Financial Institutions Urge Governments to Adopt Formal Measures to Preserve Biodiversity

One hundred and fifty financial institutions called upon world leaders meeting at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 in mid-December to adopt a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework requiring economic entities to take action to stop and reverse nature loss.

The formal statement, which was coordinated by Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, and the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, attempts to address the damaging human impact on the environment. More than one million plant and animal species are currently threatened with extinction, the highest number in history.

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“Climate change and biodiversity loss are inextricably linked challenges, which present systemic risk for investors. Through this Statement, the investment community itself has demonstrated a commitment to support global efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. It is essential for governments to adopt an enabling global biodiversity framework so that all economic actors may move together on nature,” said David Atkin, PRI’s Chief Executive Officer.

Firms who signed on to the statement include AXA Group, Legal and General Investment Management, Manulife Financial Corporation, Fidelity International, Groupe La Banque Postale, Shinhan Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management, and UBS Bank, together representing $24 trillion in assets under management.

More than half of the world’s total gross domestic product is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its ecosystems, according to a 2020 report from the World Economic Forum, and biodiversity loss of today’s severity threatens global growth and financial security.

A prior report, written in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services, warned that such loss must be halted and reversed by 2030 and on its way to recovery by 2050.

The measures outlined in this most recent framework would have governments setting clear mandates for syncing financial flows with biodiversity preservation. It is similar to the Paris Agreement’s Article 2.1, which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. The framework would support the assessment and disclosure of nature-related impacts and offer clear direction for taking action, including developing projects that support the environment.