The world’s largest investment banks provided more than $2.6tn (£1.9tn) of financing linked to the destruction of ecosystems and wildlife last year, according to a new report.
Led by Wall Street giants Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, 50 top investment banks provided financial services to sectors driving mass extinctions and biodiversity loss worth more than the GDP of Canada in 2019, the analysis found.
It argues that financial institutions are unable to monitor and measure the impact of their activities on the natural world because of limited policies on protecting ecosystems that are critical to human life and livelihoods when providing loans or underwriting services.
The findings in the Bankrolling Extinction report were produced by portfolio.earth, a new initiative led by finance, economics and environmental experts to better understand the role of the finance industry in the destruction of the natural world.
By matching financial services provided by investment banks to sectors identified by the UN as the primary drivers of biodiversity loss in 2019, experts identified $2.6tn of loans and underwriting services as being linked to mass extinctions and the collapse of life-sustaining ecosystems.
The sectors include food, forestry, mining, fossil fuels, infrastructure, tourism and transport and logistics sectors, all of which were identified as drivers of biodiversity loss by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the UN’s scientific body on nature.