Stockholm (NordSIP) – Today October 11 sees the launch of the 2023 European Business and Nature Summit (EBNS) in Milan, Italy. The event is organised by the European Commission and aims to bring together businesses, financial institutions, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and policymakers to discuss sustainable business models that incorporate biodiversity at their core. The two-day summit includes workshops dedicated to monitoring, assessing, and disclosing biodiversity, reducing impacts and regenerating ecosystems, unlocking financial resources through innovative mechanisms, and fostering partnerships to accelerate action.
Among the participants will be Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management. “The economic transformation required to protect biodiversity and safeguard the natural systems that our economies and financial systems depend on cannot be left to the voluntary actions a few,” says Saugestad, adding: ”It needs support from an enabling environment and mandatory disclosure. The current voluntary nature of disclosure creates an unlevel playing field between companies and an incomplete basis for us as investors to align financial flows with the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). As investors we need data to guide our investment decisions.”
Mediterranean region under the spotlight
This year’s EBNS will focus on the Mediterranean region, which is a biodiversity hotspot that has been particularly affected by climate change and where businesses are exposed to significant nature-related risks. The Mediterranean basin is a global heating hotspot, with temperature increases well above the global average. The region has already seen a 1.5 degree rise and is on course for at least 3 degrees of warming by the end of the century. It is also expected to suffer drastically reduced levels of precipitation. The tourism sector, which represents a large portion of GDP in many Mediterranean nations, has already begun suffering from the effects of wildfires, storms and flooding.
The EBNS will be accompanied by several side events, including a gathering of Finance for Biodiversity (FfB) Foundation members, workshops organised by Lombardia regional bodies and various other biodiversity-focused sessions for attending businesses.
Saugestad is convinced that the business and financial sectors need to act swiftly in the face of the crisis in nature: “Hopefully this year’s summit in Milan will take us one step in the right direction. Action is needed on all levels of business, politics and society. We recognise the contribution that finance has made to biodiversity loss but also the role it has to play in protecting it.”