GES Newsletter
June 8, 2009

European Sustainable Investment Forum, Eurosif, has published a report highlighting critical business risks and opportunities in various industries, such as the financial services sector and how it is linked with biodiversity and ecosystem services. Apart from having been a contributing member to the Eurosif report, GES Investment Services is also engaging in cases within its business service GES Global Ethical Standard that have to do with biodiversity and the protection of critically endangered species.

GES Investment Services has participated in the Steering Committee of the Eurosif Biodiversity Theme Report. Highlights in the report include:

  • According to estimates by WWF, the number of existing species has fallen by 30 percent between 1970 and 2005.
  • The value of services provided by nature in protected areas alone is estimated at €3.7 trillion per year(source: “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” TEEB).
  • The impact of the continual extinction of species and the reduced capacity of ecosystems to function properly are highly significant for companies. For example, the economic value of the pollination of cultivated plants by bees is estimated at €29 to €74 billion per annum worldwide.

“Biodiversity loss and the decline in ecosystem services are risks for many industries. However, if quantified and managed as part of a greater social and environmental management system, market opportunities may open up. For the financial services sector, these may include opportunities for new financial products linked to carbon, banking services or sustainability funds with a focus on biodiversity and environmental technology,” says Matt Christensen, Executive Director of Eurosif.

GES Investment Services is currently engaging in cases within the business offering GES Global Ethical Standard, where there is association to inadequate precaution in high risk environments.

“The Sakhalin Island for example is the only known feeding grounds for the western gray whale, listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. In February 2009, The Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP), appointed by the IUCN, released a report in which it concludes that the number of whales observed during the summer of 2008 was exceptionally low and it is alleged that the decline is potentially linked to underwater noise produced during onshore pile-driving activities. The companies associated to these activities are analysed in the latest GES Global Ethical Standard Report,” says Anna Zetterström, Research Manager at GES Investment Services.

The purpose of Eurosif’s report on biodiversity is to aim to guide policy makers, mainstream and specialist SRI investors, pension fund trustees, and companies understand risks that are not consistently integrated into traditional financial analysis, but which have the potential to influence companies’ shareholder value and fund managers’ investment decisions.

Read the PDFEurosif report