Biodiversity matters. Not only does it matter for its own sake, but also because of the immense value of ecosystem services to human wellbeing.

Biodiversity has rapidly risen up the agenda for companies and investors alike. However, there is limited information about how companies are addressing biodiversity-related risks and opportunities. Nor is there consensus over how best to respond to the challenge of protecting and restoring biodiversity at the pace and scale needed.

This motivated our collaboration with independent academics from Imperial College London to find case studies where companies are investing in activities that protect nature to reduce risks and generate commercial benefits, such as supply chain resilience, cost reductions, revenue creation and commercial advantage. By shining a light on these examples, the report identifies actions that governments and companies can take to mobilise more private sector investment in service of biodiversity protection or restoration.

Executive Summary

  • Biodiversity concerns were not the primary drivers for corporate action in the cases that were examined. Aside from where they are required by regulation, actions to protect biodiversity are currently only pursued where they deliver broader corporate objectives. Motivations may be commercial – such as supply chain resilience – or related to other environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives like ensuring a social license to operate.
  • Drivers of action are found to vary by case study. For example, in line with expectations that industries have greater incentive to invest in biodiversity conservation where they see direct benefits, sustainable sourcing emerged as a primary driver where products rely on the natural environment. By contrast, while consumer preferences can in theory yield reputational benefits, the case studies did not provide conclusive evidence of this.
  • The research highlights the limited scale of corporate action to protect biodiversity today. Building on the conclusions of the report, the report identifies actions that governments and companies should take to encourage and enable nature-positive investments, as well as areas for further research.

The original research paper, commissioned via Imperial Consultants, can be accessed on the Imperial College Business School website, here.

Nothing presented herein is intended to constitute investment advice and no investment decision should be made solely based on this information.  Nothing presented should be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular type of security or follow any investment technique or strategy.  Information presented herein reflects Impax Asset Management’s views at a particular time.  Such views are subject to change at any point and Impax Asset Management shall not be obligated to provide any notice.  Any forward-looking statements or forecasts are based on assumptions and actual results are expected to vary.  While Impax Asset Management has used reasonable efforts to obtain information from reliable sources, we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of third-party information presented herein.  No guarantee of investment performance is being provided and no inference to the contrary should be made.

Julie Gorte, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing

Julie is a leading figure in Impax Asset Management’s sustainable investing work, coordinating systemic engagement and the financial implications of integrating sustainability into investment decision-making. Julie researches the connections between sustainability and economic performance. She also tracks and develops insights into the impact of public policy on investment and communicates with public policymakers to help make public policy more favorable to sustainability and sustainable investing. Julie is also a member of our Gender Analytics team.

Prior to joining the firm, Julie headed up the social investment strategy at Calvert. She has held senior roles at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, The Wilderness Society, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Julie serves on the boards of the Endangered Species Coalition, E4theFuture, Clean Production Action, the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF) and is the board chair of the Sustainable Investments Institute. She holds a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in resource economics from Michigan State University and has a Bachelor’s degree in forest management from Northern Arizona University.

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