Published on 06 October 2021

SUSTAINABLE FINANCE

The Finance for Biodiversity Pledge calls on states to create an ambitious biodiversity framework ahead of COP 15

Approximately 78 investors from 17 countries signed a pledge calling for states to agree on an ambitious biodiversity conservation roadmap at COP 15. Just as the financial community came together for climate change in 2015 at COP 21, the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge published a joint letter ahead of the first COP 15 meetings in hopes of weighing in on the debate.

 

 

Foret biodiversite Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

International investors want to weigh in on COP 15 negotiations. Launched in 2020, the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge issued a joint letter signed by investor signatories who have called on state leaders participating in COP 15 to commit to protecting biodiversity. The letter brings together 78 financial institutions, including Allianz France, Amundi, Caisse des dépôts, CNP Assurances, Banque Postale, NN IP, Mirova, Federated Hermes, etc., all of which manage more than $10.6 trillion in assets. The group’s combined weight puts pressure on states to create an ambitious roadmap for biodiversity preservation.

The Finance for Biodiversity Pledge released its letter to states just days before the first round of virtual meetings at COP 15, scheduled to take place in October ahead of the physical meeting in Kunming, China in April 2022. The group, which started with 26 investors in 2020, has gradually expanded its ranks. At the beginning of September during the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the group totaled 55 signatories, but it recently expanded with the inclusion of some 20 new institutions.

Together, the group calls on states to establish a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) to transform the economy and align financial flows with global biodiversity targets. These measures must be "supported by appropriate regulatory measures and financial incentives", write the investor signatories.

Strengthened national strategies

The investor signatories call for the strengthening of national strategies and action plans on biodiversity, to ensure that the GBF’s objectives are met. They also demand regulations be put in place, such as reporting obligations for companies, to enable the identification of biodiversity risks and opportunities. Lastly, the 78 signatories are calling for the elimination of any subsidies that are harmful to nature.

The signatories also linked the fight against global warming and biodiversity preservation, stating: “strong policies, in line with the GBF, can accelerate and scale up private capital flows towards a net-zero and nature-positive economy”.

It seems these investors are willing to rework their portfolios, provided they are given the tools to do so. However, this is far from being the case. The financial community used the same methods at COP 21 in 2015 to demand an ambitious climate agreement, and with much success. The concept of refocusing finance towards climate ambitions has risen to the top of the agenda by numerous heads of state, and climate finance has progressed significantly. Yet the world is still on a 2.7°C warming trajectory, according to the latest UN report assessing the national commitments of 191 countries. "Biodiversity finance" needs to strike harder and faster if it wants to obtain better results.

Arnaud Dumas, @ADumas5


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