Many companies have made significant strides towards their climate commitments and are now setting their sights on nature positive outcomes.
Climate conscious companies have invested in nature-based solutions, such as tree planting schemes and can be confident that they are good for climate through certification or purchasing verified carbon credits.
These credit schemes have been essential for building the confidence to make verified carbon projects investable. But verified carbon projects do not always carefully measure the impact they are having on biodiversity. So how can a company have confidence that their carbon investments also deliver positive outcomes for biodiversity?
Biodiversity credits are an emerging market proposition and, in the future, will be available in a similar way to carbon credits to verify the positive outcomes of a project. While the mechanisms for biodiversity credits are evolving, there are multiple ways we support companies, projects and credit developers to create and demonstrate biodiversity value.
Three key ingredients for successful biodiversity investments
- Finding and securing high-quality projects
With no global market for investing in nature, companies with the ambition to go nature positive face the challenge of identifying and selecting suitable projects that offer value for money and deliver improved outcomes. To bridge this gap, we bring together companies with best-in-class project developers to match nature ambition with opportunities for measurable biodiversity outcomes.
Our staff have a track record of establishing, managing and monitoring successful projects, assessing the potential biodiversity return on investment and developing project selection due diligence frameworks to minimise biodiversity risks and maximise potential gains.
- Good planning and good governance
Successful project implementation requires viable project design to be underpinned by a robust theory of change and appropriate governance for the local context. We design biodiversity schemes through a science-based, locally grounded approach with early, inclusive consultation to identify roadblocks and agree solutions aligned with local cultural practices.
We have used this approach to establish effective governance frameworks, such as advisory panels and compliance audits, for corporate biodiversity investments across the globe.
- Measurement for effective management
Monitoring is essential to identify implementation challenges, set corrective action and demonstrate long-term positive impact. As a leader in biodiversity management, we have developed a range of methods for measurement in a corporate context, including co-developing STAR – a standardised and globally scaleable measure of biodiversity impact, suitable for assessing project, and corporate portfolios in a unified assessment framework.
For companies seeking to make nature positive investments:
- Investment portfolio assessment for positive returns for nature using recognised biodiversity metrics
- Due diligence on investment opportunities to manage biodiversity risks
- Link investment managers with trusted, credible nature projects and developers with high impact investment options
- Bring nature positive actions to scale by building the standards and investment architecture for a maturing biodiversity credits market
For nature project developers:
- Design and apply metrics and methods to demonstrate a project’s positive nature benefits for corporate investment
- Continued project support to review progress and maximise the biodiversity impact of your project
For biodiversity credit developers:
- Technical guidance on the metrics and methods behind rigorous credit design and monitoring
- Alignment of biodiversity credits with market demand, emerging industry standards (SBTN, IUCN NbS Standard) and regulated markets (e.g., Defra’s Biodiversity Metric 3.0)
- Governance and due diligence frameworks to support credit schemes
Well-designed credit systems could help connect the surge in corporate interest in biodiversity with field-based conservation to unlock new and enhanced funding streams.
This technical working paper explores potential design principles for the development of scalable voluntary biodiversity credits and discusses the challenges in delivering high integrity positive outcomes.
Written on behalf of IUCN, we prepared this paper as an input towards World Leaders’ Dialogues at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, convened by IUCN and the Rockefeller Foundation at the Bellagio Centre, Italy.