Biodiversity is rapidly declining on a global scale. Yet, our livelihoods and our economic prosperity depend on intact ecosystems. The loss of biological diversity requires action in all sectors – including in the financial industry.
How can the public and private sectors positively influence biodiversity? On behalf of the financial services company LGT, INFRAS together with faunatur wrote a white paper on the topic of biodiversity. The need for action is enormous: The importance of an intact biodiversity is of immense importance for human well-being – while at the same time, biodiversity is rapidly dwindling. The white paper summarizes important findings and shows how the financial services companies can contribute.
Nature provides vital ecosystem services
From the provision of materials and commodities used for shelter and building to the regulation of climates to grow food and crops: humans have vital access to “ecosystem services” such as pollination. If these were to fail, there would be massive reductions in crop yield. A high proportion of the global gross domestic product is dependent on nature and its benefits or services.
The current state of biodiversity is extremely alarming
Human activities such as changes in use of land and sea, direct exploitation of resources, and climate change harm ecosystems, as do industrial pollution and invasive alien species. Biodiversity is declining globally – with detrimental effects on ecosystem services. The global loss of biodiversity is among of the most pressing challenges of our time.
Escaping the biodiversity crisis
There is urgent need for action at all levels of biodiversity – genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity. This requires measures in all sectors and from the local to the global level. International commitments and initiatives that acknowledge the need for a transformation are a decisive first step. From 1970 to 2000, more than a dozen multilateral agreements were designed to address transboundary environmental issues.
A clean environment as a human right
In October 2021 the UN Human Rights Council recognized access to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” as a fundamental right. As awareness of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services grows, it becomes increasingly apparent that the objectives of the public sector and companies should address the protection of biodiversity.
The role of financial services companies
How can financial services enterprises contribute to ecosystem health or help to tackle biodiversity loss? The white paper shows a range of possible approaches using LGT as an example. These include, in addition to measures that promote biodiversity at the company’s operation, incorporating biodiversity criteria in sustainable financial products and services. One of the measures to underline the importance of the topic for sustainable financial services providers and to clarify interfaces, was a workshop for LGT employees conducted by the project team.