COP15 an opportunity for finance sector to play role in tackling nature loss

Governments should adopt an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15 that includes investors’ contribution to the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems, says the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).

The Biodiversity Conference to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) held 7 – 19 December 2022 in Montréal, has the opportunity to bring together an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework, akin to that of the Paris Agreement for tackling climate change. 

ACSI CEO Louise Davidson says “More than half of the world’s GDP depends on nature. If concerted efforts aren’t made to arrest biodiversity loss, it could have a catastrophic impact both on society and on the economy.”

“All governments should step up their collective response to the nature crisis. It is important that global leaders at COP15 establish an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework to better protect nature and biodiversity.“

“Importantly, the Australian Government has already committed to protecting at least 30% of Australia’s lands and oceans by 2030 – a commitment that governments globally should adopt.”

“The outcome of COP15 will also have significant impact on how we address climate change. We cannot reach net-zero emissions without reversing nature loss. Nature-related risk is a significant issue for investors.”

Biodiversity loss is predicted to wipe up to US$20 billion from the Australian economy annually by 2050. The rapid decline of nature and biodiversity presents a material financial risk to investors and companies, as well as an opportunity for new investment. Not only are there significant risks, but there are also vast opportunities – a nature-friendly economy could deliver $10 trillion of annual business opportunities and 395 million jobs by 2030.

“Maintaining business-as-usual is no longer an option. It would be likely to cause significant financial loss over the long-term. Leadership and action are needed to manage the investment risks associated with the rapid decline of nature.”

“Companies’ dependence on nature, and their impact on nature, creates material risks and opportunities for investors. As long-term investors, ACSI’s members have a strong interest both in managing the risks associated with biodiversity loss, and in encouraging companies to pursue opportunities associated with preserving and restoring biodiversity.”

“It will be important that government and industry develop better measurement and data analysis tools to support the business community to better manage risk and contribute to a nature-positive transition.”

ACSI joined with150 financial institutions, managing more than USD $24 trillion to sign a letter calling for an agreement at COP15 that creates the clarity and action needed to align all actors, including the global finance and business sectors, to restore nature and halt biodiversity loss. This should include support for the assessment and disclosure of nature-related impacts and dependencies.

ACSI calls on governments to agree to clear targets and timelines to take action and support the development of a pipeline of nature-positive projects and investments.

“Investors have a role to play in tackling the world’s biggest economic challenges. Ensuring that there is a clear and robust and transformational Global Biodiversity Framework will provide a strong foundation for finance to focus on managing nature-related risks and opportunities”, Ms Davidson said. 

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