Olivier de Berranger

Endangered capital

This month’s Editorial by Olivier de Berranger, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and CIO of La Financière de l’Echiquier.


Great whales are the wonders of the ocean and benefit us in many hidden ways. Valuable allies against climate disruption, these giants capture and retain massive quantities of the carbon we produce. But their numbers are shrinking, because of human activity, while greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise.

68% of wild animals have disappeared between 1970 and 2016, taking with them the diversity of our ecosystems. To measure the damage to our natural capital and better assess the scale of our losses, economists have sought to put a value on ecosystem services, the services nature provides free of charge. According to the IMF[1], a single whale is worth more than 2 million dollars and the world’s total cetacean population more than a trillion. This is just one example. Ecosystem services have a total estimated value of 130 – 150 trillion dollars annually[2].

Our dependence on biodiversity is thus immense. We rely on biodiversity for our supplies and hence whole swathes of our economy, from food to energy. But stocks are depleting rapidly under the impact of air pollution, deforestation and over-fishing. All the natural regulators that make our planet liveable – the water cycle or carbon sequestering that keeps the climate in balance – also depend on biodiversity, an irreplaceable good. This issue is getting all the more urgent as, according to IPBES, 80% of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may not be met if biodiversity deterioration continues.

Finance has a crucial role to play in protecting biodiversity by driving capital toward companies that are developing solutions and by helping others better manage their dependence or their impact. While awareness of the financial risk of biodiversity loss is growing, it is a tough issue to tackle. That’s why La Financière de l’Echiquier (LFDE) has published the biodiversity footprint of its main funds since 2021, surrounded itself with experts, and committed, under the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, to include biodiversity criteria in its analyses and publish the impact of its investments by 2024.

As part of our dedicated climate strategy, we have also strengthened the biodiversity criteria, incorporating two SDGs that relate to biodiversity: SDG 14 Life below water, and SDG 15 Life on land. Renamed Echiquier Climate & Biodiversity Impact Europe[3], the fund invests in solutions tailored to the needs of the real economy, companies delivering practical solutions, for instance by helping treat water on ships or ballast water (ALFA LAVAL) or companies seeking to halt plastic pollution. Such is the case with CORBION, which develops substitute technologies like polylactic acid, a biodegradable plastic made from sugar. This impact fund invests in both transitioning companies and green pioneers, with systemic power over their ecosystem. Its positioning serves two aims: to get all sectors of the economy on board and to make investment performance synonymous with biodiversity.

The stakes are high : 50% of global GDP depends on biodiversity[4].


[1] 2019, over its lifetime
[2]  Global Futures
[3] For more information on the characteristics, risks, and costs of these funds, and before making any investment, we invite you to read the regulatory documents available on our website at www.lfde.com.
[4] Global Risks Report, 2021