Governments and private companies need to scale up their financial commitments to address the climate crisis through nature-based solutions and take advantage of undervalued opportunities in the field of green finance, according to participants of the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) event alongside COP26 in Glasgow.
The GLF held its fifth Investment Case symposium on the third day of its conference, which took place in parallel with the UN climate change summit. As part of the Luxembourg–GLF Finance for Nature Platform, the symposium aimed to promote nature-based solutions and sustainable land-use approaches in green finance practices, while exploring opportunities to expand investments in nature-based solutions.
Carbon markets, sustainable finance, public-private partnerships and environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds are among a range of tools available to help build on the money that governments have pledged to fight the climate crisis over the coming decades. The financial industry’s wealth of expertise and resources are vital to turn billions of dollars into trillions and create positive tipping points in ecosystems.
Policymakers, Indigenous leaders, writers, youth activists and scientists took part in the event, with speakers including Yannick Glemarec, executive director of the Green Climate Fund; Samantha Power, administrator of USAID; and Vivienne Yeda, director general of the East African Development Bank.
“Many more private sector actors are seeing that the writing is on the wall, both from the standpoint of their brand and also of their business models,” Power said in a plenary discussion with the GLF’s Salina Abraham. “When the private sector commitment to an issue becomes more reliable, it’s when the cost-benefit calculus shifts. And I think that is what has begun, which we can all be encouraged by.”
Plenary participants focused on the symbiotic strategies of ‘financing green’ – the financing of projects that conserve, restore and sustainably use biodiversity and its services – and ‘greening finance,’ which refers to the directing of financial flows away from projects with a negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystems.
“There is only one nature out there, there is only one planet out there, and if we do not save it, it’s not the planet that is going to disappear – it’s humankind,” said Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna in his address.
During the day, Plenamata launched a platform to conserve the Amazon. The session looked at how business can be a positive force for conserving forests and conserving biodiversity. Tasso Azevedo of MapBiomas said 98 percent of deforestation in Brazil had elements of illegality, calling on business leaders remove the biome out of supply chains.
“Ultimately, there is no business on a dead planet,” said Lucy Coast, communications director of Business for Nature. “But nature can provide up to 30 percent of the solution to climate change.” She added that about USD 10 trillion in business opportunities could be unlocked by transforming three key systems: food, infrastructure and energy.
Another session, hosted by the Plan Vivo Foundation, dealt with the complexities of community forest landscapes, which have competing interests for limited and contested resources. Other topics covered blended finance from different sources – such as emissions reduction programs – to address sustainable landscape management issues at scale, and the importance of developing nature-positive supply chains.
“We are seeing a clear trend that more and more people are buying responsibly,” said Michael Metz, managing director of DeLaSelva Rainforest Products. “They want to know where the products come from, who grew them, and under what conditions they were grown, processed and produced. But it is no longer enough just to be sustainable, fair or even nature-positive – the quality must match as well.”
A final plenary session, moderated by Amy Duchelle of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), rounded off the symposium by addressing possible ways of solving the funding gap for local communities and exploring good practices for green finance with potential for local impacts at scale.
“Good sustainable finance always needs to take into account both environmental and social issues,” said Carole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg’s minister for the environment, climate and sustainable development. “Collective efforts and partnerships advancing the drive toward nature-based solutions are still very much needed, just as much as the better distribution of the benefits derived once we’ve increased that sustainable finance contribution.”
In the speech, the minister announced next year’s sixth Investment Case Symposium under the Luxembourg–GLF Finance for Nature platform to monitor actions undertaken and progress made in mainstreaming investments for nature-based solutions.