Biodiversity is the variety and richness of life on Earth, and it is essential for the health and well-being of humans and nature. However, biodiversity is under serious threat from human activities, such as deforestation, pollution, and climate change. How can we measure and verify the impact of our actions on biodiversity, and how can we create incentives and solutions for its conservation and restoration?
In this episode of the NatureBacked podcast, Tarmo Virki spoke with Zoe Peden, partner at Ananda Impact Ventures, an investment firm with a 200-million portfolio. Zoe shared her insights on why biodiversity is important, what are the challenges and opportunities of measuring and verifying biodiversity impact, and what are some of the innovative technologies and solutions that are emerging in this field.
She also introduced us to one of her portfolio companies, NatureMetrics, which uses environmental DNA methods to measure biodiversity in various ecosystems, such as forests, oceans, and farms. She said that NatureMetrics is providing accurate and reliable data that can help businesses, governments, and NGOs to understand and improve their biodiversity impact.
“A lot of the biodiversity databases are really, really out of date. And that's why we need to start an awful lot of investment going into people measuring things. That's where we are at the moment,” Peden said.
“Then hopefully, with all this new data, we could be more accurate, which has been a criticism of the carbon credits and verified measurements so that the large companies that will soon be mandated and many industries like the extractives, and the marine are already mandated to provide evidence that they are being nature positive. So not just putting things back how they were, but absolutely improving them. And this is a really positive move. And I think this will spread,” she said.
Zoe also discussed some of the lessons learned from the carbon market, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls and risks that have plagued the carbon credits system. She said that biodiversity measurement and verification need to be transparent, standardized, and credible and that there need to be clear regulations and incentives for biodiversity conservation and restoration.
“I think the biodiversity brigade – we could call ourselves that – has probably been watching what's been happening with carbon over the last five years, and seeing what we can learn from it, to make sure this doesn't happen again,” she said.
“I'm hoping we've all learned our lessons, going back to the carbon credits, how do we verify this? Is this actually happening, is there fraud, people investing in forests that don't even exist? Is there anything? What impact are they having? The forest thing is like canopy level, okay, that's there, that's not there, but what's happening on the ground? That's where the real change happens,” she said.
If you are interested in learning more about Zoe's work and vision you can listen to the full podcast episode here, or subscribe to the NatureBacked newsletter on LinkedIn for more stories with the people changing the world.