30 May 2023

NIB advocates for a nature-positive economy at the World Circular Economy Forum 2023

On 30 May, André Küüsvek, President and CEO of NIB, participated in the opening session of the World Circular Economy Forum 2023 in Helsinki. Küüsvek underscored the NIB’s commitment to the environment and productivity, advocating for a more nature-positive approach in economic practices.

NIB’s core mandate elements are environmental protection and productivity. Küüsvek emphasized that these two elements are increasingly converging due to the belief that technological advancements will lead to a stronger economy. This convergence can be seen in the Bank’s continued support of productivity, research and development (R&D), and innovation. The goal is to “push the envelope” to new solutions that are not only better but also have more value for the environment and nature.

Küüsvek also stressed the importance of efficient resource use. “So, not the take, make, use and disregard, but something we see not only nature neutral but nature positive in the end,” he stated.

One of the challenges identified by Küüsvek is the valuation of nature in sustainable financing. While there is now a price for CO2 emissions, which is driving the market, Küüsvek suggested that a similar approach could be adopted on a broader scale for nature. He believes that banks are in a position to select and structure projects in a way that makes sense from a sustainability perspective.

“Certain things take a little bit longer, but if you push a long-term vision on things then you will eventually get there,” said Küüsvek. He acknowledged the need to mitigate risks, noting that while some projects can be financed on a project basis, others require traditional conventional loans.

The role of banks, according to Küüsvek, is not only to finance sustainable projects but also to act as a “second pair of eyes” on projects. He emphasized the growing societal demand for more responsive behaviour, which is driving both consumers and investors. As a result, corporates follow suit, with banks playing a crucial role in assisting them to change.

In his closing remarks, Küüsvek reiterated NIB’s commitment to driving the transition towards a circular economy. The Bank will continue to support projects that promise repayment at the end of the cycle and contribute to a more nature-positive economy.