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Finance for Biodiversity – Aligning Development Finance with Nature’s Needs: Protecting Nature’s Development Dividend



“Ethical Markets highly recommends this new report addressing the biodiversity and environmental costs of traditional finance worldwide. MUST READ SOONEST!

~Hazel Henderson, Editor“

World’s development banks endangering vulnerable ecosystems worth US$1.1 trillion/year

LONDON, Nov. 9 (F4B) – Development finance institutions (DFIs) worldwide are endangering nature worth an estimated US$1.1 trillion annually, and more than a quarter of their total US$11.2 trillion loan book is highly dependent on vulnerable ecosystems, found a study by Finance for Biodiversity (F4B), published on Wednesday.

Globally, there are more than 450 development finance institutions (DFIs), which invest about US$2 trillion annually. Almost all are accountable to one or several governments, and ultimately to their citizens, and their core purpose is to facilitate sustainable development.

Sustainable development is inextricably linked to nature, because of the benefits that nature provides for businesses, including sustaining the quantity and quality of air, water and soils, regulating the climate, providing pollination and pest control, and reducing the impact of natural hazards such as storms and floods. Biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, however, and the drivers of these losses are intensifying.

Wednesday’s report, “Aligning Development Finance with Nature’s Needs: Protecting Nature’s Development Dividend”, found that DFIs are endangering nature with an expected value of US$1.1 trillion annually. This is the first analysis to date to place a monetary value on a financial institution’s potential impact on nature.

In addition, the report found that DFIs are exposing themselves to extraordinary risks by failing to account for their dependence on declining biodiversity, a “dependency risk” estimated at US$3.1 trillion.

These dependencies and nature impacts are two sides of the same coin – one firm’s damage to nature can lead to financial loss for another dependent on that nature. This feedback loop shows why these biodiversity-related risks are important leading indicators of material financial risk, and why immediate action is needed to address the issue.

DFIs are holding their first ever global conference on November 11-12, at the Finance in Commons Summit, convened by French President Emanuel Macron, in what should be a key moment to assess how the global DFI community is performing.

“The world’s government-owned banks are meant to be at the leading edge of development finance practice, a symbol of progressive lending practices for the world’s private investors,” said Simon Zadek, chair of F4B, which produced the report.

“But mostly their investments are dependent on precious, vulnerable biodiversity resources, and too often place these resources further at risk. F4B’s calculations point to the urgent need for DFIs to commit to lending practices that deliver positive nature gains.”

Wednesday’s report recommended that all DFIs commit, and undertake within the next year, to publish a balance sheet-wide stress test of nature-related financial risks and impacts, and so catalyse similar action by private financial institutions and generate wider sustainable development benefits.

Dependency risk refers to the extent that the financing activities of DFIs are highly dependent on nature which is already vulnerable. Almost all businesses in some way depend upon benefits from nature. For example, fishers rely on healthy stocks of fish, and many farmers on wild pollinating insects. If these ecosystem services are already vulnerable and declining, businesses are more at risk.

The F4B report applied an assessment of nature dependency by economic sector, where agriculture and forestry score highly, for example. It combined this with country risk scores, according to biodiversity abundance, the strength of local environmental laws, and national resource intensity, to calculate a dollar risk value.

DFIs are also putting nature at risk, for example by driving deforestation, and in doing so, are exposing themselves to tighter environmental laws, or to litigation and reputation harm. To estimate the risk DFIs pose to nature, F4B estimated the land and water footprint associated with DFI financing, and valued the resulting expected damage to biodiversity and ecosystem services, if not effectively mitigated.

The report found that, by region, Asia had the highest dependency risk, reflecting the vulnerability of its remaining, high-value biodiversity, and the relatively larger DFI exposure to this region. Asia also placed the most nature at risk, reflecting the large water footprint of lending in the region. Among sectors, the report found agriculture put most nature at risk, as a key driver of land use change including deforestation, while energy and water utilities scored the highest dependency risk, reflecting their high reliance on reliable freshwater.

CHART. Collective DFI balance sheet, dependency risk and nature at risk

Media contact

Gerard Wynn ([email protected])

About Finance for Biodiversity

Finance for Biodiversity (F4B) aims to increase the materiality of biodiversity in financial decision-making, and so better align global finance with nature conservation and restoration. F4B is advancing five workstreams that create and amplify the feedback signals that increase the value of biodiversity in private and public financing decisions:

  • Market efficiency and innovation
  • Biodiversity-related liability
  • Bridging biodiversity policy and financial rules and behaviour
  • Citizen engagement and public campaigns
  • Responses to the COVID crisis
  • For more information, visit




    Maintaining Momentum to COP26 for the Net-Zero Transition



    “Ethical Markets is proud to partner with Climate Action in this weeklong Sustainable Innovation Forum. All sessions will be recorded and available on-demand. Meanwhile send in your questions, as we have, particularly for Day 5 on Friday on Agriculture and Land. We can all learn a lot from these discussions! Enjoy!

