Paulson Institute and Finance for Biodiversity Host Forum on How to Build Nature-Positive Green Economy Post COVID-19

Global experts from finance, conservation, and public policy sectors discuss valuing nature as essential to future financial decision-making

(Chicago, IL) Tuesday, April 27, 2021—Today, the Paulson Institute (PI) and Finance for Biodiversity (F4B) in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, and the Institute of International Finance (IIF) hosted a webinar entitled Finance for Nature: Making Nature Count. The event opened a conversation with leading finance, conservation, business, and policy experts around the importance of including nature in financial decision-making amid record global biodiversity loss.

With tropical forests in retreat and the extinction of species estimated at 1,000 times the average rate, nature’s ability to provide the goods and services humans depend upon is undermined, presenting huge risks to prosperity. The event, moderated by PI’s Vice Chairman and Executive Director Deborah Lehr, featured opening remarks by Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Chairman and Founder of the Paulson Institute and speakers—Andrew Deutz, Director of Global Policy for Institutions and Conservation Finance, TNC; Sonja Gibbs, Managing Director and Head of Sustainable Finance, Global Policy Initiatives, Institute of International Finance; Kathy Baughman McLeod, Senior Vice President, and Director, Adrienne Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, Atlantic Council; and Simon Zadek, Chair, F4B—who together discussed how to harness the power of financial markets to protect the environment and prevent its rapid destruction.

“Properly valuing nature is arguably one of the most important tasks for governments over the next decade, and the urgency is increasing by the day. As governments work to kick-start their economies after COVID-19, finance ministers must understand the economic rationale and make a case for a green recovery,” said Henry M. Paulson, Jr., laying out the crux of the issue.

Policymakers must learn to value nature, providing the right conditions and incentives to drive change. An important step is to value nature in the same way as traditional goods and services, to create incentives to avoid biodiversity loss, manage climate change, and preserve lives and livelihoods.

“Preserving natural capital is a shared responsibility, and global finance has an essential role,” said Sonja Gibbs. “Understanding and pricing nature-related risks—and opportunities—is key to scaling up much-needed investment to protect irreplaceable biodiversity and other natural resources.”

Simon Zadek added that “Finance for Biodiversity is committed to making nature count in financing decisions since it already counts in our daily lives and is a keystone of any sustainable future. And this is entirely feasible through credible policy commitments and targets, improved data and disclosure, enhanced liabilities, embedding natural capital in the world’s debt markets and public spending criteria, and by empowering citizens as consumers, savers, investors, and taxpayers.”

Providing an expert conservation perspective, Andrew Deutz added, “In meeting the COVID-19-induced economic downturn, we are witnessing one of the fastest economic transitions ever known. To succeed, we must incorporate nature-positive recovery plans that support a more resilient future for people, the planet, and economic prosperity. Nature-based solutions can deliver climate mitigation and adaptation benefits and a wide range of vital infrastructure services, such as improved water quality, flood control, and disaster risk reduction while also benefitting biodiversity. Nature-based solutions can also offer greater job creation and economic stimulus relative to traditional, brown energy and infrastructure solution.”

“Nature doesn’t depend on us; we depend on nature, and desperately so. Its value should be quantified and made an essential component of a financial system that is currently wholly unsustainable and will remain so without the full inclusion of the cost and/or benefit of destroying, protecting, or improving nature’s services in our value chain,” said Kathy Baughman McLeod.

View the entire discussion HERE.

This webinar is the first in a series of joint Finance for Nature events focused on the nexus of nature and financial markets, hosted by PI and F4B. Please visit for more information.


Media contacts:

Kristin Gomez
Paulson Institute

Anna Watson
Finance for Biodiversity (F4B)

About Paulson Institute
The Paulson Institute is a non-partisan, independent “think and do tank” dedicated to fostering a US-China relationship that serves to maintain global order in a rapidly evolving world. Our focus on US-China is dictated by the reality that it is the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world. We often operate at the intersection of economics, financial markets, environmental protection, and policy advocacy, in part by promoting balanced and sustainable economic growth. Founded in 2011 by former US Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., the Institute is based in Chicago with offices in Washington and Beijing.

About Finance for Biodiversity
Finance for Biodiversity (F4B) aims to increase the materiality of biodiversity in financial decision-making, and so better align global finance with nature conservation and restoration. F4B is advancing five workstreams that create and amplify the feedback signals that increase the value of biodiversity in private and public financing decisions: market efficiency and innovation; biodiversity-related liability; citizen engagement and public campaigns; responses to the COVID-19 crisis; and nature markets. F4B has been established with support from the MAVA Foundation, which has a mission to conserve biodiversity for the benefit of people and nature.