Banks and investors should support a ‘just nature transition’ in farming, forestry and fisheries
Banks and investors should make sure that their investments in the farming, forestry and fishing sectors deliver climate and biodiversity goals in ways that are fair and inclusive for workers, communities and consumers, according to a new report published today (23 August 2022) by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The report on ‘Just Nature: How finance can support a just transition at the interface of action on climate and biodiversity’, by Sabrina Muller and Nick Robins, warns that failure to place people at the heart of the shift to a nature-positive economy risks negative social impacts such as job losses and human rights abuses.
The authors draw attention to a 2020 report estimating that a nature-positive economy could create 395 million jobs by 2030. But there will be job losses too: a 2015 study suggested 120 million fewer agricultural jobs in 2030 as a result of net-zero.
To manage the significant social implications, the authors call for the governments, business and civil society to support a “just nature transition”. They write: “We define the ‘just nature transition’ as one delivering decent work, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty in the shift to a net zero and climate-resilient economy that simultaneously delivers biodiversity goals in agriculture, forestry, land-use and the oceans.”
The report recommends that the finance sector should “purposely channel finance to companies committed to and making progress to support a just nature transition for workers, suppliers, communities and consumers”.
It also suggests that financial institutions should “engage with policymakers to reform agricultural, forestry and nature policies so that they support a just transition and provide the incentives, rules and catalytic public finance that is needed to scale up private investment”.
The authors state: “Financial institutions such as commercial banks and institutional investors have been increasing their efforts to support a just transition in the energy system. This needs to be extended to the nature dimension through strategic commitment, corporate engagement, capital allocation and policy dialogue to reform the system conditions.” The report contains 15 examples of practical action that banks and investors are already taking. But the authors argue that: “There is a long way to go to get adequate commitment and real action for the just nature transition.”
The authors add: “Far greater attention will need to be paid to a range of crosscutting social priorities to accelerate the just transition. These include strengthening the enforcement of human rights and labour standards, making land tenure more inclusive, advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples, empowering women and promoting gender equality, as well as ensuring meaningful social dialogue and stakeholder inclusion.”
Naïm Abou-Jaoudé, Chief Executive Officer of Candriam, whose Institute for Sustainable Development provided financial support for the report, said: “Building an inclusive economy that protects and encourages nature goes hand in hand with tackling climate change, and it is a fundamental part of creating more sustainable and resilient societies. That is why a just transition should be a top focus area for both the public and private sectors when they consider the impact of their decisions, operations, and investments. This important new report sets out five key recommendations for action required from the financial services industry, so we can ensure that more capital is directed towards the protection and enhancement of our environment and society.”
James Ritchie, Assistant General Secretary of the International Union of Food Workers (IUF), said: “As the climate crisis intensifies, a just transition is crucial for re-constructing an economy which serves both people and planet. All sectors require a transition and ensuring that workers and their representatives are included in its decision-making, along with affected communities, is critical to achieving the necessary speed and scale of change. The financial sector has a key role to play in ensuring all investment decisions embed deep sustainability considerations . This report will help financial institutions by setting out recommendations based on international standards and emerging practice.”
To receive a copy or further information about ‘Just Nature: How finance can support a just transition at the interface of action on climate and biodiversity’, please contact Liam Collins on firstname.lastname@example.org and +44 (0) 7813 554789, or Bob Ward on email@example.com and +44 (0) 7811 320346.
Notes to Editors
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment was established in 2008 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Institute brings together international expertise on economics, as well as finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy to establish a world-leading centre for policy- relevant research, teaching and training in climate change and the environment. It has an active body of work on sustainable finance, including carbon assessment, central banks, the just transition, resilience and sovereign bonds. It is funded by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, which also funds the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment at Imperial College London.