    ~Hazel Henderson, Editor “

    16 – 20 November 2020 | Live Online Daily | 2:30-5:30 PM CET / 1:30-4:30 PM GMT

    COP26 has been delayed. Environmental diplomacy put on hold. We cannot postpone the climate emergency. Momentum on climate action must be maintained.

    2020 was meant to usher in a decade of action in our fight against the climate crisis. Governments and businesses were poised to raise their ambition but instead have been fighting a difference crisis – the global pandemic.

    As economies begin to rebuild, sectors reopen and society returns the decisions governments and businesses make today and the industries we support will decide the future we create.

    Over the past decade the Sustainable Innovation Forum has been used as a platform by the United Nations, Heads of State, Government Ministers, Climate Experts and Chief Executives, to communicate leadership, raise ambition and forge stronger relationships between the public and private sectors.

    Climate Action has curated a thoroughly researched and validated programme aligned to the key trends and challenges we face in our collective fight against climate change. The programme is design to build momentum on climate action ahead of COP26 in 2021.



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    Source of Wonder-Video Series |



    Re-watch available

    If you missed any of the 4 days of the Source of Wonder then click on the videos to re-play the event.

    See the time codes in the video description under each video to watch a specific speaker on that day.

    We are currently working on making the individual video contributions public to everyone, so don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you would be notified when we release a new video!

    The Source of Wonder is hosted by Masami & Hiroo Saionji of the Goi Peace Foundation and Ervin Laszlo of the Club of Budapest – the three co-initiators of the Fuji Declaration.

    Check out our Facebook event page for more information!



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    Future of Black America |



    Future of Black America


    For Immediate Release

    November 6, 2020

    UNESCO will host a Futures Literacy Lab focusing on the Future of Black America, taking place from 10 November 2020 – 12 November 2020, online through a virtual platform.

    Since 2012, UNESCO as a global laboratory of ideas has been pioneering efforts to overcome ‘poverty-of-the-imagination’ and empower people everywhere to grasp the power of images of the future. Futures Literacy Labs, are a practical, field-tested approach that deploys action-learning to cultivate the capacity of participants to source and use images of the future. FLLs enable participants to become futures literate, to be able to ask new questions about the future of Black America, and to be ready to build Futures Literacy in their communities.

    This Futures Literacy Lab was initiated by the African American Future Society (Yul Anderson) with the UNESCO Futures Literacy team (Riel Miller and Kwamou Eva Feukeu) the International Monetary Fund (economist Sandile Hlatshwayo); and Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA). This Lab has been codesigned and will be facilitated by participatory futurists Dr Lonny Brooks (Afrorithms) and Dr Claire Nelson (The Futures Forum). Please see the attached invitation for details of the event. Please note that the Lab will take place entirely via the Internet using a telepresence platform. You will need a functioning internet connection, computer, microphone and camera. Please make sure you can be present all three days and we look forward to your participation.

    For Additional information Contact:

    Yul Anderson, [email protected] , Kwamou Eva Feukeu [email protected] AND Sandile Hlatshwayo [email protected]

    Additional Info

    UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme is a unique driver for advancing holistic capacity-building initiatives on social transformations and for building bridges between social scientific knowledge, public policies and society. With decades of experience in fostering future studies and as a global laboratory of ideas, UNESCO’s Futures Literacy initiative is premised on the idea that in an open, non-deterministic and complex emergent world, actions intended to direct societal development must incorporate a range of different ways of using the future. In other words, without more advanced approaches to using the future, there is a significant risk of excessive reliance on past models of industrialization, urbanisation, and economic growth; and the illusion that tomorrow can be engineered according to a technically determined blueprint.

    FL seeks to build people’s capacity to discern and make sense of complex emergence, and Futures Literacy Laboratories (FLL) are innovative learning-by-doing processes, with a proven track record from around the world, for achieving three outcomes. First, participants start a learning voyage, becoming acquainted with the different reasons and methods for imagining the future. They become more futures literate. Second, by exposing the assumptions that shape images of the future participants in a Lab are able to ask new questions about an important topic, like the future of Black America. Such new questions, rethinking the nature of the problems and discovering the boundaries that define inside the box thinking from outside-the-box, have direct implications for policy, strategy and decision-makers. And third, running FLL provides detailed insights into the sources of what people imagine and why, thereby enabling a better understanding of the origins of people’s fears and hopes.

    In practical terms FLL invite people to share what they know, and since no one knows the future we all begin the same and depend on our imaginations to invent images of tomorrow. The lab involves plenary sessions and working together in smaller breakout groups with peer facilitators who will guide participants through the collective intelligence knowledge creation process, allowing us to take advantage of our ability to negotiate shared meaning. The process is custom designed to enable participants to discover and specify, by moving from tacit to explicit and from conventional to newly invented, the anticipatory assumptions and related narratives they use to perceive and act in the present. By inventing, expressing, and testing their imaginations participants become better able to use-the-future.



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