Paul Chatterton moderating the 'Regenerative Investment - the Biodiversity Opportunity' panel at the Impact Days 2023 conference in Vienna. © Franziska Walde
Paul Chatterton moderating the 'Regenerative Investment - the Biodiversity Opportunity' panel at the Impact Days 2023 conference in Vienna. © Franziska Walde
Our Founder and Lead, Paul Chatterton reports back from the Impact Day 2023 conference and shares insights from his panel on regenerative investment.

On 1-2 June 2023, I joined over 600 people from a diverse range of sectors, geographies and backgrounds for the Impact Days 2023 conference in Vienna. Hosted by Impact Hub Vienna and Mercer, these two days were all about bringing people together to think about how we can better collaborate and connect across silos to create solutions to the multiple crises we are facing. The themes this year were climate change, biodiversity, health, inequality and peace & democracy. Within these areas, there was a strong focus on solutions from investment, policy-making and entrepreneurship as these were identified as key levers for impact. 

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on ‘Regenerative Investment - The Biodiversity Opportunity’. Speakers included: 

  • Klaus Kunz, VP & Head of ESG at Bayer
  • Ben Peel, Principal Climate and Nature Risk Specialist at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
  • Lucian Peppelenbos, Climate & Biodiversity Strategist at Robeco
  • Günes Ergun, Senior Engagement Lead at Marsh Climate & Sustainability Strategy
  • Sheila Darmos, Co-founder and Director of The Southern Lights, a non-profit organisation and Regenerative Farming Greece initiative

The point of the panel was to hone in on our global biodiversity emergency and discuss the potential of regenerative investment to promote biodiversity and ecosystem restoration. I wanted to explore innovative financing models, regenerative practices and what the role of investors, businesses and policymakers is in driving the transition to a regenerative economy. 

The key message from the panel was clear: a biodiversity finance industry is coming. Yes, it’s early days, but the smarter companies and investors are already gearing up. 

Jumping into the discussion, it was important to outline where we are right now. Nature markets are worth $10 trillion a year but are still dominated by unsustainable industries - oil and livestock makes up $8.8 trillion annually. Pathways are becoming clearer on how to rapidly remove nature risk and move to sustainable and regenerative production. This transition is helped by new regulations that require reporting on nature risk - for instance the EU Deforestation law, Scope 3 Requirements and the 30 x 30 targets

Some organisations are already considering nature risk within their investments and decision making. Günes Ergun, from the world leading insurance broker, Marsh, shared that they advise companies to follow the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) guidance to assess and remove nature risk from business and investments. Similarly, Lucian Peppelenbos from Robeco said they look for sustainability assurances by investing in ISEAL certified commodities (such as FSC, MSC and RSPO). Commodities without the certification are considered a risk. 

Multi-stakeholder work is also an important part of this transition to a regenerative economy. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invests over $5 billion a year into the green economy transition across Central Europe and Asia. During the panel, Ben Peel from the bank recommended joining with other companies and stakeholders at the landscape scale to more efficiently and credibly address climate obligations (links to Scope 3 requirements), build resilient supply lines and identify regenerative opportunities. 

If you’re looking for more on the metrics for this transition, check out the Land Use Impact Hub. The hub provides a smart and simple set of tools, stats and guidance for companies. 

Part of the discussion delved into agriculture, asking how we can expand towards better, regenerative practices. Both Klaus Kunz from Bayer and Sheila Darmos from The Southern Light shared how practices can move away from an inputs (fertilisers, pesticides and GMO seeds) towards an output based approach with community at the heart. However, currently, nature reconstruction is troubled by perverse incentives from local governments.

Finally, we touched on how options for nature positive finance are rapidly expanding. Options now include sustainability bonds, carbon and biodiversity credits, parametric and other insurances and payments for environmental services. 

Overall, we are seeing a major shift in attitudes - from a “do least harm” to a “create most good” mentality. Wrapping up the panel, I believe the winners will be those companies that are re-tooling to be nature positive and nature itself! 

Further insights from the Impact Days 2023 conference can be found here

Related Events
Our Learning Modules