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Work Streams





Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services

Biodiversity - the wealth of genes, species, ecosystems and landscapes on Earth. Biodiversity provides businesses with a range of goods and services collectively termed ecosystem services – the common services delivered by healthy ecosystems which all sectors ultimately rely on - the provision of clean water, the maintenance of fertile soils, and the regulation of climate.

But our way of life is impacting dramatically on ecosystem services, recent evidence reveals the rapid loss of our natural assets and the degradation of the services they provide. For the private sector, these changes signal complex new challenges and opportunities. Operational, regulatory, and public risks will be matched by opportunities emerging from the development of new technologies, markets, and business models.

Under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, governments worldwide have recently stepped up their commitment to involve the private sector in developing appropriate regulatory frameworks to harness the power of markets to create innovative solutions to tackle biodiversity loss.

Our Work


Introduction to UNEP FI's Biodiversity work
Ivo Mulder, Coordinator Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
(2:36 minutes)

UNEP FI's commitment to biodiversity and ecosystem services emerged partly as a response to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity 2006 (CBD) CoP 8’s decisions 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."


To assist the financial services sector in addressing the challenges arising from the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services.


Driven by a range of financial institutions and other key partners, including international environmental NGO Fauna & Flora International, the Workstream objectives are the following:

  • Raise awareness on the business implications of loss or degradation of ecosystems and the services they provide
  • Strengthen the business case for action and provide the financial sector with information and analysis tools for adequate management of ecosystem services
  • Open dialogue between financial institutions (both public and private) and policy makers for identifying and acting on areas where the framework conditions under which business operates can be better aligned with ecosystems stewardship


  • Environmental Risk in Sovereign Credit assessment: E-RISC
    This project aims to assess the financial materiality of ecological risks in the context of sovereign fixed income investments, and to develop a methodology to enable asset owners, investment managers, information providers and credit rating agencies to include these factors in their sovereign credit risk models.
  • Natural Capital Declaration
    The giant steps achieved in science, technology and economy characterized the 20th century. While these achievements are celebrated as transformational for the capacity of mankind, the vital and significant contribution of our natural habitat as a key component in producing these successes and triumphs has so far not been widely recognized and duly valued. Yet, ecosystem services from our natural capital are the bases from which almost all economic activity flows. Our global economy and billions of livelihoods depend on various utilities such as climate balance, provision of water, food and energy and health security.
    However, in recent years there is greater recognition that our natural environment and the services it renders freely to the survival of mankind and the global economy, is not limitless. In fact its unabated depletion has severe negative consequences. The Natural Capital Declaration is a response from Financial Institutions to this realization. The initiative aims to explore ways to account for natural capital by appropriately valuing and integrating it into financial products and services as part of a roadmap towards a green global economy.
  • Bloom or Bust Report & CEO Briefing
    This report and primer provide direction for financial institutions that wish to manage biodiversity and ecosystem service risks more effectively. They also illustrate how opportunities and tools for financial products and services can be developed.
  • The Natural Value Initiative
    A toolkit enabling investors to evaluate biodiversity impacts and ecosystem services dependency within the food, beverage and tobacco (FBT) sectors. UNEP Finance Initiative, international environmental NGO Fauna & Flora International, and the Brazilian business school FGV collaborated on this initiative which aims to raise awareness of the links between biodiversity, investment value and the finance sector.
  • Environmental & Social Responsibility Observatory
    An online database of real-world stories about how UNEP FI Signatories and other financial institutions are:
    • dealing with environmental and social risk in their lending and investment operations;
    • successfully managing to align financial and sustainability performance by channeling funds into activities that have a net positive impact on the environment, society and their own bottom line.
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity -- TEEB
    The TEEB study, the biodiversity equivalent of the 'Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change' will explore the economic significance of the global loss of biological diversity. In May 2008, an interim report of the study was presented at the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany. The second phase, TEEB II has commenced and will continue until 2010.
  • Forest Footprint Disclosure project
    The Forest Footprint Disclosure Project (FFD Project) is a new UK government-supported initiative, created to help investors identify how an organisation’s activities and supply chains contribute to tropical deforestation, and link this 'forest footprint' to their value.
  • Biodiversity offsets, the mitigation hierarchy and conditions for credit: a review of the business case, loan conditions and current practice in financial institutions
    Many development and commercial banks have adopted performance standards or requirements which oblige clients to seek to avoid and minimise harm caused to biodiversity by development projects, and finally to compensate for residual impacts. UNEP Finance Initiative and the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Programme (BBOP) are undertaking a study to more systematically analyse current practice in the financial sector with respect to the mitigation hierarchy and biodiversity offsets.


