UNEP FI’s work under the thematic area of ecosystems management includes all areas of natural capital, such as biodiversity, ecosystem services, sustainable land use and water issues. The work covers the entire finance sector, cutting across banking, investment and insurance.

As global pressures from economic and demographic changes increase, and over-exploitation of renewable natural resources continue, businesses and providers of capital or risk coverage face growing challenges. Ecosystem goods and services such as food, raw materials and fresh water can be seen as the returns from natural capital stocks, which need to be maintained in order to sustain future flows of natural resource and the resilience of the physical conditions that underpin the economy and society. Policy innovation and market-based mechanisms are emerging to create an enabling environment for financial institutions to contribute to the transition to an inclusive, environmentally sustainable and resilient economic system.

UNEP FI’s commitment to biodiversity and ecosystem services emerged partly as a response to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) CoP 8 decisions in 2006 on private sector engagement which stated that parties “invite businesses and relevant organizations and partnerships, such as the Finance Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme, to develop and promote the business case for biodiversity, to develop and promote the wider use of good practice guidelines, benchmarks, certification schemes and reporting guidelines and standards, in particular performance standards in line with the 2010 indicators, to share information on biodiversity status and trends, and to prepare and communicate to the Conference of the Parties any voluntary commitments that will contribute to the 2010 target.”

The thematic are has a long history of producing cutting edge research and innovation, and continues to push the boundaries of incorporating natural capital dependencies and impacts into financial sector decision making by developing tools and building capacity.

GOVERNANCE

The ecosystems thematic is governed by the UNEP FI GSC and AGM. A thematic working group consisting of one representative from each sector (banking, investment, insurance) together with a senior UNEP representative provides guidance and oversight to the work and incorporates it into the work programme of the committees.

  • ERISC Phase II Webinar: How food prices link environmental constraints to sovereign credit risk

    12 October 2016 | Webinar Find out which sovereign bonds are most exposed to the additional risks posed by environmental constraints and climate change, according to a recent report published by UNEP FI and Global Footprint Network. Join the next ERISC webinar on 12th October: 4:00 PM CEST / 10:00 AM EDT / 7:00 AM […]

  • Environmental Risk and Sovereign Bonds – ERISC II launch event

    18 May 2016 | London, UK Environmental Risk and Sovereign Bonds: Beyond Climate ChangeReport Launch and Panel Discussion Global Footprint Network, UNEP Finance Initiative, and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services would like to invite you to a launch event in London on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, to announce the results of new research on the […]

  • UNEP-FI partnered World Forum on Natural Capital providing high-level discussions on future of natural capital

    November 23-24 | Edinburgh, Scotland Over two days, delegates have a unique opportunity to engage in high-level discussions and examine how natural capital relates to their own long-term strategy. Breakout sessions focus on understanding and managing risk, innovation and tools, focus on finance and investment, and policy dialogues, exploring how risk can be turned into […]

  • UNEP FI to share expertise amongst world’s foresters and forest supporters – World Forestry Congress

    7-11 September 2015 | Durban, South Africa UNEP FI will be presenting an early draft of ‘Demystifying Private REDD+ Finance’, the second publication in the UNEP FI ‘Demystifying’ series, at the World Forestry Congress, taking place in Durban, South Africa. The report, which is planned to be formally launched at the COP21 in Paris in […]

  • Advancing Natural Capital in finance – next steps for R&D under the Natural Capital Declaration

    16 October 2014 | Geneva, Switzerland The Natural Capital Declaration (NCD) is a global finance-led initiative to integrate natural capital considerations into financial products and services, and to work towards their inclusion in in financial accounting, disclosure and reporting. Signatories to the Declaration work towards this goal through a number of innovative pilot projects in […]

  • New York Launch of the E-RISC report “A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk”

