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The Role of Banks in Protecting World Heritage Sites

September 26, 2017 |

This article was originally published on: International Banker

“From the Galápagos Islands to the Great Barrier Reef, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are some of the planet’s most precious places. Many of us have been lucky enough to visit these unique spots and experience their stunning scenery and majestic, but endangered, wildlife. Bankers may seem far removed from these sites, but the lending decisions that they make can either help safeguard this critical natural capital—or their actions can put these sites at risk.

The power of the industry first struck me in 2002 when I walked onto the trading floor of Merrill Lynch in New York City for my first job out of university. I was immediately struck by the football field of screens and traders around me. This was, of course, one floor of one global bank. The power of capital was staring me in the face. Little did I realise at the time, though, how important the finance sector was in terms of playing its role to secure our global natural capital. Banks can help finance companies that act responsibly; but unfortunately, they can also finance companies willing to put our environment and even their own long-term business models at risk.

At WWF (World Wildlife Fund), we believe the finance sector has a critical role to play in helping to safeguard our natural world. We engage in the United Kingdom and across the world with banks, insurers, investors and policymakers on a range of environmental topics, including biodiversity, climate change, forests and water. A key focus of our current global campaign—Together, Saving Our Shared Heritage—is achieving better levels of protection for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are a cornerstone example of critical biodiversity…”

Read on at: International Banker.

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