6th July, 16:30 - 18:30 BST - Natural History Museum (NHM) Lecture Theatre
Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, Smith School, University of Oxford

Session summary

Session 6B, Financing NbS: delivering money when and to where it matters, discussed how to unlock more private finance to meet the significant biodiversity funding gap of ~$600-800 billion USD per year, and likely increasing.

Lorenzo Bernasconi opened by outlining innovations to support an economic transformation. He highlighted the need to get to scale through use of a jurisdictional approach – working with national and subnational governments, and including IPLCs. He spoke of the need to work on both the demand and supply side of carbon markets, including putting in place risk mitigation measures and having better market guidance from standard setters. He also mentioned that some principles can discourage investment away from good NbS, when they overemphasise the need for removals over reductions and long-term over short-term storage, pointing to the confusion over whether and when NbS is considered long-term storage or not.

Abyd Karmali reminded us that public finance should be there to de-risk investments and that public capital needs to more surgically deployed and much better at capturing private capital at scale. He then outlined three recommendations for financing:

  • Multilateral development banks should use their balance sheets to mitigate risks faced by the private sector, & should co-invest with the private sector, not compete.
  • The potential of Article 6 is significant to support countries to deliver their NDCs. We should learn how to verify if actions should contribute to NDCs and which should not.
  • Voluntary carbon market projects should incorporate best-practices and go beyond carbon to include other payments for ecosystem services. Diversity in revenue streams can help support the resilience of NbS projects.

Rhian-Mari Thomas presented some of the critical factors for mobilising finance for nature, pointing to the apparent lack of readily investable projects in the pipeline. She highlighted three case studies: one from the Wyre Rivers Trust Natural Flood Management that included a transaction structure where beneficiaries buy reduced flood management risk; one from Trees for Life, with 6% returns, highlighting the interest from retail investors if they can be harnessed; and one from sustainable forest plantations in South-East Asia that shows the large impact possible from incorporating investors with varying returns.

Dora Nsuwa Cudjoe brought perspectives from programs that aid NbS by bringing in IPLCS to advance climate action, biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management. It is important to have:

  • Access to flexible funds that enable expedited action.
  • Priority for IPLCs needs, so that results can be delivered under their own leadership.
  • In global finance mechanisms, better tracking and monitoring of risks and opportunities.

Climate Investment Funds & Dedicated Grant Mechanisms can be further scaled-up by ensuring recognition for the role of IPLCS in advancing integrated NbS within broader climate action, protecting rights of land tenure and natural capital and ensuring resources/access to financing.

Key take-homes

  • A significant biodiversity funding gap remains ~600-800 billion US/ year and likely increasing.
  • Jurisdictional approaches to REDD+ may help generate carbon credits at scale, verifying them, and better ensuring social safeguards.
  • Overarching constraints in unlocking private finance remain (e.g. lack of capacity to ensure social safeguards materialise on the ground; as well as lack of investor risk appetite).
  • Regulation and policy are critical to shore-up private sector confidence in NbS investments.
  • Blended public/private finance can help channel private sector finance given lack of appetite for risk taking by investors.
  • Needs include:
    – clarity on what nature+ means -> need pipeline of projects to generate these outcomes + private investor demand.
    – clarity on nature-related dependencies/risks to finance sector from biodiversity loss.
    – recognition of the critical role of IPLCs and their values/rights
    – flexible culturally appropriate forms and flows of finance – ethical flows away from high carbon investments of the past.


  • Ben Caldecott's photo

    Ben Caldecott

    Director, Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, & Associate Professor, Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment

    Dr Ben Caldecott is the founding Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group at the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. At the University of Oxford, he is the inaugural Lombard Odier Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Sustainable Finance, the first ever endowed professorship of sustainable finance, and a Supernumerary Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford. Ben is also the founding Director and Principal Investigator of the UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment (CGFI), established by UK Research and Innovation in 2021 as the national centre to accelerate the adoption and use of climate and environmental data and analytics by financial institutions internationally.

  • Lorenzo Bernasconi's photo

    Lorenzo Bernasconi

    Head of Climate and Environmental Solutions at Lombard Odier Investment Manager

    Dr. Lorenzo Bernasconi is Head of Climate and Environmental Solutions at Lombard Odier Investment Managers. Lorenzo brings over two decades of experience in the investment and professional services industry with previous roles at UBS Investment Bank in London, and the Boston Consulting Group in New York and Paris. Lorenzo served as founding Board Chair of Emergent Forest Finance Accelerator, a non-profit intermediary which most recently helped launch the LEAF Coalition, one of the largest ever public-private efforts to protect tropical forests through the voluntary carbon markets. Lorenzo is also a Research Fellow at Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance.

  • Abyd Karmali's photo

    Abyd Karmali

    Managing Director, ESG & Sustainable Finance at Bank of America

    Abyd Karmali is a Managing Director, ESG Advisory at Bank of America based in London. From 2007-2014, he served as Merrill Lynch’s (subsequently BofAML) Global Head of Carbon Markets. In 2014, he became part of the team supporting the bank’s broader capital deployment commitment to mobilise $1.5 trillion in sustainable finance by 2030. He has worked for more than 30 years on climate change and sustainable finance and was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for these efforts. Before joining the financial sector in 2007, he was a partner in a management consulting firm where he advised companies on their climate strategy.

  • Rhian-Mari Thomas's photo

    Rhian-Mari Thomas

    Chief Executive Officer at Green Finance Institute

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    Dr. Rhian-Mari Thomas is Chief Executive of the Green Finance Institute, backed by the UK Government and City of London Corporation. Rhian spent 20 years in investment banking and corporate finance and was awarded an OBE for services to green banking. She is an Emeritus Member of TCFD and co-chaired the launch of the TNFD. Rhian sits on numerous advisory groups across UK Government including the Net Zero Expert Group, the Centre for Greening Finance and Investment, and the UK Voluntary Carbon Markets Forum. Rhian was also a commissioner on the Zero Carbon Commission and a member of the Climate Change Committee’s Net Zero Finance Advisory Group.

  • Dora Nsuwa Cudjoe's photo

    Dora Nsuwa Cudjoe

    Program Coordinator for the Climate Investment Funds

    Ms. Dora Cudjoe, is a Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank with over 14 years-experience in natural resources and environment management, and climate resilient development. She joined the World Bank in 2007 and played a key role in establishing the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) in 2008. In 2018, she rejoined the CIF as the Program Coordinator for Stakeholder Engagement where she has been championing inclusive and transparent climate finance governance. Prior to the World Bank and the CIF, she worked with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Evaluation Office. As an advocate for inclusion, Dora promotes civil society, private sector and Indigenous Peoples participation in CIF governance.