Led by Wall Street giants Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, 50 top investment banks provided financial services to sectors driving mass extinctions and biodiversity loss worth more than the GDP of Canada in 2019, the analysis found. The world’s largest investment banks provided more than $2.6tn (£1.9tn) of financing linked to the destruction of ecosystems and wildlife last year, according to a new report.
“Bank by bank, the report authors found a cavalier ignorance of – or indifference to – the implications, with the vast majority unaware of their biodiversity impacts, or associated balance sheet risks,” Sir Robert Watson, former chair of Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the UN’s scientific body on nature, said. “In short, this report is a frightening statement of the status quo.”
The report says that banks do not have systems in place to monitor environmental harm.
Prof Kai Chan of the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia and leading author of the IPBES report, said: “A global sustainable economy sits at the centre of humanity’s much-needed transformation to meet the climate and ecological crises. And at the centre of that sit the banks and the finance institutions whose investments power development around the globe."
Last month, the UN reported that the world had failed to meet fully any of the 2020 Aichi bioiversity targets that countries agreed with fanfare in 2010, even as it found that biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, and the pressures driving this decline are intensifying.