Published 2022-03-31

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SEK 100 million for research into biodiversity and the financial system

Mistra’s Board has decided to fund two programme proposals within the call for “Biodiversity and the financial system”. Both research programmes intend to stop the loss of and recreate biodiversity through interdisciplinary research, involving partners from industry and the financial sector.

The two programme proposals to receive funding are the Mistra Biodiversity Finance programme, BIOFIN, with the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University as the main applicant, and Pathways Towards an Efficient Alignment of the Financial System with the Needs of Biodiversity, BIOPATH, with Lund University as the main applicant.

Johan Edman, Programmes Director at Mistra.

“Biodiversity is not just about the wealth of species, but about sustainable development in a much broader sense. The weak links to actors on the financial markets is currently something of a problem. If we can build bridges, then both the environment and the economy will benefit. It is unusual for Mistra to fund two research programmes as part of one call, but they both received top marks on the evaluation and the timing is perfect,” says Johan Edman, Programmes Director at Mistra.

The proposed Mistra BIOFIN programme aims to increase the financial sector’s ability to contribute to a “nature positive” economy. To do this, the programme will develop methods and indicators to identify business models that protect existing biodiversity, as well as business methods to improve it. The programme will consider ethical aspects and governance issues linked to the pricing of biodiversity. Synthesising the lessons of previous and ongoing market initiatives and investigating future risks and opportunities will also be part of its work. Mistra BIOFIN gathers researchers from disciplines that rarely collaborate, including computational biology and bioinformatics, ecology and systematics, financial and business economics and philosophy.

Garry Peterson, Programme Director for Mistra BIOFIN.

“The financial system contributes to undermining the resilience of the biosphere, but also has the potential to provide important leverage for positive change, by promoting and restoring the lifestyle structure that supports human welfare. Mistra BIOFIN will develop tools and strategies that can help investors meaningfully integrate the complexity of the biosphere in financial decision-making and explore new and alternative models for nature positive financing,” says Garry Peterson, Professor of Environmental Science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Programme Director for Mistra BIOFIN.

“Golden opportunity for a major investment”

Susanne Arvidsson, Programme Director for BIOPATH.

The proposed BIOPATH programme and its partners will map, evaluate and co-develop existing and new approaches in which biodiversity is integrated with financial decision-making. The institutional and political consequences of these approaches will be analysed. BIOPATH focuses on changed land use related to agriculture, silviculture and energy.

“The BIOPATH consortium is a carefully composed team of research specialists in sustainable finance and biodiversity, as well as influential partners from industry, the financial system and public authorities. We will work side by side to develop, renew and test the most viable and effective solutions that are necessary in stopping and reversing the loss of biodiversity. We will use the potential of digital innovation and AI expertise in this process,” says Susanne Arvidsson, Associate Professor of Accounting and Corporate Finance at Lund University and Programme Director for BIOPATH.

Anna Jöborn, CEO at Mistra.

The submitted programme proposals have been evaluated by an international panel of experts.

“The link between biodiversity and the financial system is a new research area that is absolutely current. The two programme proposals were highly ranked by the panel, they have different approaches and complement each other extremely well. We see this as a golden opportunity to make a bigger investment and fund two programmes. Watching the development of these two ground-breaking research programmes will be very exciting,” says Anna Jöborn, Mistra’s CEO.