Investors and Biodiversity: The Natural Value Initiative Project 2008 - 2009

The financial sector’s role in facilitating others to damage biodiversity and ecosystem services is increasingly being recognized.  Reputation risks and liabilities from association with bad practice are especially well known in project finance. The business risks of losing security of supply or the implications of potential failure of vital ecosystem services (such as a stable water supply or climate control) as a threat to returns on investment is being better understood.  In response markets are working to offer new investment opportunities to investors. These challenges have direct impacts on financial performance, especially in sectors that are closely dependent on ecosystem services or which significantly impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Communication on this issue between companies in these sectors and the financial community is weak.  Strong practices remain unrewarded and risk exposure unnoticed. The Natural Value Initiative (NVI) bridges this gap by working with the finance sector to evaluate the investment risks and opportunities posed by companies’ dependence and impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services. A clear business case enables investors to understand and manage the impacts of their investments on biodiversity and ecosystem services as a result of a range of emerging opportunities and risks.

NVI toolkit
The Natural Value Initiative (NVI) has developed a toolkit to enable the finance sector to:
  • Evaluate how well the food, beverage and tobacco (FBT) sectors are managing biodiversity and ecosystem services risks and opportunities; and
  • Engage with FBT companies to reduce their risk exposure through the responsible management and harvesting of natural resources.

The toolkit consists of the following:
  • The Ecosystem Services Benchmark:  The ESB has been developed to enable institutional investors to better understand the risks and opportunities associated with the impacts and dependencies of the companies in which they invest in relation to biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • The Ecosystem Services Benchmark Guidance Document: This document describes the Ecosystem Services Benchmark (ESB), its content, application, strengths and weaknesses.
  • The Ecosystem Services Benchmark V1: A template of the benchmark in Microsoft Excel.
  • Linking shareholder and natural value: A report from our pilot study of the tool.
  • A briefing document for the food, beverage and tobacco sectors on biodiversity and ecosystem services:  A document outlining the business case for managing dependence and impacts on ecosystem services focusing on the food, beverage and tobacco sectors.

linking_shareholder_natural_value_OCT2009.pdf linking_shareholder_natural_value_OCT2009.pdf
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ecosys_benchmark_OCT2009.pdf ecosys_benchmark_OCT2009.pdf
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Fauna & Flora International (FFI)
The Natural Value Initiative is led by Fauna & Flora International (FFI).  FFI is the world’s first established international conservation body, founded in 1903. FFI acts to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, are based on sound science and take account of human needs. Through its Global Corporate Partnership Programme, FFI aspires to create an environment where business has a long-term positive impact on biodiversity conservation. Risks are increasingly being recognised by the finance sector and within the companies in which they invest. However, tools to enable a rigorous evaluation of performance on this issue are scarce. 

Natural Value Initiative
The Natural Value Initiative (NVI) is working with the finance sector to address this gap. The Natural Value Initiative has four broad objectives, to:
    • Build awareness of corporate dependence on ecosystem services and impact on biodiversity and the links to corporate risk;
    • Build expertise both in companies and investors on evaluating and managing biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) risks and opportunities;
    • Stimulate improved performance within the private sector and encourage greater reward of responsible behaviour;
    • Mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) into investment analysis.

Partners and collaborators include:

The Natural Value Initiative is currently collaborating with the following investors:
    • UK-based asset managers Aviva Investors and F&C Investments;
    • US-based asset managers Calvert Investment Management, Inc. and Pax World;
    • Dutch investors Mn Services, Robeco and Syntrus Achmea; and
    • Australian pension fund VicSuper.
We are also working in collaboration with a Swedish advisor to institutional investors, Ethix SRI Advisors.  Collectively, these represent £787 billion (approximately Euro 913 billion, US$ 1,223 billion) of assets under management.1

Non-governmental organisations
UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative is a strategic public private partnership between the UNEP and the global financial sector. UNEP FI works with over 200 financial institutions that are signatories to the UNEP FI Statements, and a range of partner organisations to develop and promote linkages between the environment, sustainability and financial performance.

Vereniging van Beleggers voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling
De Vereniging van Beleggers voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling (VBDO) aims at generating a more sustainable capital market by raising awareness both with multinational corporations and investors about the contributions they can make towards a sustainable capital market. The VBDO also formulates strong opinions on different topics related to sustainability, and regularly carries out research, visits Annual General Meetings of stock listed companies and engages in an active dialogue with banks, insurance companies, media and stock listed companies. As such VBDO is the only association in the Netherlands representing institutional as well as individual sustainable investors.

Academic organisations
Nyenrode Business Universiteit
The Center for Sustainability of Nyenrode Business Universiteit is a multidisciplinary team of academic professionals that focuses on:
    • Adding sustainable value for our clients and our society, by means of;
    • Conducting practice-related scientific research, to;
    • Stimulate sustainable development and innovation in business and society; and
    • Offering leading higher education on sustainable development.


  • Zoe Cullen - Fauna & Flora International
  • Laura Somerville - Fauna & Flora International
  • Jack Foxall - Fauna & Flora International
  • Susan Steinhagen - UNEPFI
  • Paul-Clements Hunt - UNEPFI
  • Juarez José Ferraz de Campos - FFV
  • Roberto Strumpf - FFV


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