UNEP FI and Finance for Biodiversity Foundation begin collaboration on biodiversity portfolio targets

6 April 2022

Following deliberations on finance and biodiversity at the recent global biodiversity conference in Geneva, two major organizations strengthen their cooperation to accelerate positive action for nature from the world’s private financial sector.

UNEP FI and the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation today announce their intention to build synergies, to support banks and other private financial institutions in setting robust, science-based targets. Banks are already committed to set and disclose targets under the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, and so are financial institutions under the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge. This collaboration will drive convergence across the industry between approaches to setting targets for nature.

More than half the world’s GDP, 44 trillion USD of economic value generation, is moderately or highly dependent on nature – which is increasingly under threat. For 3 years running, the loss of biodiversity has been identified by the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report as among the top 5 risks by impact to the global economy. The loss of biodiversity could have significant economic and financial implications, heavily impacting the supply chains and raw materials that underpin companies.

The financial sector has a critical role to play in ensuring the stability of the economy by taking biodiversity into account in financing, underwriting and investment decisions. This new collaboration will focus on building capacity among financial players and provide industry-wide guidance for biodiversity metrics and measurement in finance.

Together, UNEP FI and the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation will:

  • Collaborate on biodiversity targets & metrics for financial institutions at the secretariat level and where relevant via our respective working groups.
  • Develop guidance on how to apply robust metrics and measurement techniques that underpin science-based targets on biodiversity, building from UNEP FI’s existing guidance materials on target setting, Finance for Biodiversity Foundation’s guidance on measurement approaches and input from signatories.
  • Facilitate exchange between banks, insurers and investor communities.
  • Support the work of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and its parties to craft and implement a strong Global Biodiversity Framework that meets the ambitious policy goals of governments and increases the resources available for nature by supporting the alignment of private finance flows.

Jenn-Hui Tan, Global Head of Stewardship and Sustainable Investing, Fidelity International said, “Setting biodiversity targets allows stakeholders to hold banks accountable to being responsible stewards of capital. We welcome this guidance, which provides clarity on how different types of financial institutions can implement meaningful targets, and ultimately helps contribute to real world positive impacts on biodiversity.”

Dimitrios Dimopoulos, Head of ESG at Piraeus Financial Holdings said, “As both a founding bank of the UN Principles for Responsible Banking and a signatory of the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, we welcome this collaboration which will further drive alignment across the banking sector on effective global approaches to measuring impact and setting biodiversity targets.”

Get involved

Interested parties can look to the ongoing webinar series held jointly with partner institutions:

  • Jan 6 | New green shoots: the latest innovations in nature finance | Watch the replay
  • Jan 11 | Getting started in nature, biodiversity and finance | Watch the replay
  • April 12 | We need to talk about biodiversity – how to engage with corporates? | Register now
  • April 26 | We need to talk about biodiversity – are corporates ready? | Register now

Quotes

Eric Usher, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative said, “This collaboration is set to further consolidate industry-wide convergence on biodiversity targets, metrics and measurements. Our complementary expertise will bring further clarity for financial institutions on how to measure the impact of their portfolios on biodiversity, establish a baseline, and set effective, science-based targets. For the banking sector, foundations have already been laid through the UN Principles for Responsible Banking and this collaboration will serve to strengthen the approach in this complex area.

Anita de Horde, Coordinator of the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation said, “Financial institutions have a crucial role to play in preventing further biodiversity loss and conserving and restoring nature through their activities. Setting targets on nature will help in a long-term vision and short-term motivation to start acting, next to the measurement and disclosure of impact and dependencies on nature. That is why setting targets is part of the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge. We are looking forward to collaborate with UNEP FI to align on nature targets that are based on the best available scientific knowledge.”


About the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a global partnership bringing together the United Nations with more than 450 banks, insurers and institutional investors to develop the sustainable finance agenda. UNEP FI has established some of the most important sustainability oriented frameworks within the finance industry, including the Principles for Responsible Banking, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance, and the Principles for Responsible Investment.

About the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation

The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation was set up in March 2021. The aim is to support a call to action and collaboration between financial institutions in several working groups on reversing nature loss this decade. Prior to the establishment of the foundation, the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge was launched, a commitment of 84 financial institutions to call on global leaders and to protect and restore biodiversity through their finance activities and investments.

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