Infrastructure has seen the largest investment of all biodiversity-related sectors – with USD 800 billion in finance provided in 2019.

The three largest industry activities included in this driver of biodiversity loss are construction and engineering, electric utilities, and industrial conglomerates.

54% 46%
Total loans of all 50 banks:
USD 830 Billion
  • Top Ten Banks
  • Rest
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Ten banks with largest finance at risk in the infrastructure sector (2019, million USD)


Of note here is that the Bank of China entered the list of the ten largest lenders.

The largest borrowers of finance associated with infrastructure include companies operating in the fossil fuel sector, as well as large international construction companies and corporations focusing on electric utility infrastructure.

Industry Scope

Key infrastructure linked to biodiversity impacts includes roads, dams, and the production and use of cement.

The Global Infrastructure Outlook argues that by 2040, additional infrastructure worth USD 95 trillion will need to be built: USD 34 trillion for roads, USD 28 trillion for energy, USD 11 trillion for rail, USD 8.9 trillion for telecommunications, USD 6.4 trillion for water, and USD 4.9 trillion for airports and seaports.

Many large infrastructure projects rely on concrete. The value of the ready-mix concrete market alone is more than USD 650 billion and expected to rise to USD 1.2 trillion by 2027.

Infrastructure expenditure needed (2019, million USD)

Hydropower capacity installed by country (2019,GW)

Biodiversity Impact

An analysis on the Amazon found that deforestation was much higher near roads and rivers than elsewhere. Nearly 95 per cent of all deforestation occurred within 5.5 kilometres of roads or 1 kilometre of rivers.

Roads result in habitat fragmentation, deforestation, and reduced wildlife abundance though disturbance, mortality (road kills), and overhunting, particularly in tropical regions.

Damming rivers is one of the main threats to freshwater biodiversity through obstruction of migration routes which are essential for spawning and feeding, which can lead directly to the extinction of genetically distinct stocks or species. Flooding destroys biodiverse habitats, and dams can also lead to river sediment starvation and ultimately coastal erosion in delta regions and estuaries.

The production of concrete is responsible for 9 per cent of global industrial water withdrawals and by 2050, 75 per cent of the water demand for concrete production will likely occur in regions expected to experience water stress.

The extraction of raw materials needed for concrete production (such as sand, gravel, and limestone) can contribute to habitat degradation, fragmentation, and loss.

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