Each of the millions of species that call Earth “home” plays an important role in balancing and preserving its ecosystem. This biodiversity, which has enabled human beings to satisfy basic needs for food, medicine and water, is proving decisive in finance. Here’s what you need to know about how nature and biodiversity influence the decisions Santander makes.
“Biodiversity” refers to the vast number of living things and natural resources that populate the planet, how they have evolved and how they interact to benefit from their ecosystem. It is a network of animals, plants and micro-organisms in various habitats on land, in the water and in the sky.
Human beings have always relied on mining, fishing, forestry, farming and raising livestock; but overexploitation has caused damage to nature and biodiversity, destroying land, water and natural resources, and wiping out species of animals and plants. According to the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2022, populations of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians have declined, on average, by 69%.
Biodiversity and sustainable investment
No future is possible without nature and biodiversity. As they deteriorate, humans risk not being able to produce food, obtain raw materials for goods and services, or find genetic resources that are needed in farming and medicine or to ensure general food security. Biodiversity is being affected by climate change, which must also be dealt with. No nature or biodiversity means no social or economic development. People and businesses need to commit to tackling major environmental challenges.
In this climate emergency, sustainable finance is playing an important role in bringing industry and society together to protect species and ecosystems by putting capital at the service of the planet. You can find a wide array of sustainable investment products that apply ESG standards and fund environmental and social projects and initiatives. Depending on your goal, you can invest in sustainable funds, green and social bonds, green loans and other financial products. If you are interested in protecting marine biodiversity and ecosystems, you could choose investment products, like blue bonds. Companies that issue these products offer you a return and promise to use proceeds for ecological conservation.
What is the Global Biodiversity Framework?
This historic agreement reached at the 2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada, aims to protect and recover nature and biodiversity by 2030. It sets out 23 targets, such as conserving and managing 30% of land, coastal areas and oceans; halving global food waste; and requiring financial institutions to monitor, assess and transparently disclose risks and impacts on biodiversity.
What is Santander doing to protect biodiversity?
The financial sector has an impact on nature and biodiversity. At Santander, we commit to finding out how our financing affects nature and how much our business depends on such activities as logging, mining and agriculture. Our materiality assessment identified 15 ESG areas of focus, including nature and biodiversity.
In accordance with Target 15 of the Global Biodiversity Framework, Santander is running an impact assessment of our business regarding nature and biodiversity. In Brazil, we are helping protect the Amazon Rainforest. Our action includes checking loan applications from farmers and meat producers to make sure they have no connection to illegal timber or the invasion of indigenous lands. If we approve them, we run the same check throughout the life of the loan.
In the UK, we are founder members of the Net Zero With Nature initiative to capture funds for restoring wildlife parks, like Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park, in addition to preventing carbon emissions naturally.
We’re also supporting nature and biodiversity through the Motor Verde initiative, which is funding three new forests being planted on 300 hectares in Spain to offset 82,000 tonnes of CO2.
Nature and biodiversity are in danger. Stopping their destruction and helping them recover is one of society’s biggest challenges. It will ensure enough resources for future generations. Earth and the challenge of protecting it belong to everyone.