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Investing in biodiversity

Markets to finance the protection, better management and restoration of nature

Gwen Busby
Head of Research and Strategy, Nuveen Natural Capital
Investing in biodiversity

Protecting, improving and restoring nature can become a source of return for landowners and not just another cost of doing business.

Unprecedented global action to address the decline in nature and its causes is underway, and investments in biodiversity will be a critical part of these efforts. The global rate of species extinction is unlike anything the world has seen since the time of the dinosaurs – today, one million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction, many within decades1. Because over half of the world’s economy is dependent on nature2, these losses threaten the wellbeing and livelihoods of people all over the world.

This paper examines existing and developing market-based pathways for land-based investment to positively impact biodiversity. We begin with an overview of environmental market frameworks developed to support biodiversity outcomes, with examples spanning voluntary and compliance market frameworks and a range of geographies. Next, we assess the current state of biodiversity credit markets, key challenges and major developing frameworks. Finally, we explore what biodiversity markets mean for investors and some of the risks unique to these markets.

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1 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services 2019.

2 WEF New Nature Economy Report 2020.pdf (
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