Earth Hour Biodiversity Impact Pledge
Earth Hour: what it means and how investors can help
Earth Hour was launched in 2007 as a symbolic event to show collective support for the planet. This year the plan is to make Earth Hour even bigger and better. This 25 March landmarks and homes will switch off their lights and spend 60 minutes doing something for the planet. Can an hour change the planet? It’s a start.
Earth Hour highlights a number of pressing considerations for investors of all sizes. The clock is ticking: the next seven years will be crucial in determining whether the human race can remain within our planetary boundaries and inside the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature limit set by the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Earth Hour was started by the WWF – the World Wildlife Fund. It has been designed to unite people in taking action on environmental issues. It engages millions of people around the planet in 185 countries.
It started as a lights out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. It is helping to focus the legislative agenda on the ongoing climate challenge by harnessing more and more people every year. It is also helping to throw light on the staggering loss of biodiversity and nature.
Earth Hour has already delivered some significant achievements around the world, including the first Earth Hour Forest in Uganda, the creation of a Marine Protected Area in Argentina, and the extension of a logging moratorium in Paraguay.
Earth Hour is embraced in a variety of ways by businesses and governments. For some it can involve as little as just turning off the lights for an hour. But for some business, and investors, much more can be achieved.
More and more fund managers and their stakeholders around the world are taking biodiversity into consideration as part of their regular ESG screening and other investment activities. Much work still needs to be done around the real value of natural resources and processes. This could involve, for example, a proper inventory of nature-based assets and how they are being consumed. According to a report from Lazard Asset Management, the conversation is now moving from the theoretical to the actionable(1).
The COP summits have already established some key milestones around net zero biodiversity for 2030. These targets include the conservation of at least 30% of land and sea areas, and the redirection and repurposing of incentives that are harmful for biodiversity. There is also an emphasis of increasing the financial flows to developing countries to assist with the better management of biodiversity within those economies.
For investors and fund managers who want to do their bit, a possible first port of call is the Finance For Biodiversity Pledge, which is backed by 26 of the largest financial institutions in the world. That list has got a lot longer since it launched. Signatories collaborate and share knowledge, lobby global leaders, engage with private and public companies, assess the impact of their own activities, and report publicly on what they are doing(2).