Cathay FHC Highlights Urgent Need for Restoring Biodiversity Through Nature-Based Solutions and Pro-Nature Investments During UNGA 77 and Climate Week NYC
A wide range of scientific evidence has shown that the loss of nature can have far-reaching consequences. Damaged ecosystems, for example, exacerbate climate change, threaten food security, and put people and communities at risk. According to the United Nations, we have only until the end of the decade to bend the curve on this loss of nature and biodiversity. Yet, transformational change is possible, if we start now.
On September 21, during the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77) and Climate Week NYC, Cathay Financial Holding Co., Ltd., joined the World Biodiversity Summit, a pioneering global public-private partnership that bridges climate and biodiversity agendas. Together with key representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the White House, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Netflix, Walmart, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), and government, business, and finance leaders, Cathay FHC joined in addressing the urgent need for restoring biodiversity through nature-based solutions and pro-nature investments.
As one of the leading financial institutions in Asia, Cathay FHC has long put sustainability at the heart of its decision-making, with a focus on sustainable business models to meet society’s needs but are less impactful on nature. A few of its pioneering commitments include the 2015 signing of the Equator Principles by Cathay United Bank and the 2020 joining by Cathay FHC and Cathay Life Insurance of the Valuing Water Finance Task Force assembled by the NGO Ceres and the Dutch government. In addition to providing the first syndicated loan for offshore wind power in Taiwan, Cathay United Bank also joined project developer Orsted in the world’s first attempt to support coral reefs by growing coral on the foundations of offshore wind turbines. And in August of 2022, Cathay FHC joined TNFD, followed in early September by Cathay FHC signing the Partnership for Biodiversity Accounting Financials (PBAF), becoming the first organization from Taiwan to do so.
Cathay FHC also understands that “speed and scope” are important in a unified effort to fight climate change. For years, the annual Cathay Sustainable Finance and Climate Change Summit has guided Taiwanese companies, in particular, in taking a clear and aggressive path of action on climate change. And this year during the upcoming COP27, Cathay FHC has taken the initiative by working with the World Climate Foundation to feature live-streaming of the World Climate Summit at the event. “An individual might run faster, but a group runs further,” Sophia Cheng, the Chief Investment Officer of Cathay FHC and the chair of the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, has stated. “More importantly, more commitments mean more confidence. Action can then commence when businesses feel that this is doable! ”
In a WBS highlighted session entitled “Catalyzing Nature Markets”, speakers from the UNEP, Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa), EIB, OECD, Climate Asset Management, ATP pension fund, and Cathay FHC analyzed the opportunities and challenges for natural capital investments and how mobilizing finance for nature can help achieve the goals of both the Paris Agreement and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Some key takeaways—our planet depends on biodiversity for life and all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depend on healthy ecosystems, and investments in nature-based solutions will need to at least triple by 2030 if the world is to meet its climate change, biodiversity, and land degradation targets.
In her presentation, Cheng, who was the only Taiwanese speaker, pointed out that half of global GDP is directly or indirectly dependent on biodiversity. So, a loss of biodiversity will significantly affect financial stability. She urged all financial institutions to influence their stakeholders in halting and even reversing this loss of biodiversity, while calling for a realignment to a pro-nature economy that can drive new business opportunities. Cheng concluded that without biodiversity, there is no future for humanity.
Jens Nielsen, the founder and CEO of the World Climate Foundation added, “We are thrilled to have like-minded partners in Cathay Financial Holdings, who continue to push the boundaries in driving investments in planetary health.” He added, “It is inspiring to see that we can lean on each other’s expertise when it comes to accelerating concrete solutions for biodiversity, and we look forward to our continued engagement.”
Cathay FHC is the largest financial group in Taiwan, with total assets of over US$400 billion. The group includes leading players in life insurance, banking, property and casualty insurance, asset management, securities, and venture capital. With a presence in 12 markets in Asia, Cathay FHC is dedicated to becoming a leading financial institution in the region.