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A Biodiversity Accounting Standard for the Financial Industry

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How can financial institutions reduce their negative impact on global biodiversity and work towards biodiversity restoration? A question that the Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF), an international partnership of banks, asset managers and investors, has been working on for several years.

PBAF offers a new and free standard for financial institutions to measure the impact of loans and investments on biodiversity. According to PBAF, every bank, asset manager or pension fund can use this to measure and take action in a targeted way towards reducing their negative impact, and protecting and restoring biodiversity. The PBAF participants call on other financial institutions to join them and work together towards a single global approach for the financial sector.

The PBAF Standard v 2022

The PBAF Standard v 2022 consists of three different documents being a Q&A, an overview of approaches and a document on biodiversity footprinting. The individual documents are explained in more detail below. 

PBAF Q&A- Introduction to biodiversity impact assessment

Q&A- Introduction [pdf]
Offering an introduction to biodiversity impact assessment for financial institutions in sixteen questions and answers.
Target group: Financial institutions & impact investors that are just starting to orientate themselves on biodiversity impact assessment.

PBAF Standard v 2022 Biodiversity impact assessment – Overview of approaches

Overview of approaches [pdf]
Provides an overview of different biodiversity impact assessment approaches that can be used by financial institutions and includes a chapter on ‘Positive impact’.
Target group: Financial institutions & impact investors that have limited knowledge and experience, to more experienced financial institutions & impact investors

PBAF Standard v 2022 Biodiversity impact assessment – Footprinting

Footprinting [pdf]
Presents PBAF’s view on biodiversity footprinting: what does a biodiversity footprint need to comply with to provide the right information to financial institutions. Includes requirements and recommendations.
Target group: Financial institutions & impact investors with some experience on impact assessment, data providers and tool developers

Watch the recorded webinar of the Standard launch

Roel Nozeman, Senior Advisor on Biodiversity at ASN Bank and PBAF Programme Director, presented the report today on behalf of the 36 PBAF participants.

Roel Nozeman, Senior Advisor on Biodiversity at ASN Bank and PBAF Programme Director, presented the report today on behalf of the 36 PBAF participants.

Biodiversity is under severe pressure worldwide. And yet our society and economies are highly dependent on the functions that nature provides. The financial sector has a crucial role to play in reducing damage to biodiversity and in guiding the sustainable use, protection and restoration of nature. Being able to measure our impact on biodiversity is an important prerequisite for fulfilling this role. The report we are presenting today gives banks, asset managers and pension funds the insights they need to get started on this right away. It is an invitation to all financial institutions worldwide to join us in building a sustainable future.

From overview to a more step-by-step approach for financial institutions

The 'PBAF Standard 2022' describes by way of requirements and recommendations what is needed to carry out a biodiversity footprint: an assessment for financial institutions to measure, manage and report on the negative and positive impact of their loans and investments (e.g. shares, bonds and green bonds) on biodiversity. For example, fund managers can estimate the loss of biodiversity from an investment in an international food company and gain insight into the underlying causes.

Besides important preconditions, the standard explains various methodologies and tools that financial institutions can use to map out their impact. Innovative examples are the use of satellite images to map deforestation and the detection of certain animal species through DNA traces in rivers.

The standard is harmonized as much as possible with other initiatives in the financial sector, such as the Taskforce for Nature Related Disclosures (TNFD), the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) and the EU Align project.

Sounding board

A PBAF Sounding Board with experts in the field of biodiversity impact and dependency assessment has been established to provide feedback on the draft guidance, requirements and recommendations included in the draft PBAF Standard. This feedback is taken into account to the extent possible in the PBAF Standard published. Feedback which cannot yet be taken into account feeds into the discussions in the PBAF Working groups. Outcomes of these working groups are taken up in future revisions of the PBAF Standard.

List of PBAF Sounding Board members:

  • Capitals Coalition
  • CDC Biodiversité
  • Commonland
  • FAIRR
  • Foundation for Sustainable Development
  • GlobalBalance
  • I-Care Consult
  • Iceberg Datalab
  • PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
  • TNFD
  • UNEP-FI
  • UNEP-WCMC
  • WWF-Netherlands

NB: All feedback by PBAF Sounding Board members is carefully considered, but not all feedback is integrated in the PBAF Standard. This also means that the PBAF Standard not necessarily reflects the opinion of the Sounding Board members.