In 2019, the banks analysed provided more than USD 380 billion of finance to the food sector (includes activities related to agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture).

This sector has been identified as one of the largest drivers of global biodiversity loss. Twenty per cent of the finance was associated with direct impact on biodiversity, particularly in areas such as agricultural chemicals, fishing, and farming.

45% 55%
Total loans of all 50 banks:
USD 380 Billion
  • Top Ten Banks
  • Rest
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Ten banks with largest finance at risk in the food system sector (2019, million USD)


  • Three largest banks were all from the USA. Top ten banks were all from the USA and Europe.
  • Funds went to supermarkets, food processing companies and international grain traders. A number of leather goods and palm oil companies also received funds.
  • The majority of the loans were predominantly linked to indirect biodiversity impact risks.
  • The bank with the largest percentage of its total assets linked to the food systems was Rabobank, a global leader in the agricultural banking sector.
  • Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase were identified as the largest absolute investors.

Industry Scope & Biodiversity Impact

Fisheries & Aquaculture

Global fish production reached nearly 180 million tons in 2018 with industry value at more than USD 400 billion.

Much of the growth of these sectors originates from an increase in aquaculture production – now 42 per cent of total production.

China is by far the largest producer of fish, accounting for 35 per cent of the world’s total production.

The footprint of industrial fishing covers more than 55 per cent of ocean areas.

Top exporters of fish products (2018, million USD)

TOP IMPORTERS of fish products (2018, million USD)

Total trade value: 148,000

Three-quarters of major marine fish stocks are fully or over-exploited or depleted. Stocks fished at unsustainable levels more than tripled from 10 per cent to 34 per cent in recent decades.

Since overfishing can cause chain reactions that decrease marine biodiversity drastically, it has even been argued that there will be no seafood left in 40 years’ time if no action is taken.

Practices with significant biodiversity impact include bottom trawling, overfishing on seamounts, driftnets, and aquaculture.


Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to global biodiversity loss.

Every day, agriculture produces an average of 23.7 million tons of food, provides livelihoods for 2.5 billion people, and is the largest source of income and jobs for poor, rural households.

Species diversity has largely been lost. For example, around 6,000 plant species are cultivated for food but fewer than 200 contribute substantially to global food output, and only nine account for 66 per cent of total crop production.

At the current rate of consumption and population growth, the world will need to increase food production by 60 to 70 per cent to feed more than nine billion people by 2050. Radical changes in the food system will be needed to address the effects of this on biodiversity.

Top exporters of agricultural products (2018, million USD)

TOP IMPORTERS of AGRICULTURAL products (2018, million USD)

Total trade value: 1,200,000

Agriculture destroys biodiversity by driving the conversion of natural habitats to intensely managed systems and by releasing pollutants, including greenhouses gases. Energy use, transport, waste and packaging cause further impact.

If current trends continue, the global calorific demand will increase by 70 per cent in 2050, and crop demand for human consumption and animal feed will increase by at least 100 per cent, further increasing pressure on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Practices with significant biodiversity impact include pesticides, chemical fertilisers, and deforestation.

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