BaltCap Infrastructure Fund, through its wind park investment Zvirgzdaiciu energija, participated in the Nefco’s Biodiversity Pilot Programme. The programme addressed the unprecedented loss of biodiversity and nature. The main aim was to test and develop suitable biodiversity solutions in collaboration with companies and set an example for nature-positive impact strategies among financial institutions.
During the pilot, BaltCap and other project partners participated in various workshops, peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing sessions and expert-guided discussions. During the journey, Nefco facilitated the companies with professional advising and backing from AFRY, an international engineering, design and advisory company driving sustainability. Through the diverse engagements, biodiversity initiatives for each participating organization were developed.
Here is a short overview of the main steps and learning points from the lens of BaltCap:
Firstly, our journey began with an exploration of the wind park operations’ dependencies and impact on nature through screening and materiality mapping. During the analysis, sectoral and geospatial data were analysed with ENCORE tool. For example, we elaborated on the diverse impacts and dependencies of the wind turbine construction throughout the value chain.
In a nutshell, it was concluded that BaltCap’s direct project operations (a) and those of the suppliers (b) for wind turbine construction have different impacts and dependencies on nature:
Most affected impact drivers:
‒Water use (a)
‒Water pollutants (b)
‒Solid waste (b)
Most dependent ecosystem services:
‒Climate regulation (a)
‒Flood and storm protection (a)
‒Mass stabilization and erosion control (a)
‒Surface water (b)
Secondly, we developed a biodiversity management plan to establish our agenda for avoiding and minimizing the effect on biodiversity coming from our business and investments, with a specific focus on wind park projects. The main aim of setting up the plan is to systematically approach biodiversity issues and implement relevant measures not to do harm to biodiversity. The central feature of the plan is a methodology for quantifying and evaluating the impact on biodiversity in the wind energy sector
Now we are ready to take action; main activities to be carried out:
- Integrating calculations on biodiversity impact. We will improve our internal investment processes by adding the calculations of biodiversity impact to the investment process at the early stage of the Environmental Impact assessment.
- Setting specific biodiversity KPIs allowing impact assessment and benchmarking. We set forth specific KPIs for wind projects to assess the biodiversity impact. As a practical step, we carry out a preliminary assessment of our new wind park investment.
- Specific mitigation/avoidance plan for future wind farm projects.
- Assigning a biodiversity champion. To better keep the biodiversity topic in the spotlight and integrate the new project-specific initiatives into our procedures, we plan to appoint the task to a team member dealing with ESG issues.
We are thankful to Nefco for launching the programme, AFRY for advising and backing, and other Nefco Pilot Programme participant companies for insightful sessions and experience sharing.