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GSI head to deliver biodiversity threat warning

Published: 15 March 2022 at 14:57

Professor Aled Jones

ARU academic will speak to UK parliamentarians about dangers of nature loss

Professor Aled Jones of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) will warn UK parliamentarians about the increasing threat of biodiversity loss – and the catastrophic affect it could have on the production and supply of our food – during an event on Thursday, 17 March.

The event, for members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, is organised by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), and will be Chaired by Baroness Parminter, the Chair of the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee and member of the Food, Poverty, Health and Environment Committee. 

Professor Jones, Director of ARU’s Global Sustainability Institute (GSI), has contributed to a new POSTnote focusing on the financial risks associated with the loss of species, which will also be launched by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology on Thursday. 

Last year’s Dasgupta Review into the Economics of Biodiversity made the case for using natural capital to help protect the environment. Natural capital is an accounting tool that puts a financial value on every aspect of the natural world, helping to encourage the flow of capital away from activities that threaten biodiversity through pollution or habitat loss. 

Professor Jones, however, believes the financial sector’s response to biodiversity loss is already a decade behind the action it is taking on climate change, and he will tell parliamentarians that natural capital alone will not be enough to protect important species and environments from continued destruction.  

Professor Jones said:

“The challenge of managing biodiversity risk is of increasing importance across the finance sector. However, we are currently about 10 years behind where we are with climate change. Biodiversity loss threatens to destabilise supply chains, increase the costs of basic services, including food, and create material risks for a range of sectors over the next few years. 

“We need to develop suites of case studies, using the best data we can, to explore the range of impacts these risks could have on business. While these risks have traditionally been considered as externalities, they will become more consequential to individual businesses over the next few years and we may face a tipping point where this material risk represents a significant and substantial loss across a range of sectors, both directly and indirectly. 

“Any financial quantification of nature can never capture all of the risks associated with biodiversity loss, and its complexity, because the full range of impacts is still uncertain. Therefore, we need a more robust risk management process, which embraces qualitative as well as quantitative data, to allow a more holistic and long-term approach to change.”