Seeds of Change

Written by: UBS Posted: 26/05/2021

BL67_UBS_Robert_BroughtonEarlier this year, UBS published Seeds of Change, a guide for philanthropists and changemakers to protect biodiversity and all life on land. Robert Broughton (pictured), Senior Client Adviser at UBS Wealth Management in Jersey, discusses how UBS is supporting and effecting change on environmental issues

Our planet and its inhabitants are under threat. In the past 50 years, the world’s human population has doubled, and we are using the Earth’s resources at an unsustainable rate.

Natural habitats are being destroyed and wildlife populations have fallen by 60%*. Many species are endangered or already extinct – and if we don’t reverse climate change, mankind could also join that list.

What does UBS do to protect life on land?

Recognising the risks associated with biodiversity loss and the economic value of ecosystem services, we have defined specific standards that seek to promote biodiversity protection on a global scale. 

We will not engage in certain activities that endanger animal species and contribute to deforestation and its related impacts.

Our standards for controversial activities and areas of concern not only take into account deforestation and forest degradation but also other activities, such as fisheries, that impact on marine species.

As loss of biodiversity is intertwined with climate change, the transition to a low-carbon economy is even more vital. UBS supports this through a comprehensive climate strategy that underlines our commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on climate action and affordable, clean energy.

We aim to be a leading financial provider in enabling investors to mobilise private and institutional capital to climate change mitigation and adaptation, while supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy. 

As one of the world’s largest global wealth managers, we regard it as particularly critical to help private wealth contribute to the development of a more sustainable world.

BL73_UBS_green illoSupporting clients to act on biodiversity loss

We also recognise the importance of mobilising financial resources to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems and to help clients who are wanting to shift their portfolios towards alignment with environmental goals. 

In 2019, for example, our investment bank supported 25 high-profile issuances of green and sustainable bonds. These bonds support projects in the areas of energy efficiency, pollution prevention and control, terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation, and climate change adoption among others.

Our philanthropy services offer innovative ways to tackle some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems through advice, insights and execution.

Our guides – including Seeds of Change and Sea Beyond the Blue – aim to help philanthropists make more informed decisions about their philanthropy, pointing out the importance of protecting biodiversity and how to drive systematic change.

We support social entrepreneurs to scale their positive change by connecting them with our network of employees, partners and clients via the UBS Global Visionaries programme. 

Examples of support offered through this programme include IPE (Institute for Ecological Research), which is dedicated to biodiversity conservation in Brazil, and Parley for the Oceans. Parley was formed to ’bridge the gap between environmentalists and corporations’ by bringing together scientists, artists and brands to find solutions to prevent the destruction of the oceans.

Engaging in initiatives addressing biodiversity risks

UBS is actively involved in relevant developments, demonstrating thought leadership on biodiversity topics.

These include our membership of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and our participation in various workstreams of the Natural Capital Finance Alliance, which aims to provide the knowledge and tools that help the financial sector to align portfolios with global biodiversity goals.

Raising employees’ awareness about biodiversity

We have launched several campaigns to involve our employees and raise awareness of our environmental impact and biodiversity loss. 

A notable example is the campaign ‘Go drastic, cut the plastic’, set up to eliminate single-use plastic items from use throughout the firm. 

Another initiative is the creation of the Going Greener app, where UBS employees take on fun challenges and get interesting facts and practical tips around sustainability and climate-friendly behaviours for their daily life. 

Employees can also participate in volunteering activities to remove invasive species and protect the forest in the locations where we are active.

Global biodiversity funding is estimated to be up to $91bn annually**. This sounds a lot, but to reverse biodiversity’s decline by 2030, research suggests that the world needs to spend up to 10 times as much for the next 10 years. 

Funding to tackle biodiversity, conservation and climate issues is limited, across public and private sectors alike. In a world of tightening budgets and struggling economies, public sector funding may be slow to increase, so it’s up to all of us to act, whether as philanthropists, investors, business leaders or individuals. 

* WWF (2018), Living Planet Report – 2018: Aiming Higher. Grooten, M. and Almond, R.E.A.(Eds). WWF, Gland, Switzerland
** OECD (2020), A Comprehensive Overview of Global Biodiversity Finance Final report

Further information
• To download the Seeds of Change guide, please visit 
• Alternatively, contact Robert Broughton for more information on how UBS can support your philanthropic goals:
Robert Broughton, Senior Client Advisor 
UBS AG, Jersey Branch
1, IFC St Helier
Jersey JE2 3BX
Tel: 01534 701173

UBS AG, Jersey Branch is authorised and regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission for the conduct of banking, funds and investment business. © UBS 2021. All rights reserved.

• This advertising feature was first published in the May-July 2021 edition of Businesslife magazine

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