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Biodiversity loss and deforestation require rapid action, including from the financial sector. The financial sector could step up investments in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Eight Dutch financial institutions have joined forces in the Biodiversity Working Group. Below, they share their plans and give examples.

Biodiversity loss results in major economic damage

Biodiversity is declining rapidly worldwide. If we do not take action now, up to one million species could disappear. Many economic sectors depend directly or indirectly on the world's diversity of plants, animals and insects. This is why biodiversity loss leads to huge costs, of between EUR 1.7 trillion and EUR 3.9 trillion each year. It is therefore crucial for future generations that we do our utmost to conserve and restore biodiversity. 

Deforestation contributes to global warming

The destruction of forests worldwide is an important indicator of biodiversity loss and has immediate negative implications for natural habitats, local communities and economies. Furthermore, deforestation contributes to global warming. We need trees because they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. Conversely, burning trees releases CO2 into the atmosphere.

Infographic about biodiversity

Investing in conserving and restoring biodiversity

There is growing awareness across the Dutch financial sector that rapid action must be taken to conserve and restore biodiversity. This requires major investments. According to the Sustainable Finance Platform's Biodiversity Working Group, it is up to financial institutions to take the lead here. This working group shares plans and good practices in its paper entitled Biodiversity; Opportunities & Risks for the Financial Sector. A key recommendation is that financial institutions make their impact on biodiversity measurable and develop new investment models, taking account of biodiversity.

Combating deforestation

Financial institutions accelerate deforestation if they invest in corporations that engage in such practices. At the same time, such investments also expose them to financial risks. A growing number of financial institutions are committing themselves to forest conservation. The working group's new Deforestation Guideline Document offers practical tools to combat deforestation and mitigate risks, such as setting up funds for ecologically responsible agriculture.

About the Working Group

The Biodiversity Working Group consists of eight Dutch financial institutions and two other organisations. Its members are Actiam, APG, ASN Bank, a.s.r., FMO, Rabobank, Robeco, ABN AMRO, ING, Van Lanschot Kempen, NWB Bank, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, and the Erasmus Platform for Sustainable Value Creation. The working group is headed by Lidwin van Velden, chair of NWB Bank's Executive Committee.

Guide: From Pledges To Action (2021)

1.7MB PDF
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Paper: A Guideline on the use of Deforestation Risk Mitigation Solutions for Financial Institutions

2.6MB PDF
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Paper: Biodiversity Opportunities and Risks for the Financial Sector (2020)

1MB PDF
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Infographic: biodiversity, opportunities and risks for the financial sector (2020)

4.7MB PDF
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