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Webinar Replay: Banks as Agents for Biodiversity

Mar 18, 2021 | Virtual (Online)

18 March 2021- Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A), in partnership with Finance-in-Motion, Eco Business Fund, and UNEP-FI hosted a webinar on the role of banks in the global biodiversity crisis.

Background

The financial sector can play an important role in the preservation of the world biodiversity and ecosystems. Worldwide banks are funding projects linked to the destruction and the collapse of life-sustaining ecosystems by providing loans and underwriting services. A recent report by Portfolio. Earth outlines the role of banks in the global biodiversity crisis. In 2020 alone, the world’s largest banks invested more than $2.6 trillion (€2.2 trillion) in the form of loans and other credit in primary sectors driving biodiversity destruction.

There is an urgent need to sensitize financial institutions on the nexus between finance and biodiversity. At the moment, biodiversity is too abstract for most players in the finance sector to incorporate it into their processes and harness opportunities deriving from it. 

Panelists focused their interventions on: 

  • Understanding natural capital risk, impacts and dependencies in financial (credit) decision making

The financial sector needs to treat natural capital risk more seriously. It is important to demystify natural capital, biodiversity and ecosystem services and situate them within the context of climate change and sustainability. The ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Opportunities, Risks and Exposure) tool can help banks better understand how the financial sector is dependent on nature and how environmental change is creating risks in the sectors. It is also important to shed light on how natural capital considerations can be incorporated into credit decision making and in so doing contribute to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

  • Making biodiversity bankable

Banks are in the business of helping financing profitable commercial enterprises’ working capital and capital expenditure needs. Financial institutions can continue to do this while making a significant contribution to biodiversity conservation. Investments made by eco.Business Fund Latin America were used to demonstrate the commercial value for banks of financing sustainable agriculture and the valuable contributions to biodiversity conservation these investments have had.

  • Digital nature finance

This session showcased the role of digital finance in promoting biodiversity conservation. More specifically, it provided an overview of the overall landscape and trends in the fintech for nature finance segment and demonstrate how, through a few use cases, digital technology can help overcome barriers to aligning capital flows with the needs of nature. Finally, the session also provided highlights of what the future of digital nature finance holds.

For more details on this session’s content, the event recording is available below. The webinar presentation can also be downloaded via this link.

 

Speakers

Introduction by: Jessica Smith, Ecosystems Lead, UNEP- FI

Moderators

Eric Wanyama Wekhuyi, Senior Officer, TA - Finance-in-motion & Hughes Kamewe, Financial Sector Advisor, MFW4A 

Panelists

  • Thomas van Viegen, Project Manage – NCFA South Africa
  • Federico Sinisterra, Investment Manager – Finance in Motion
  • Marianne Haahr, Director - GDFA