European Union (EU) and its Commission (EC)
The issue of business and biodiversity including the role of financial institutions is receiving more and more attention within the EU framework. During two high level conferences, the main EU policy on business and biodiversity was formulated:
- EU Conference “Business and Biodiversity”, November 2007, Lisbon, Portugal;
- EU Conference “Biodiversity Protection – Beyond 2010”, April 2009, Athens, Greece,
European Sustainable Investment Forum (EUROSIF)
EUROSIF is a pan-European not-for-profit group whose mission is to address sustainability through financial markets. It represents assets totalling over €1 trillion through its affiliate membership.
United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)
UNEP FI is a global partnership between the UN, the financial sector and other interested stakeholders. Its work stream on biodiversity and ecosystem services focuses on engaging the financial services sector in identifying and addressing the challenges arising from the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
The EBRD is paying attention to biodiversity issues in mainstream investments. EBRD has also been involved in the development of the EU Biodiversity Technical Assistance Units project, and is exploring other options of biodiversity investment (mainly though SMEs).
European Investment Bank (EIB)
EIB has incorporated biodiversity as a priority area in its updated Environmental Policy. The need to finance biodiversity is stressed by the EC. For example, there is a clear role for building up Public Private Partnerships (PPP) for biodiversity. These approaches can help mobilise the available resources and more effectively facilitate their use. Public money can support private activities and resources and private resources can be pooled into public objectives. Two possibilities for these kinds of partnerships are:
- The introduction of loans/grants to support Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) to be used by private or public partners, and
- The mobilisation of support for the creation and management of biodiversity offsets by private/public companies. Frequently, development has a negative impact to nature, so the developers need to compensate through offsets (habitat banking, restoration, etc).
There is also a need for micro-finance, i.e. small projects that can have significant impact and generate income to become self-sustainable. For these, however, there is a need for capacity building, and for access to credit that is available quickly and at a preferential rate.
The Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) Secretariat
The PRI reflects the core values of a group of large investors whose investment horizon is generally long, and whose portfolios are often highly diversified. In 2005, 20 Institutional investors accepted ownership of these principles Stimulated by the United Nations, the Principles are open for all institutional investors, investment managers and professional service partners to support. Following the launch of the Principles, the PRI Secretariat was created to help co-ordinate the adoption of the Principles by additional investors, provide comprehensive resources to assist investors in implementing the Principles, and facilitate collaboration among signatories.
Green Development Mechanism (GDM)
The GDM 2010 Initiative is working with a network of biodiversity finance specialists to establish a market-based Green Development Mechanism (GDM) under the Convention on Biological Diversity along the lines of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for climate change. The GDM would support trades in certified biodiversity-protected landscapes.
The Natural Value Initiative (NVI)
The NVI has worked with the financial sector to develop a toolkit to evaluate the investment risks and opportunities posed by a company’s dependence and impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Its pilot research has focused on the food, beverage and tobacco sectors.