Business and Biodiversity


Working conference 'Boosting investments in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services'

The rapid decline and loss of biodiversity undermines the richness and variety of species and threatens our future. This decline also has a great impact on our economies. All productive activity directly or indirectly depends on biodiversity services: directly by extracting natural resources or indirectly by the supply of raw materials and essential services. Business not only depends on the sustenance of ecosystems but also benefits from the enhancement of biodiversity. The emerging markets for the goods and services that ecosystems provide bring new profitable opportunities to the business world.

The conference aimed to stimulate investments that support biodiversity conservation and explore the interest of participants in collaborative action for further development of this field.

The specific objectives of the conference were to inform participants on the current status of the market, provide details of a number of interesting Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) investment funds, analyse developing initiatives, address relevant governmental policies, and identify opportunities and barriers in the BES market.

Time frame
The project ran from January to December 2009.



  • Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (main funder)
  • Department for International Development (DFID), UK
  • Swiss Government (Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Federal Office for the Environment)

The conference was held on 11 and 12 November 2009, in Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam. It was attended by over 90 representatives from the financial sector, government, IGOs and NGOs.

During the conference there was intensive debate on opportunities and mechanisms for investments in biodiversity/ecosystem services, motivating investors to invest, optimal parameters and characteristics of future investment funds and the need for an enabling environment. The project team received very good feedback from the participants and suggestions for future follow-up.

Of particular value during the preparation phase and the conference was the active involvement of major financial sector representatives. The project Steering Group was led by Rob Lake, Head of Sustainability of APG Pension Fund, so during the lead-up to the conference there was continuous interaction with the major target group. The participants also included representatives of the European Investment Bank, Rabobank, ING Bank, FMO, Credit Suisse, EUROSIF, Shell, Global Nature Fund, and Club of Rome.