Finance For Biodiversity and Paulson Institute host forum on how to build a nature-positive economy

April 28, 2021

Global experts from finance, conservation, and public policy sectors discuss valuing nature as essential to future financial decision-making

Yesterday, NatureFinance (formerly known as Finance for Biodiversity (F4B)) and the Paulson Institute (PI) in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, and the Institute of International Finance (IIF) hosted a webinar entitled Finance for Nature: Making Nature Count. The event opened a conversation with leading finance, conservation, business, and policy experts around the importance of including nature in financial decision-making amid record global biodiversity loss.

With tropical forests in retreat and the extinction of species estimated at 1,000 times the average rate, nature’s ability to provide the goods and services humans depend upon is undermined, presenting huge risks to prosperity. The event, moderated by PI’s Vice Chairman and Executive Director Deborah Lehr, featured opening remarks by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Chairman and Founder of the Paulson Institute, and speakers – Andrew Deutz, Director of Global Policy for Institutions and Conservation Finance, TNC; Sonja Gibbs, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, Global Policy Initiatives, Institute of International Finance; Kathy Baughman McLeod, Senior Vice President, and Director, Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Atlantic Council; and Simon Zadek, Chair, F4B – who together discussed how to harness the power of financial markets to protect the environment and prevent its rapid destruction.

“Properly valuing nature is arguably one of the most important tasks for governments over the next decade, and the urgency is increasing by the day. As governments work to kick-start their economies after COVID-19, finance ministers must understand the economic rationale and make a case for a green recovery,”

said Henry M. Paulson, Jr., laying out the crux of the issue.

Policymakers must learn to value nature, providing the right conditions and incentives to drive change. An important step is to value nature in the same way as traditional goods and services, to create incentives to avoid biodiversity loss, manage climate change, and preserve lives and livelihoods.

Simon Zadek commented that

“Finance for Biodiversity is committed to making nature count in financing decisions since it already counts in our daily lives and is a keystone of any sustainable future. And this is entirely feasible through credible policy commitments and targets, improved data and disclosure, enhanced liabilities, embedding natural capital in the world’s debt markets and public spending criteria, and by empowering citizens as consumers, savers, investors, and taxpayers.”

“Preserving natural capital is a shared responsibility, and global finance has an essential role. Understanding and pricing nature-related risks – and opportunities – is key to scaling up much-needed investment to protect irreplaceable biodiversity and other natural resources.”

said Sonja Gibbs.

Providing an expert conservation perspective, Andrew Deutz added,

“In meeting the COVID-19-induced economic downturn, we are witnessing one of the fastest economic transitions ever known. To succeed, we must incorporate nature-positive recovery plans that support a more resilient future for people, the planet, and economic prosperity. Nature-based solutions can deliver climate mitigation and adaptation benefits and a wide range of vital infrastructure services, such as improved water quality, flood control, and disaster risk reduction while also benefitting biodiversity. Nature-based solutions can also offer greater job creation and economic stimulus relative to traditional, brown energy and infrastructure solution.”

“Nature doesn’t depend on us; we depend on nature, and desperately so. Its value should be quantified and made an essential component of a financial system that is currently wholly unsustainable and will remain so without the full inclusion of the cost and/or benefit of destroying, protecting, or improving nature’s services in our value chain,”

said Kathy Baughman McLeod.

View the entire discussion HERE.

Download press release HERE.

This webinar is the first in a series of joint Finance for Nature events focused on the nexus of nature and financial markets, hosted by PI and NatureFinance (formerly known as Finance for Biodiversity (F4B)).

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