Environment Biodiversity & Natural Capital
Credit Suisse's 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. Biodiversity is under threat due to the overexploitation of land, the destruction of habitats, climate change and the impacts of invasive species.
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, we believe 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.
Projects and Activities
We conduct various activities to raise employee awareness of biodiversity, and we regularly engage in a dialogue with a number of NGOs and private sector companies on the subject. In 2017, we took part in a series of international workshops about sustainable land use, including workshops organized by the ASEAN Bankers Association and Bursa Malaysia on the topic of sustainable finance. In addition, Credit Suisse organized the Asia Pacific Land Use Forum (APLUF) in Bangkok, at which various stakeholder groups discussed risks and possible solutions when planning and managing field- and forest-based agricultural activities. We also participated in a panel discussion with NGOs and other banks on the occasion of the launch of WWF's World Heritage Sites report "How banks can safeguard our world heritage" in London, and we expanded our role as an advisor to the Sustainable Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT), joining the Technical Advisory Group for the SPOTT Timber, Paper and Pulp tool development. Finally, we intensified our advisory activities for clients in this area.
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 has long been a pioneer in the conservation finance space. Conservation finance focuses on the creation of new, long-term, and diversified sources of revenue that can play a major role in ensuring biodiversity conservation and the health of natural ecosystems. In 2016, we co-founded the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC), which we led through 2017 in collaboration with the CPIC Steering Committee. This initiative aims to contribute to the preservation of eco-systems through the development of investment blueprints for new return-oriented investment products in the sector. For five years, we have hosted the Credit Suisse Annual Conservation Finance Conference in New York, where specialists discuss solutions for further developing the conservation finance sector. In December 2014, we launched our first product in this field, the Nature Conservation Notes, and we have continuously expanded our efforts in this field since. More information on the topic can be found here.
Since 2014, we have been an advisor to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in the development of its free, interactive Sustainable Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT), which combines satellite mapping technology with sustainability assessments of the largest publicly listed oil palm growers. Credit Suisse makes use of SPOTT during sustainability risk assessment, and we encourage our clients to participate in the expansion of the project.