Washington D.C. Office

Biodiversity Return on Investment Metric

Cheetah Serengeti

What is the Biodiversity Return on Investment Metric?

The BRIM measures the contribution that investments can make to reducing species extinction risk. It can help the finance industry and investors target their investments to achieve conservation outcomes, and can measure the contributions these investments make to global targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

Key features of the BRIM:

  • A fully additive metric, from pixel to global, or across sites in a portfolio
  • Allows comparison across investment targets – a change in value in one place is directly comparable to a change somewhere else on the planet
  • Responsive at the pace of investors
  • Based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – the global standard for documenting species’ conservation status 

How is the BRIM calculated?

The BRIM apportions the relative contribution of threats (pressures) to each threatened species’ extinction risk. For a particular site, land management unit, or administrative region (country or province), the BRIM shows the potential for reducing extinction risk before investment activities start (ex-ante measure), or can measure the achieved impact of conservation interventions on extinction risk over time (ex-post measure).

The BRIM scales larger or smaller according to:

  • The number and Red List category of threatened species present at a site or administrative region, and the proportion of their ranges occupied by the site. The larger the number of species, the greater the proportion of their ranges occupied by the site, and the more threatened they are, the larger the potential return
  • How much each kind of pressure affects those species. The greater the potential reduction in a pressure is, the greater the potential return
  • The effectiveness with which particular pressures are reduced by interventions

The BRIM shows how interventions deliver reductions in pressure that can result in changes to the Red List Index (RLI), which is used as the biodiversity indicator for the Sustainable Development Goals, the Aichi Targets and the United Nations System for Environmental-Economic Accounting. The BRIM responds to change faster than the Red List Index  and can be meaningfully applied at smaller scales. Positive changes in the BRIM are clear evidence of progress generated by investment towards reducing extinction risk.

Using the BRIM

The BRIM shows ex-ante (potential) and ex-post (achieved) impacts of investments at a range of scales and over a range of timeframes. It has a range of potential uses, including:

  • Analysis and comparison of potential and achieved return on investment across a portfolio
  • Targeting interventions at particular sites and/or particular pressures
  • Tracking sectoral impacts on extinction risk, e.g. through commodity companies footprint
  • Developing and tracking global targets on slowing extinction risk, for instance for the post-2020 Aichi targets

For further details, and to receive future updates, please contact: brim@iucn.org 

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