In 2019, the world’s largest banks invested more than USD 2.6 trillion (equivalent to Canada’s GDP) in sectors governments and scientists agree are the primary drivers of biodiversity destruction.

The average finance provided by each bank was USD 52 billion, ranging from more than 210 billion for the largest investor to 1.3 billion for the smallest.

Banks are unwilling and have not prepared to tackle the biodiversity crisis.

None of the banks assessed had chosen to put sufficient systems in place to monitor or measure the impact of their loans on biodiversity, nor did they have comprehensive policies to halt it.

Banks play a key role in a financial system that free rides on biodiversity, and the regulators and rules which govern banks currently protect them from any consequences.

Other Findings

  • The top three of the 10 banks with the largest exposure to biodiversity risks were headquartered in the USA.
  • Around 26 per cent of all loans and underwritings by the 50 banks were linked to Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. Wells Fargo, another American bank, was the fifth largest investor in industry sectors with high biodiversity risks.
  • Three Japanese banks (Mizuho Financial, Mitsubishi Financial and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation) featured in the top ten banks, as well as three European banks: BNP Paribas, HSBC, and Barclays
  • A raft of Chinese banks, considered the world’s largest banks, were further down the list.
  • Tourism and the forestry sector accounted for the smallest proportion
  • Thirty-two per cent of all loans and underwriting were associated with infrastructure, 25 per cent with metal and mineral mining, and a further 20 per cent with fossil fuels.
  • While food production (agriculture and fisheries) was only connected to 10 per cent of all investments, this sector is considered to have the largest impact on global biodiversity.
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