Nature in Cornwall

Making biodiversity renewal a key consideration in the financial system is the subject of a research programme that has received a further £3 million to launch a new network and hub.

The Integrating Finance & Biodiversity for a Nature Positive programme launched in April 2023 to find new methods to reduce the global economy’s damage to the planet and improve sustainability.

Phase 1 of the programme explored the gap between biodiversity and the financial system, with its outcomes prompting the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Innovate UK to award a further £3 million to launch a new network and strategic coordination hub, which is tasked with delivering the second phase of the programme.

The new hub will be a multi-stakeholder community that builds knowledge, tools, collaboration and capacity to incorporate biodiversity-related risks and opportunities into business strategy, investment decisions, reporting and high integrity biodiversity markets.

It will connect with the financial services sector as well as with business, and the public and third sectors.

According to the Nature of Business report by CBI Economics and the University of Exeter, the majority of business leaders want to take steps to tackle biodiversity loss, but progress has been slow due to a lack of data.

The University of Exeter is among 17 institutions working on the programme.

“Professor Ben Groom, Dragon Capital Chair in Environmental Economics at the University of Exeter Business School, said: “The finance system has a vital role in shaping how the global economy responds to and reduces biodiversity loss and climate change. With the second phase of this programme we aim to close the data and knowledge gaps, evaluate the extent to which nature based risks are taken into account by investors and financial institutions, and offer solutions to ensure sustainable decision-making.”

Dr Nick Wells, Principal Investigator of the network and Director of Impact and Innovation at UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH), said: “Our vision is to build national capability bridging scientific, finance, policy and third sector communities, harnessing and catalysing world-leading science to enable the greening of finance for nature and mobilisation of capital for nature recovery.”