Bank of America Merrill Lynch JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Barclays KfW Bankengruppe
Bayern LB Mecu
Calvert National Australia Bank
Citigroup Nedbank Ltd
Connexis Nikko Asset Management Co. Ltd.
Credit Suisse Rabobank Netherlands
Development Bank of Southern Africa(DBSA) Robeco
Earth Capital Partners Sustainable Development Capital, LLP
F&C Asset Management Sumitomo Trust
HypoVereinsbank / UniCredit Group VicSuper Pty Ltd

Associate Members

Fauna and Flora International The Katoomba Group
Forest Trends UNDP
Global Balance UNEP - Economics and Trade Unit
Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) UNEP - World Conservation Monitoring Centre


Richard Burrett, Earth Capital Partners


biodiversity [at] unepfi.org


Biodiversity Publications
  PDF NCD Roadmap
(2.6 MB | 27 pages)
  This report provides preliminary guidance on how the four commitments in the Natural Capital Declaration can be implemented by the finance industry.
Executive Summary
(4.9 MB | 40 pages)
  The report investigates sovereign credit risk in terms of natural resource risks and environmental impacts.  
  PDF Biodiversity Offsets: Voluntary and Compliance Regimes
(2.2 MB | 24 pages)
  PDF Natural Capital Declaration
(397 KB | 6 pages)
  A commitment by the finance sector to integrate natural capital criteria into their products and services  
  PDF Demystifying Materiality: Hardwiring biodiversity and ecosystem services into finance
(1.2 MB | 20 pages)
  Biodiversity is becoming financially material beyond reputation
English French German Japanese Spanish Portuguese
  PDF Biodiversity Principles - Recommendations for the Financial Sector
(450 KB | 16 pages)
  The Biodiversity Principles for sustainable finance
German version
  PDF Tread lightly
(3.4 MB | 96 pages)
  Biodiversity and ecosystem services risk and opportunity management within the extractive industry  
  PDF REDDy-Set-Grow Part II: Private sector suggestions for international climate change negotiators
(1.2 MB | 45 pages)
  Suggestions by the financial sector on an effective forest-based climate change mitigation policy.
Executive Summary
  PDF REDDy, Set, Grow - Opportunities and roles for financial institutions in forest carbon markets
(1.7 MB | 41 pages)
  Opportunities for financial actors and governments in the budding forest carbon markets  
  MoreAll Publications  
Biodiversity Events
  NCD - Natural Capital Accounting workshop with Global Nature Fund
21 January, 2014
Bonn, Germany
  Supporting Clarmondial efforts to facilitate dialogue on Integrating Natural Capital in Swiss Finance
15 January, 2014
Zurich, Switzerland
  NCD event with Clarmondial
15 January, 2014
Bern, Switzerland
  New York Launch of the E-RISC report “A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk”
12 December, 2012
New York, USA
  London Launch of the E-RISC report “A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk”
19 November, 2012
Bloomberg London Auditorium
  Australia / New Zealand launch of the E-RISC report "A New Angle on Sovereign Credit Risk"
9 November, 2012
Sydney, Australia
  Natural Capital Declaration Launch
16 June, 2012
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  Webinar: The Natural Capital Declaration
6-7 March, 2012
  Training Workshop: Banking for Biodiversity
21 October, 2011
Washington, DC USA
  Report Launch: Benchmarking study by the Natural Value Initiative on the extractive sector
20 October, 2011
Washington D.C., USA
  Project Launch: Integrating ecological risk in sovereign credit ratings and government bonds
17 October, 2011
Washington, DC, USA
  MoreAll Events