Know what you’re losing        

July 31, 2023

Biodiversity: from understanding to policy

The loss of biodiversity has severe consequences for the functioning of ecosystems. There is a growing awareness that the preservation of vulnerable ecosystems is necessary in the fight against global warming. It is also essential to maintain vital economic activities, such as the global food supply.

To counter the loss of biodiversity, both legal and voluntary frameworks are being developed. One of the first legal frameworks was created at the Biodiversity Convention of Rio de Janeiro. During COP 15, an important next step was taken. 200 countries reached an agreement on the Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, pledging to end subsidies that are harmful to nature. In addition, expenditures for nature conservation were increased to 200 billion dollars per year.

Policy cannot be successful without insight and a shared view of the extent of a problem. The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) therefore provides, in addition to concrete commitments, a framework to identify the risks of biodiversity loss and opportunities related to nature conservation. Here lies a role for financial institutions and companies. By understanding the costs and benefits of nature conservation, companies and interest groups can develop innovative ideas to finance the preservation of biodiversity.

In addition initiatives such as certification schemes, eco-labels, and corporate social responsibility programs help promote activities deemed beneficial. Notable examples are the certification program of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The FSC promotes responsible forest management and makes it easier for companies and consumers to choose products from responsibly managed forests. The RSPO encourages the production and use of sustainable palm oil.

Sebastian Soleille
Sébastien Soleille, Head of Energy and Environmental Transition at BNP Paribas

“Biodiversity is a complex topic making it all the more important to have a common framework. This way, we ensure that everyone speaks the same language, comparison becomes possible, and we reduce the risk of greenwashing. The Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), a global initiative, aims to map the impact on, and dependence of companies on biodiversity. In September, the TNFD will publish a final report which should serve as a blueprint for the involvement of the financial sector in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity.”