We are now facing biological annihilation. Despite the role banks and the finance sector play in this catastrophe, their impact on biodiversity remains unchecked.
- One million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.
- Three-quarters of the planet’s land surface and two-thirds of its ocean areas are significantly changed.
- International agreements, such as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set in 2010, have failed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
Our survival depends on our environment
Half of the world’s GDP is indebted to nature and the services it provides such as pollination, water quality, and disease control. When we radically alter nature, we also risk creating the conditions in which pandemics such as COVID-19 emerge.
Environmental destruction is contributing to an USD 8 trillion hole in our global economy, rising unemployment, and social inequality.
Meanwhile, banks and investors continue to finance unsustainable business practices which scientists and governments agree drive biodiversity loss.
10 per cent of the world’s public companies generate 80 per cent of all profit.
Increasing corporate consolidation has resulted in an ever-smaller number of banks provide financing to an ever-smaller number of corporates. 10 per cent of the world’s public companies generate 80 per cent of all profit. And yet, despite banks’ increasing and global influence, in nearly all countries banks hold no liability for the biodiversity damage they cause.
Global initiatives such as the Consumer Goods Forum, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), the Equator Principles, and the Principles for Responsible Investment have not led to transformative reduction of biodiversity loss.
The banks assessed in this report have no comprehensive policies or due diligence mechanisms in place to address their impact themselves.
The scrutiny the finance industry faces about their contribution is mounting
Governments and scientists agree that to halt and reverse the current biodiversity crisis, nothing short of transformative change is required.
Recent scandals have shown that left to themselves, some of the largest banks in the world will game the system.
Concrete action must come from all parts of our political economy – banks, regulators, other financial actors, the judiciary, governments, and citizens – to create the right rules, responsibilities, and culture to halt and reverse the decline of nature.