Human activity has caused the rapid loss of global species and habitats, and the rate of loss is increasing. Global wildlife populations are down 69% since 1970, 75% of land surface is significantly altered from its natural state, 66% of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85% of critical wetland has been lost.
Without nature there is no economy. Funded by the UK Treasury, the Dasgupta Review of 2021 made a compelling case for the concept of natural capital. Unfortunately, we, human beings, have not managed our natural capital sustainably as diligent “asset managers” should. We have let our natural capital depreciate for decades, even though we are completely dependent on nature. Nature loss, alongside climate change, presents an array of risks that threaten our livelihoods, economies, businesses, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide.
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), adopted in December 2022, aims to guide global public and private sector action on biodiversity and nature. The GBF’s purpose is to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030. The GBF is structured on this vision, supported by four goals to 2050, and a 2030 mission supported by 23 global targets for urgent action over the rest of this decade.
The GBF has been dubbed the ‘Paris Agreement for nature’, referring to the parallels between the international and cross-sector efforts required to address both climate change and nature loss. While all 23 targets are all indirectly relevant for the financial sector, targets 15 and 19 directly call for progress on corporate nature disclosures and the mobilisation of financial resources respectively.
Through finance, insurance and ownership, financial institutions have leverage and influence over large parts of the economy, and therefore have a crucial role to play in a nature-positive transition. However, a dominant proportion of today’s global financial flows still support activities that harm, rather than protect, nature. To stay competitive and align with the vision of a nature-positive future, financial sector must mainstream nature in decision-making. The nature-positive transition offers significant opportunities for leaders to establish new products and potential growth in market share. Next steps include assessing and disclosing exposure to nature-related risks, dependencies and impacts and scaling-up resources targeted to nature positive activities and engaging with clients and investees – towards aim of aligning financial flows with the 2030 targets and 2050 vision of the GBF.
In Finland, financial institutions have already taken important steps, decarbonizing and improving understanding of their broader environmental impacts. Many financial actors operating in Finland are already assessing how their operations affect the biodiversity and are preparing their own biodiversity roadmaps and strategies in aim to take measures to reduce biodiversity loss.One concrete example is analysing their own investment portfolios to gather information on the nature risks of their investee companies.
Nature-positive actions by financial actors can have an outsized impact on footprint of the broader economy by incentivising activities that reshape exposure to nature. Leadership from the financial sector is crucial due to the wide-ranging influence that financial actors have within our economy.
Finnish media is welcome to join the event to observe how the risks and opportunities related to nature are increasingly understood in the financial sector.
Media inquiries for interviews can be directed to Emma Kari, CEO of Kari & Pantsar Co.