New research will integrate biodiversity and finance

Colorful field margin on the edge of a stubble field

12 projects have been launched to explore the gaps and improve integration between the financial system and biodiversity.

The new projects are part of the first phase of the ‘integrating biodiversity into finance: building a nature-positive future’ initiative and will start in 2023.

The longer-term aim is to build a multi-stakeholder community that can drive the development of knowledge, tools and a skilled community to incorporate reporting biodiversity for all business sectors.

Embedding biodiversity into finance

The purpose is to foster a holistic approach to develop the solutions needed to embed the values of biodiversity into finance.

The phase 1 awards will seed partnerships and co-design from the outset, bringing together researchers and experts from the finance and business sectors.

Addressing knowledge gaps

The finance system has a key role in shaping how the global economy responds to the intertwined challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change.

The recent Nature of Business UK survey found the majority of business leaders want to take steps to tackle biodiversity loss, but progress has been slow for a number of reasons.

The finance sector and businesses want better information and ‘decision grade’ data to help them incorporate biodiversity-related risks and opportunities into their strategic planning, risk management and investment decisions.

They also want to understand how biodiversity contributes to and is impacted by activities including along global supply chains.

Tackling biodiversity loss

These phase 1 projects involve academic institutions working in partnership with a wide range of financial sector and business partners.

The projects

Reducing commodity-driven forest and biodiversity loss by exploring and filling data gaps for due diligence

Project lead: Dr Antje Ahrends, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Dr Jonathan Green, University of York

Financial rewards for improved biodiversity outcomes

Project lead: Professor Paul Brereton, Queen’s University Belfast

Co-creating and applying a theory of change for biodiversity credits: towards a nature-positive future

Project lead: Professor Richard Field, University of Nottingham

Solent to Sussex Bay seascape restoration network

Project lead: Professor Stephen Fletcher, University of Portsmouth and Dr Claire Evans, National Oceanography Centre

Integrating finance and biodiversity for a nature positive future

Project lead: Professor Ben Groom, University of Exeter

Nature positive small and medium-sized enterprise finance

Project lead: Dr Robyn Owen, Middlesex University

Science-based markets for nature recovery

Project lead: Professor Richard Pywell, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Dr Steven Reece, University of Oxford

Integrating nature-climate scenarios and analytics for financial decision-making

Project lead: Dr Nicola Ranger, University of Oxford and Professor Paula Harrison, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Robust environmental, social and governance data for biodiversity: towards a spatially-sensitive approach to sustainable finance

Project lead: Dr Steven Reece, University of Oxford and Professor Richard Pywell, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Mediating the first transaction of biodiversity stewardship credits

Project lead: Dr Axel Rossberg, Queen Mary University of London

Integrating finance and biodiversity for a nature positive future

Project lead: Dr Hannah Rudman, Scotland’s Rural College, Dr Christopher Ellis, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Professor Marc J Metzger, The University of Edinburgh

Nature-positive investment opportunities through solar parks

Project lead: Professor Piran White, University of York

Multidisciplinary research

Further details on phase 2 of the programme, in partnership with Innovate UK, will be announced in the new year.

Jacky Wood, Head of Business Partnerships at Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), said:

The current United Nations Biodiversity conference (COP15) negotiation is highlighting the importance of building biodiversity into financial systems.

This new research will help address knowledge gaps, supporting the transition to a more nature-positive global financial system.

This new investment adds to NERC’s growing ‘Green Finance’ portfolio. It will bring together a community of researchers and experts from across disciplines to help the finance sector be part of the recovery and restoration of our natural environment.

Top image:  Credit: RuudMorijn, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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