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Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Our focus on restoring nature aims to help a critical mass of financial institutions integrate environmental risks, opportunities and impacts into their assessment of corporate performance and financing decisions. Alongside this, our workstreams aim to create actionable pathways for financial institutions to actively pursue the sustainable financing of credible opportunities to restore nature.


We continue to pursue this objective with our members through ongoing research and collaborations:

Handbook for nature relatedNature-related financial risks

The Banking Environment Initiative and Investment Leaders Group are working intimately with banks and asset managers to:

  • Identify and assess the financial risks of biodiversity loss and land degradation.
  • Determine a common language and framework for risk identification, so that nature-related financial risks can begin to be measured and managed by industry leaders.

To achieve these two objectives CISL, financial institutions and academics are co-creating business briefings frameworks and methodologies. By doing so, we are targeting a third objective:

Enabling wider financial community appreciation of the financial materiality and risk of nature loss.

Banking Beyond DeforestationBanking Beyond Deforestation

To conclude the ‘Soft Commodities’ Compact, CISL published Banking Beyond Deforestation, sharing lessons from the Compact and detailing how the banking industry can help halt and reverse deforestation.

The Compact was a company-led alliance between the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) and Consumer Goods Forum (CGF). In support of the 2010 CGF resolution on zero net deforestation, twelve banks in the Compact set out to reduce deforestation in the supply chains of their client base in four soft commodity supply chains: palm oil, timber products, soy and beef.



TradoTrado: New technologies to fund fairer, more transparent supply chains

The Trado project aimed to demonstrate the transformative potential of harnessing digital innovation and financial technologies to improve the sustainability of global supply chains and trade finance.

The Trado model enables a sustainability ‘data-for-benefits’ swap between a buyer and a supplier in the supply chain using banks’ traditional supply chain financing. This swap, provides parties in the supply chain with reliable data about the supply chain’s sustainability properties, helping to unlock finance to reward first mile producers such as smallholder farmers for information on sustainability.



Fintech ReportCatalysing Fintech for Sustainability: Lessons from multi-sector innovation

The application of financial technology (Fintech) stretches beyond the provision of financial services.  The Fintech Taskforce was made up of nine financial institutions, three corporates and four innovative start-ups, to look at how fintech could help solve sustainability challenges. The group made eleven recommendations, informed by three use cases, publishing these in 2017. 

This report is the output of the Fintech Taskforce (‘the Taskforce’), which was convened by the Banking Environment Initiative (BEI) in March 2017 for a six-month term. Its purpose is to share the Taskforce’s recommendations on how to design collaboration between multinationals, financial institutions and start-ups such that we better harness fintech to help solve sustainability challenges in the real economy.


Further CISL research contributing to restoring nature

Handbook for Nature-related Financial Risks: Key concepts and a framework for identification

6 July 2021

1 March 2021 – The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) has published a handbook for understanding and identifying nature-related financial risks.

Measuring business impacts on nature: A framework to support better stewardship of biodiversity in global supply chains

8 April 2020

17 April 2020 – A new report from The Natural Capital Impact Group introduces a Biodiversity Impact Metric to help businesses manage their supply chain risks associated with nature. Highlighting the important role of the private sector in protecting and restoring biodiversity, the report is published in the midst of a global pandemic which has, in part, been caused by the breakdown of our relationship with nature. This report has been designed to help companies increase their resilience to such shocks by understanding the impacts they are responsible for and considering the benefits of restoring biodiversity and nature.

Modelling better business: Anglian Water’s approach to valuing its land for biodiversity and preparing for net gain

25 February 2020

February 2020 - The Natural Capital Impact Group (NCIG) has launched a new case study showcasing how Anglian Water has developed a measurement framework for implementing its commitment to biodiversity net gain across the driest region of the United Kingdom.

The Catchment Management Declaration – Update

20 February 2020

20 February 2020 – Over 110 organisations have now signed up to the Catchment Management Declaration which aims to gather commitment and action for a multisector approach to catchment management. This update outlines the progress signatories have made and demonstrates the breadth of action being taken in support of the Declaration.

Virtual investment experiment indicates informed consumers choose sustainable funds even with reduced returns

14 October 2019

22 October 2019 – A new study has shown that when given clear social and environmental performance data, consumers display an appetite for sustainable investment even with lower returns.

Transition risk framework: Managing the impacts of the low carbon transition on infrastructure investments

18 February 2019

22 February 2019 – The ClimateWise Transition Risk Framework provides an open-source, step-by-step methodology on how to manage the risks and capture emerging opportunities from the low carbon transition.

Measuring investment impacts

19 December 2018

The Investment Leaders Group (ILG) has developed an original framework to allow the industry to quantify investment impacts. Our aim is to enable a ‘revolution’ in consumer choice in financial services. This means making the social and environmental impacts of investment transparent to financial consumers in the same way that health and other concerns are apparent to food consumers today.

Environmental risk analysis by financial institutions – a review of global practice

2 September 2016

September 2016 – The G20’s new Green Finance Study Group asked the Cambridge Centre for Sustainable Finance to serve as Knowledge Partner and make recommendations on how to integrate environmental risk into mainstream financial decision-making.