The first Nature Finance Summit* in Finland gathered an impressive crowd of stakeholders interested in transforming the finance system to enable living within the planetary boundaries. The event allowed the Finnish prime minister, multiple finance sector decision makers, and funding actors to state their commitment to halt biodiversity loss. Brilliant international speakers among other from TNFD, EIB, JP Morgan and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) provided inspirational insights and examples of what can be done.
As we listened to the summit’s program, we were extremely impressed by the common understanding that the finance sector can and should be a driver of the required sustainability transformation and that this has now been publicly stated in the Helsinki Stock Exchange House. We guess, and sincerely hope, that this means finally that “we are in” and can count on the finance sector to become an enabler of massive restoration and nature positive investments? To be more realistic, we can state that some of the key players in the financial sector in Finland have started considering their nature-related risks.
What is clear from most international forerunners as well as developers of biodiversity and finance frameworks and guidance, is that “we have enough information to get started”. However, this is still not that evident for all Finnish actors – some of whom are still waiting for perfect data and simplified metrics or perhaps for something less tangible we can only venture a guess about.
Fortunately, there is rapidly increasing understanding in Finland that there is no business or finance without nature. TNFD offers a flexible starting framework and extensive guidance for understanding biodiversity impacts and dependencies, serving as basis to analyze and manage material biodiversity risks and opportunities, in Finland too.
Positively, many actors present at the Pörssitalo, have taken initial steps to mainstream biodiversity into their strategies, business models, and operations. However, a systemic national approach is still missing from Finland to gear all funding in line with the SDGs. Despite improved awareness, brilliant new frameworks, advancing regulation, taxonomy development, including DNSH, the incentives to mobilize, in particular, private funding towards nature positive investments remain insufficient also Finland. What is missing is true leadership that lasts, guides us, helps us coordinate and accelerate our joint efforts – in a way that stays and persists – we do need to apply our SISU to also transform the finance sector.
The Summit was a step in the right direction, but just waiting for the next summit or gathering is not enough. The option of launching an agile Finnish Sustainable Finance Platform, building on experiences from the Dutch platform and its working groups, should be seriously considered to ensure required transformations in Finland are pushed through without delay, allowing stakeholders also to share lessons learned and identify major opportunities that investments in biodiversity restoration and nature positive solutions can deliver – for us in Finland and internationally.
*Nature Finance Summit was organized in Helsinki 20.11.2023 by Finance Finland, the Confederation of Finnish Industries, and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, in collaboration with Kari & Pantsar Co.
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