Made in Marseille – The framework for a global biodiversity strategy?
The Marseille conference follows the launch of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration earlier this year, which aims to prevent, stop and reverse ecosystem degradation on all continents and in all oceans..
This year and next will see separate and crucial United Nations summits on climate, food systems and biodiversity. These will seek to shape the foreseeable future of the planet.
A key message from this week’s conference is already the importance of recognizing the links between the destruction of ecosystems, the climate crisis and the health and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These four crises are not distinct. They – and their solutions – are closely linked. Covid-19 itself can be seen as a consequence of environmental degradation. Climate change is a greater threat than anything seen before to the future of many species and will exacerbate the social and economic problems left by the pandemic.
In a pre-conference statement, French President Emmanuel Macron said the aim was to “put nature at the top of international priorities”. And this “because our destinies are intrinsically linked, planet, climate, nature and human communities”.
A global framework for biodiversity.
President Macron called on the IUCN conference to lay the “first foundations” of a global biodiversity framework that will be at the center of the deliberations of the United Nations biodiversity summit to be held in China in April / May 2022 .
This reflects the efforts of the international community to set intermediate goals for this decade as well as longer-term goals for 2050.
New challenges for investors
The sophisticated investors we work with as asset managers are comfortable with risk, but the biodiversity and climate crises demand new terminology.
Like climate change, biodiversity loss is happening, not a potential event in the future. There is great uncertainty as to how this process can unfold and how far reaching and negative the results will be. However, it is quite clear that maintaining the status quo is leading us to disaster, and we must change course.
The collapse of the ecosystem is already underway, initiated and driven by human activity. It proceeds according to biological processes and complex interactions between species, and not according to the laws of economics or statistical analysis. Relying too much on our old models of risk management can obscure the true nature of the threat we face and our role in driving it.
When we use the term “systemic risk” in this context, we are not simply talking about threats to financial stability; we are talking about the damage to society when essential life systems are damaged or out of balance. This type of threat is particularly difficult to model, with potentially unlimited downside risk.
Nature is unraveling – a risk impossible to cover
The loss of biodiversity poses a risk of unprecedented magnitude and importance. It’s hard to overstate its scale. All sectors of the economy face various forms of systemic risk, as damaged and destabilized ecosystems lead to droughts, famines, disease, as well as the inevitable mass migration and conflicts that accompany these unexpected but predictable disasters.
To manage this, we believe that investors must exert their full influence on the problem, including more effective corporate engagement and public policy advocacy.
But also a great opportunity
Along with the shift to a low-carbon economy, the transition to a global economy in harmony with nature represents the most important investment opportunity of our lives. According to the World Economic Forum, these “positive pathways” are expected to deliver $ 10 trillion in business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030. ”
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All opinions expressed herein are those of the author as of the date of publication, are based on available information, and are subject to change without notice. Individual portfolio management teams may have different opinions and make different investment decisions for different clients.
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