    Relevant Materials   E-Risc         ,“A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk” The E-RISC (Environmental Risk in Sovereign Credit analysis) project investigated sovereign credit risk from an angle that has been largely overlooked by bond markets to date: natural resource risks and environmental impacts. The project explored to what extent natural resource […]

  • London Launch of the E-RISC report “A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk”

    19 November | 14.00 – 18.00 followed by a reception| Bloomberg London Auditorium UNEP FI and Global Footprint Network cordially invite you to join us at the launch of the E-RISC report, hosted by Bloomberg, which focused on assessing the materiality of natural resource and environmental risks for sovereign credit risk models. Sovereign bonds have […]

  • Australia / New Zealand launch of the E-RISC report “A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk”

    UNEP FI, Global Footprint Network and National Australia Bank cordially invite you to join us at the Australia / New Zealand launch of the E-RISC Report, which focused on assessing the materiality of natural resource and environmental risks for sovereign credit risk models. Sovereign bonds have generally been considered safe securities, however, the unabated attention […]

  • Pursuing Economic Growth in a Water Scarce 21st Century

    30 October | 14.00 – 18.00 | Societe Generale | Paris Although the sovereign debt crisis is still reverberating throughout Europe, and justifiably demands a lot of immediate attention, it is also important to look beyond the current crisis to identify what drives economic growth in a 21st century. While the second half of the […]

  • Natural Capital Declaration Launch

    Press releases   NCD press release (English) , Videos   Press Briefing for the Launch of the Natural Capital Declaration – Perspectives from Senior Finance Executives High-level Dialogue on Natural Capital , Related links   Natural Capital Declaration micro website Rio+20 website Corporate Sustainability Forum website ,The Natural Capital Declaration (NCD) will be launched at […]

  • Webinar: The Natural Capital Declaration

    Webinar | 6 March, 9:00 AM CET and 7 March, 3:00 PM CET UNEP FI, the Global Canopy Program (GCP) and The Center for Sustainability Studies of the Business Administration School of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) would like to invite you to attend a one-hour webinar to understand the nuts and bolts of the […]

  • Training Workshop: Banking for Biodiversity

    Brochure, 21 October 2011, 13.30 – 17.30 | Washington, D.C. UNEP FI in collaboration with the WWF, the Equator Principles and BBOP (the Business and Biodiversity Offset Programme) are hosting a half-day training workshop on biodiversity and ecosystem service (BES) risks for lenders and investors – directly after the UNEP FI Global Roundtable. The workshop […]

  • Training Workshop: Mastering water risks for banks and investors in a changing climate

    Brochure, 21 October 2011, 8:30 – 12:30 | Washington, D.C.             UNEP FI, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), the World Bank and Conservation International will be hosting a half-day training workshop on water and finance directly after the UNEP FI Global Roundtable. The workshop aims to raise awareness […]

  • Report Launch: Benchmarking study by the Natural Value Initiative on the extractive sector

    20 October 2011, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm | Washington, D.C. Venue: L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington D.C. 20024 The Natural Value Initiative (NVI) – a collaboration between UNEP Finance Initiative, Dutch social investment NGO VBDO and international environmental group Fauna & Flora International – invites you to come to the launch […]

  • Project Launch: Integrating ecological risk in sovereign credit ratings and government bonds

    17 October, 2011, Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Washington D.C. Venue: UN Foundation, 1615 M Street, Washington D.C. 20036 UNEP FI, Global Footprint Network and a number of leading financial institutions are collaborating on a potentially transformational project to investigate the linkages between ecological risk and country level risk in sovereign bonds. Registration […]

  • Towards A Collaborative Effort by Financial Institutions to Integrate Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services into Business

    4 April, 2011 | Munich, Germany UNEP FI, HypoVereinsbanks and the Verein für Umweltmanagement und Nachhaltigkeit (VfU) held a regional workshop to discuss environmental and ecological risks and opportunities in the finance sector, why this is an important issue for the sector, and the rationale behind the development of a ‘Natural Capital Statement for Financial […]

