Managing Nature-Related Financial Risks: A Precautionary Policy Approach for Central Banks and Financial Supervisors
37 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2020
Date Written: August 18, 2020
This paper considers how financial authorities should react to environmental threats beyond climate change. These include biodiversity loss, water scarcity, ocean acidification, chemical pollution and — as starkly illustrated by the COVID-19 pandemic — zoonotic disease transmission, among others. We first provide an overview of these nature-related financial risks (NRFR) and then show how the financial sector is both exposed to them and contributes to their development via its lending, and via the propagation and amplification of financial shocks. We argue that NRFR — being systemic, endogenous and subject to ‘radical uncertainty’ — cannot be sufficiently managed through ‘market- fixing’ approaches based on information disclosure and quantitative risk estimates. Instead, we propose that financial authorities utilise a ‘precautionary policy approach’, making greater use of qualitative methods of managing risk, to support a controlled regime shift towards more sustainable capital allocation. A starting point would be the identification and exclusion of clearly unsustainable activities (e.g. deforestation), the financing of which should be discouraged via micro- and macro-prudential policy tools. Monetary policy tools, such as asset purchase programmes and collateral operations, as well as central banks’ own funds, should exclude assets linked to such activities.
Keywords: Financial stability, financial regulation, macroprudential policy, central banks, environmental risks, nature-related financial risks, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, sustainable finance, systemic risk, low carbon transition, climate change, climate-related financial risks
JEL Classification: Q54, Q57, E44, E58, G28, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation