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Biodiversity and natural capital
Credit Suisse recognizes the need to protect the range of habitats and species on Earth and to safeguard the natural ecological processes and the livelihoods they support. We are committed to playing our part in addressing biodiversity loss through our role as an intermediary between the economy, the environment and society. As a trusted financial partner, we aim to help our clients understand the risks from biodiversity loss and identify the opportunities associated with the conscientious management of natural capital and the conservation of biodiversity.
Our Statement on Biodiversity describes how we address biodiversity by considering it in our risk management processes, by facilitating investments into biodiversity protection, and through the footprint of our operations.
Biodiversity-related issues are embedded into our sustainability risk assessments and included in our sector-specific policies and guidelines, where we prioritize high biodiversity risk sectors such as agriculture. For example, as a general rule, Credit Suisse will not directly finance or provide advice on activities undertaken by in-scope businesses within areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) that are subject to statutory local, national or international Protected Area designation, or areas that are undesignated but recognized by the international scientific community as having HCVs.
Recognizing the need for capital in conserving ecosystems, we are also active in conservation finance, which focuses on the creation of new, long-term and diversified sources of revenue that can play a role in ensuring terrestrial as well as marine biodiversity conservation and the health of natural ecosystems. Our Sustainable Activities Framework, (), developed to identify transactions included in our commitment to provide at least CHF 300 billion of sustainable finance by 2030, specifically includes a protection of biodiversity category which covers sub-themes such as monitoring and evaluation systems, protection and conservation of ecosystems, minimization of threats to biodiversity, protection research, development and innovation as well as goods and services from biodiversity. Additionally, there are also categories addressing drivers of biodiversity loss such as clean and renewable energy, pollution prevention, sustainable food systems, animal welfare, circular economies, and water, waste and land-use management. Our ambition is to expand our product offering and grow the overall market. In this vein, the 2021 Credit Suisse Conservation Finance Conference which was hosted virtually, drew an audience over 1,000 practitioners from the sector. Similarly, we also participate in the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC), which we were a co-founder of in 2016.
Credit Suisse engages in a number of initiatives which drive measurement, disclosure and integration of biodiversity considerations in business processes within the financial sector and beyond, contributing to the development of market harmonization and standardization. For example, we have acted as a technical advisor to the Zoological Society of London’s Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT) for the palm oil and the timber and pulp sectors for a number of years. Credit Suisse also participates in the Principles for Responsible Banking Biodiversity working group and the Principles for Responsible Investment Sustainable Commodities Practitioners working group. Additionally, Credit Suisse has joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Forum to continue to support the development of the framework. And we are active members of the Finance Sector Working Group of the Aligned Accountability project, working to consolidate several biodiversity databases into a single common database, as well as part of the Investor Group advising the WWF Biodiversity-related Financial Risk Method for Investors project.
Credit Suisse participated in consultations between the financial community and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in June 2021, the outputs of the workshop informing the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in preparation for the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP). The framework builds on the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and sets out an ambitious plan to implement broad-based action to bring about a transformation in society’s relationship with biodiversity, ensuring that by 2050 the shared vision of “living in harmony with nature” is fulfilled. Credit Suisse was also one of 78 financial institutions managing more than USD 10 trillion in assets that signed on to the Financial Institution Statement for the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 in October 2021, urging world governments to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and bring about a “realignment” to a nature-based economy.
Credit Suisse’s commitment to biodiversity was reinforced in 2021 with the appointment of a Head of Biodiversity, charged with integrating biodiversity considerations into the firm’s business activities and decision-making, taking account of precious biodiverse resources and natural capital financing solutions.