  • Webinar: “Engaging on ecosystem services in the mining and energy sectors”

    Webinar | 29 November 2010, 4:00-5:00 PM GMT The Natural Value Initiative’s Ecosystem Services Benchmark – evaluating impacts and dependence on ecosystem services The Natural Value Initiative aims to raise awareness within the private sector on the risks associated with corporate impacts and dependence on ecosystem services, and catalyse action to address them. It has […]

  • UNEP FI, PRI, and Natural Value Initiative joint Webinar: “Engaging on ecosystem services in the mining and energy sectors”

    , UNEP FI, PRI, and Natural Value Initiative joint Webinar: “Engaging on ecosystem services in the mining and energy sectors” ,,Register here., Paul McNamara presentation (MP3: 15:55 minutes) Niclas Svenningsen presentation (MP3: 14:59 minutes) Louise Ellison presentation (MP3: 19:25 minutes) Questions and Answers (MP3: 13:14 minutes)

  • The Next Challenge – the Role of Finance Institutions in Accounting for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Asia Pacific region

    ,UNEP FI side event during the Convention on Biological Diversity, convention of the Parties (CBD COP 10) 27 October 2010 | Nagoya, Japan 2010 has been marked as a make or break year for biodiversity, with the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya as a corner stone in […]


  • UNEP FI – PRI webinar: Pavan Sukhdev on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business – Implications for Financial Institutions – 19 July

    , UNEP FI – PRI webinar: Pavan Sukhdev on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business – Implications for Financial Institutions ,, Presentations TEEB Webinar Minutes (PDF: 185 KB) TEEB for Business (PDF: 587 KB)Pavan Sukhdev, UNEP, Study Leader, TEEB TEEB: an investor perspective (PDF: 361 KB)Sagarika Chatterjee, Governance & Sustainable Investment, F&C […]

  • UNEP FI – PRI webinar: Pavan Sukhdev on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business – Implications for Financial Institutions

    Webinar | Monday, 19 July 2010, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM CET The long awaited high-level United Nations report has come out. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business was launched on 13 July at the First Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium. On 19 July, 5pm CET, hear firsthand from the leader of […]

  • UNEP FI – PRI webinar: Deforestation risks & the Forest Footprint Disclosure project

    22 June 2010 | 5pm-6pm CET This joint UNEP FI PRI webinar aims to raise awareness to investors and bankers about the risks from deforestation due to cattle ranching, soy plantations and other forest risk commodities. On 22 June 5pm-6pm CET, hear first hand from the Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD), Weyerhauser, Strategic Environmental Consulting and […]

  • An Efficient Water Utility; a Bank; an Opportunity?
    Best Practice and Persisting Challenges in Private Finance for Sustainable Water Supply

    18 August 2009 | 5:45 – 6:45 pm | World Water Week Side Event | Stockholm, Sweden In collaboration with This UNEP FI Side Event, co-organised with the German Development Agency (GTZ) will address the core question of what is needed to transform the water sector into a strategic opportunity for responsible investment in order […]

  • Valuing Natural Capital: Overcoming barriers to market valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the private sector

    6 October 2008 | Barcelona, Spain Panel discussion at the IUCN World Conservation Congress Financial institutions are increasingly engaging on environmental issues. However, at an initial scoping meeting of UNEP FI’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services workstream, a number of barriers to the serious engagement of the finance world – and therefore companies more generally – […]

  • Bringing the Universal Owner Rationale to Life – All you Need is Water.

