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Biodiversity and natural capital. Invaluable resources.

Our efforts to support sustainable development include our commitment to preserving biodiversity. We recognize the vital need to protect the broad range of species on our planet and to safeguard natural ecological processes.

 

The term "biodiversity" denotes the variety of life and its processes. It includes the diversity of living organisms, the differences between them, and the ecosystems and communities in which they exist. Both ecosystems and the biodiversity contained within them provide valuable services to humankind and business: They supply food and medicine derived from plants, they filter pollution and store CO2, and they regenerate soils and recycle nutrients. The methods used to determine the value of this natural capital, as well as the economic costs of species loss and a reduction in the capacity of ecosystem services, need to be further developed. As a financial services provider, Credit Suisse believes that such financial valuation methods are vital to adequately assessing the risks and returns of the economic activities and investments that are dependent on those services.

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Projects and Activities

At Credit Suisse, we view the protection of biodiversity as an integral part of our sustainability commitments. Biodiversity-related issues are considered in Credit Suisse's risk management processes, and we cover this topic in our sector-specific policies and guidelines. We also engage with stakeholders on defining ways for the financial industry to contribute to preserving biodiversity and the world's natural habitats. For instance, we have acted as a technical advisor to the Zoological Society of London's Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT) for a number of years, and are part of the Technical Advisory Group for the palm oil and the timber and pulp sectors. SPOTT currently assesses over 200 commodity producers and traders on the public disclosure of their policies, operations and commitments to environmental, social and governance best practices. We also supported the expansion of the SPOTT platform to the natural rubber sector in 2019, and we continue to assist with SPOTT website design and content updates through employee "virtual volunteering" activities. Moreover, we provided support to the High Conservation Value Resource Network (HCVRN) secretariat for the development of a training strategy to improve the quality of High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock Assessments in the palm oil sector. The HCV Approach helps identify and protect the natural and social values of landscapes in places where there is rapid expansion of agriculture, forestry and aquaculture.

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Conservation Finance

In order to preserve the natural habitats and processes that are vital for the survival of human beings, animals and other species, significantly more capital will be required than has so far been deployed. Credit Suisse is active in the conservation finance space, which focuses on the creation of new, long-term and diversified sources of revenue that can play a role in ensuring terrestrial as well as marine biodiversity conservation and the health of natural ecosystems. We are expanding our product offering in this space. In 2019, Credit Suisse was also the sole manager of a Sustainable Development Bond issuance by the World Bank, focusing attention on the so-called "blue economy". Finally, we have hosted the Credit Suisse Annual Conservation Finance Investor Conference in New York for seven years, providing a forum where specialists can discuss solutions for further developing the conservation finance sector. More information on the topic can be found here.