UNEP FI to send natural capital analysts to Latam and South African banks

The seconded analysts will support banks in setting targets on nature-related themes, especially biodiversity.  

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is set to second natural capital analysts to banks in Peru, Colombia and South Africa to support them in addressing nature risk and to drive action at the local level.

The analysts will work to “further the nature agenda on a practical level in individual banks”, according to a job listing. The selected banks will be Principle for Responsible Banking (PRB) signatories where UNEP FI and the ENCORE (Exploring Natural Capital Risks, Opportunity and Exposure) team have existing relationships. 

Among the capacity-building activities, the banks will be supported by the analysts in setting PRB targets on “nature-related themes, especially biodiversity”.

This follows the guidance that UNEP FI published in 2021 for PRB signatories on how banks can set biodiversity targets.

As the project is still at an early stage, UNEP FI was unable to name any participating banks. 

A recent report by the World Bank found that emerging markets banks allocate around half of their credit portfolio to firms with business processes that are highly or very highly dependent on one or more “ecosystem service”.

The paper measured the potential exposure of the banking systems in 20 emerging markets – including Peru, Colombia and Malaysia – to nature loss through their lending portfolio.

Alongside a high exposure to nature loss, the research found that the highest dependencies on ecosystem services across countries tended to be on climate regulation, and flood and storm protection, “indicating the interconnectedness of climate change and nature loss”.