    08 September 2008 | London, UK The key deliverable of the project will be a report providing an overview of both the universal ownership hypothesis – including a description of its origins and how it has been applied in the past – and an overview of the global water problem and the extent to which […]

  • Becoming Bankable – Experiences and Challenges in Market-Based Finance in the Water Sector

    20 August 2008 | World Water Week Side Event | Stockholm, Sweden In collaboration with Concretely, this event will brought together water service providers and project developers with water financiers (from both small-scale water funds, project finance and capital market institutions) to discuss progress in accessing market-based finance for sustainable water solutions. The session shared […]

  • Integrating Biodiversity into Investment Decisions

    29 May 2008 | Bonn, Germany UNEP Finance Initiative and Fauna & Flora International (FFI) co-hosted a side event at the 9th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The event addressed the issue of integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) into financial decision-making and convened a panel of experts […]

  • Second Workshop on the Natural Value Initiative

    3 September 2007 | Sao Paulo, Brazil Following on from a similar workshop held in London in August 2007, UNEP FI in collaboration with Flora & Fauna International and Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), joint partners in the Natural Value Initiative (NVI), held a workshop in Sao Paulo to share examples of best practice management of […]

  • Founders’ Business Seminar at World Water Week 2007

    World Water Week 2007, 14 August | Stockholm, Sweden This year’s Founders’ Seminar, co-convened by the Stockholm Water Foundation, SIWI, ITT Corporation, UNEP FI, the WBCSD and Siemens, focused on how to make sustainable water use everybody’s business, linking the financial sector, business and other stakeholders in the water sector. It discussed and explored issues […]

  • Workshop on the Development of the Water-Related Risk Management Guidelines for financial institutions

    World Water Week 2007, 14 August | Stockholm, Sweden One of the key recommendations for steps forward that resulted from last year’s Workshop on “Risks and Opportunities for Financial Institutions in Water” at World Water Week was to develop a set of Water-Related Risk Management Guidelines for Financial Institutions. The idea was to provide to […]

  • Workshop on the Natural Value Initiative

    8 August 2007, London, UK A joint project of UNEP FI and Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the Natural Value Initiative aims to develop a benchmark tool for companies with agricultural supply chains – food and drink growers, processors and retailers – and companies with operations in China, South Africa, Brazil, USA and UK. The […]

  • First Workshop of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services Work Stream

    5 April 2007 | London, UK About 30 delegates representing financial institutions, inter-governmental organisations as well as NGOs met together at a workshop organised by UNEP Finance Initiative in London. The workshop, which aimed to brief participants on biodiversity and ecosystem services, identify current barriers to understanding and assessing biodiversity risks, and the tools available […]

  • Risks and Opportunities for Financial Institutions in Water

    The World Water Week 23 August 2006 | Stockholm UNEP FI and the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (UNEP GPA) convened a seminar for the presentation of an issues paper “Financing Water: Risks and Opportunities”, a platform for developing a set of risk management guidelines for […]

  • Expert Workshop on Water Related Risk Management Guidelines for Financial Institutions

    19-20 April 2006, Davos The workshop that UNEP FI will be convening jointly with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (UNEP GPA), is inviting financial institutions, policy makers and experts within the water arena to contribute their expertise […]

  • Protecting shareholder and natural value: The role of the financial sector in the protection of biodiversity

    21 March 2006 | Curitiba, Brazil Overview Recent years have seen increasing pressure on the finance sector to address environmental risks within their investment portfolios. Well-publicized cases such as the Three Gorges Dam and Asia Pulp and Paper have led to scrutiny of banking practices with respect to biodiversity issues. The launch of the Equator […]

  • Finance for Water Solutions: Seminar Summary from the 2005 World Water Week

    26 August 2005 | Stockholm, Sweden Innovative mechanisms are needed to finance development in the water and sanitation sector, in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). That was the main message from a World Water Week in Stockholm seminar entitled “Finance for Water Solutions.” The seminar was organised by the United Nations Environment […]

  • Risks of Water Scarcity: Preliminary Findings

    ,17 August, 2004 | Stockholm, Sweden The main drive behind this meeting was to present the preliminary findings of the study, Risks of Water Scarcity: a business case for financial institutions which was carried out in a collaboration between the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and UNEP FI. Some of the conclusion in the report […]