How do you pay people today to conserve biodiversity that the world needs tomorrow? How do you find economic and financial incentives to sustainably manage a resource rather than over exploit it? What is the future of derivatives products that can provide payment to a community while new seedlings develop into full grown hardwood trees that can be harvested sustainably in 20 years time? Who will provide the guarantee for the trees - and that the resource will actually be there in 20 years time? And how do we do this on a commercial basis (so that it is sustainable) and not a philanthropic one? How do we do it to scale?
These are some of the questions I have as I walk in and out of side events at the 8th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Curitiba. The obvious place to start is here in Brazil where we have a financial sector that is already aware of the challenges to Brazil’s future of continued biodiversity loss, where there are leading bankers and entrepreneurs already engaged in the debate, where the government has put its full weight behind biodiversity, and where civil society embraces innovation and entrepreneurship.
For others who are thinking and talking about these challenges see Insight Investment, African Parks Foundation, and the Biotrade Initiative at UNCTAD. Among our Equator Bank colleagues, HSBC and ABN AMRO are prominent in the debate, as are RABO Bank.