Utrecht University student contributes to quantifying financial risks of biodiversity loss

Dutch financial institutions have investment portfolios of hundreds of billions of euros, which may be exposed to the risks of biodiversity loss, reported De Nederlandsche Bank (the Dutch central bank) and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency yesterday. Their report “Biodiversity and the financial sector: a cross-pollination?” also considers the financial risks of the loss of pollination services. This component of the report has been quantified on the basis of the work of Utrecht student Martijn Kramer. His contribution is included in the section on pollination services on pages 18 and 19 of the report.

A quote from the report: “The exposure of financial institutions to pollination-dependent products totals EUR 28 billion. Virtually all these products occur in agriculture and in the food processing and textile processing industries. Exposure to pollination-dependent products makes up 27% of the total of more than EUR 100 billion exposure to agriculture and the food processing and textile processing industries. Exposure to some pollination-dependent products is riskier than exposure to others. This is related to the extent to which the yield of a crop that is used for the products depends on animal pollination (pollination dependency ratio). For cacao this ratio is 95%, while for tomatoes it is 5%, for example. Ultimately, the exact level of risk depends partly on potential mitigation measures. There are ways of managing this risk, such as restoring and creating landscape elements in agricultural areas that are attractive to animal pollinators, deploying domesticated honeybees or growing crop variants that are not dependent on animal pollination.”

Master's programme

Kramer is enrolled in the master’s programme Sustainable Business and Innovation. His supervisors are Dr Pita Verweij and Dr René Verburg.

Media attention

The report has also been the subject of articles in Dutch newspapers de Volkskrant, Trouw and the Financieele Dagblad, among others.