CEO’s Perspective

Amanda Blanc, CEO, Aviva

The financial sector’s role in protecting biodiversity and helping to restore the natural world cannot be overstated.

Our industry has for too long been part of a wider market failure. The value of the natural world, and the costs that come from its destruction, have not been properly factored into asset prices. This free-riding on the planet’s natural capital has contributed to a catastrophic loss of biodiversity around the world, and it is high time that changed.

As well as making sure the sector no longer contributes to the problem, we have an important role to play in correcting the mistakes of the past and in working towards a healthier, more sustainable ecosystem. It is estimated that there is a USD 43.1 trillion financing gap for biodiversity and far too little investment is currently coming from the private sector. There are some valuable lessons and advice in this handbook which will help our industry engage with the issues and do more to provide the flow of capital that’s so badly needed.

While the challenges of climate change are rightly dominating attention, we must not forget that there is no time to leave the conservation and restoration of nature for another day. The two problems are closely linked, and success in one fundamentally depends on success in the other. For example, in a recent Aviva report, ‘Building Future Communities’, our research recommends greater use of nature-based, site specific solutions to help to guard against multiple climate risks, such as flooding.

It is critical that the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, to be agreed at the Kunming Conference on the Convention for Biological Diversity in 2022, be ambitious, and clearly and explicitly provide direction on the role the financial sector has to play in protecting our fragile natural environment.

Aviva recognises the need for our action on biodiversity to match the ambition we have shown on climate change, where our 2040 net zero plan is the most demanding of any major insurer on the planet. We are still in the early stages, but have made our intent and commitment clear in recently signing the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, and joining the Terra Carta Initiative. Our new global partnership with WWF will also help propel our efforts. However, we know that there is much more to be done, and we will be launching a biodiversity policy later this year to provide the framework for our actions to meet the challenges we all face. I’d urge everyone in the sector to do the same.