According to a widely shared scientific consensus biodiversity is declining rapidly: currently about one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, as a direct result of human activities. Climate and biodiversity are closely linked, and biodiversity cannot be protected without simultaneously addressing climate change. However, unlike the Paris Agreement, which contains firm commitments to limiting carbon emissions, no long-term global targets have been set for biodiversity protection, even though the immediate natural environment has a major impact on the economic activities it can facilitate.
Financial institutions are aware of the need to stop the degradation of our environment and reverse this trend. By examining how organisations are exposed to nature-related risks, and by raising awareness among market participants concerning the significant associated financial risks, aside from the commercial opportunities, we can transition to an economy that impacts nature more positively. To accelerate this process, BNP Paribas has been on the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) since 2021. By identifying risks, the TNFD can be a driving force in shifting financial flows, towards activities with a positive impact on nature.
An example of how sustainable energy generation and the protection of biodiversity can go hand in hand is BNP Paribas’ lease construction for over 28,000 solar panels at the Cosun Solar Park. This solar park is part of the rezoning of an industrial reallocation of former factory land. This site is being redeveloped into a sustainable business park with a harbour basin. The seven-hectare solar park is owned by Cosun and will be directly connected to the nearby Cosun Beet Company specialty factory, making the factory’s electricity consumption sustainable.
Paul Hagens, project leader of Cosun Solar Park Puttershoek: “The solar park is designed to maximize the sustainable energy yield per surface area. This will leave more of the surrounding area available for nature. The embankment around the solar farm makes the solar panels barely visible to local residents. The embankment itself is managed with sheep and is overgrown with various plants and flowers. Moreover, the solar panels appear to act as a shelter for various animals and provide them with shade.”
Robert-Alexandre Poujade, ESG Analyst & Biodiversity lead at BNP Paribas Asset Management: “This year, BNP Paribas Asset Management published its first biodiversity report. These first results allow us to increase our expertise in this area and to identify the environmental impact of our activities. In addition to the development of the analytical frameworks we are developing with TNFD, we will continue to integrate relevant biodiversity data into our own ESG rating system, to enrich our voting policy and shareholder engagement.”
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