Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Index: measuring the value of nature

The Swiss Re Institute Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) Index assesses which economic sectors are most reliant on nature and evaluates the exposure each country has to BES decline.

Countries around the world depend on a range of vital natural services to help maintain the health and stability of their communities and economies. Better known as biodiversity and ecosystem services, these include food provision, water security and regulation of local air quality among others.

Explore our interactive infographic to find out which countries and economic sectors are most vulnerable to BES loss:

The Swiss Re Institute BES Index can inform decision-making for governments' efforts to improve ecosystem restoration and preservation, for corporates and investors protecting against environmental shocks, or for the provision of insurance services that support the Sustainability Development Goals. The index is available as part of CatNet®, Swiss Re’s online natural hazard information and mapping system.

There is a clear need to assess the state of ecosystems so the global community can understand the economic risks of deteriorating biodiversity and ecosystems.
Christian Mumenthaler, Group CEO, Swiss Re

BES Index and nature-based insurance solutions

The BES Index provides a holistic, comparative view of the state of BES globally. It works by aggregating data from ten different BES categories addressing water security, timber provision, food provision, habitat intactness, pollination, soil fertility, water quality, regulation of air quality & local climate, erosion control and coastal protection.

This aggregated data is provided at a resolution of 1 kilometre squared, across the globe and can therefore support a highly localised analysis of the ten BES categories, Swiss Re Institute also applied the index to globally rank countries according to the state of BES, as well as ranking countries according to the BES-dependency of their economy.

Using insights from the BES Index enables clients to add a sustainability perspective to risk selection and inform their decision on the long-term risk-adequacy of their premiums. An example is the protection of coastal properties in hurricane- or typhoon-prone areas by mangrove and coral reefs. An industry first, the BES Index offers an assessment of how intact coastal ecosystems are in these locations and, together with property data in CatNet®, provides insurance insights on the properties they protect. This information can be used for better risk protection and potentially risk adequate pricing.

The index underlines the important need for nature-based insurance solutions and will create a new business segment for insurance, thereby strengthening resilience of affected regions and communities.

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