Benchmark for Nature
Researcher: Cecilia Larrosa
Funder: Private donation
- Joe Bull, University of Kent
- Richard Grenyer, University of Oxford
- Cecilia Larrosa, University of Oxford
- E.J. Milner-Gulland, University of Oxford
- Vian Sharif, FNZ Group
- Annabella Wainer, University of Oxford
- Tim Wittig, Royal Foundation of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s United for Wildlife
- Joss Wright, University of Oxford
Launched in January 2020, the aim of the Benchmark for Nature is to power the development of structured, rigorous, and practically useful frameworks for assessing investor impacts on living nature. It is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, the Royal Foundation of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge’s United for Wildlife Financial Task Force, and the FNZ Group, a leading financial technology platform and member of the Task Force. The project’s legal partner is London law firm Mishcon de Reya, through its innovative sustainability advisory practice, Mishcon Purpose.
A successful global movement for sustainable business depends on understanding the nature-related implications of investment into different companies and sectors. Benchmark for Nature will be the first validated open tool to support decision-making in the financial sector that accounts for impact on living nature. Engaging with stakeholders within the sector to catalyse the adoption of nature-related standards, Benchmark for Nature will facilitate standardised reporting, potentially leveraging the sector’s existing efforts into more holistic sustainable financing.
The team brings together leading academics from the fields of conservation and data science with practitioners from the fields of sustainable investment, legal advisory, and cutting-edge financial technology to solve this complex issue.
Benchmark for Nature encompasses two main actions: (1) the development of a robust science-based reporting and assessment framework to evaluate the relative impacts of investments on living nature for a range of sectors; and (2) the drafting of a Preliminary Standard for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, a science-based framework enabling consistent nature-related financial risk disclosure.
- Building upon existing efforts to develop environmental, social, and governance indicators for the private sector, the Benchmark adds to the investor toolset currently available through three differentiators. Firstly, a focus on a science-based causal model which integrates knowledge from a range of sources into a transparent, continuously improving assessment of the effects of a given investment choice on nature. Secondly, scaling the science through the creative application of AI-driven data discovery technologies enabling the benchmark to be applied to any company in any sector. Finally, demonstrating clear paths to impact, empowered by the team’s expertise and experience in investment, financial technology, and international standard settings.
- The purpose of the proposed Preliminary Standard for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures is to catalyse the adoption of a standard that can be applied to nature-related disclosures and to provide a draft for discussion. This Preliminary Standard intends to complement and add value to the ongoing formal processes to launch a Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, and related initiatives such as the Working Group on Nature Related Financial Risks, OECD, and UNDP initiatives relating to the 4th Global Conference on Biodiversity, and public-private partnership efforts globally.
- The Benchmark for Nature will be an integrated, structured framework for application by investors in capital allocation decision-making, enabling an understanding of the implications for natural ecosystems and species of investments into specific companies and/or sectors, and with application across all industries and securities.
- The Preliminary Standard will be a robust set of structured data based on the Benchmark for Nature's causal model with which investors can understand the implications for nature of investments into specific companies and/or sectors and which can be applied across all industries and securities.
All contributions and outputs under this project will be published and/or made open to all for the greatest public good to be realised.