-Based approaches”.


Colette Grosscurt, Senior Consultant at PRé Sustainability, comments: “We hope the results of this study will help more investors in taking action towards investees to address their impact on biodiversity. By providing quantified insights in underlying drivers, such as land use, water consumption, pollution and many more this will help focus conversations on material challenges and solutions”.


Adrian de Groot Ruiz, CEO and co-founder of Impact Institute: “We are very pleased to be asked by FfB Foundation to collaborate on gaining quantitative insights in the relation of companies with biodiversity. This project will reveal the most impactful companies and sectors and provide levers for investors to engage with corporates. We are looking forward to bringing our methodology to life on the MSCI ACWI universe”.


Natacha Matic, Executive Director, Accountability Accelerator of the Global Commons Alliance (GCA) comments: “This multitool study will provide information and data required by investor signatories to NA100 and FfB Foundation to engage with companies and set targets to improve their performance. This collaborative engagement and the data it will produce are key for better alignment of financial flows and more effective accountability. At the Accountability Accelerator, we look for and support organisations working on developing and implementing tools that strengthen corporate accountability for nature”.

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