Participating investors will focus on mobilizing companies deemed to be systemically important to the goal of reversing nature and biodiversity loss by 2030; the initiative is encouraging investor signatories to participate ahead of its spring 2023 formal launch.
MONTREAL — During a main stage session today at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), a group of institutional investors announced the formation of Nature Action 100, a new global engagement initiative which focuses on investors driving urgent action on the nature-related risks and dependencies in the companies they own.
Nature Action 100 aims to drive greater corporate ambition and action on tackling nature loss and biodiversity decline, and will complement the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s Global Biodiversity Framework by identifying the private sector actions that need to be undertaken to protect and restore nature and seek to catalyze these actions via investor-company engagements. A formal launch of the Nature Action 100 initiative will take place next year.
More than half of the world’s GDP ($44 trillion of economic value generation) is either moderately or highly reliant on nature’s services, and by some estimates, tens of billions of dollars in assets could be at risk of stranding over the next five to 10 years if companies continue to produce deforestation-linked commodities. In addition, wildlife populations have declined by an average of 69% since 1970, with an estimated one million plant and animal species at risk of extinction by 2050 – approximately 25% of all species on Earth. By the end of the century, 50% or more is at risk.
Ceres and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) will co-lead the initiative’s Secretariat and Corporate Engagement workstreams; the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation and Planet Tracker will co-lead the Technical Advisory Group. The Secretariat will be responsible for setting up the initiative’s Steering Group and supporting administrative, communications and fundraising activities. The Corporate Engagement workstream will focus on developing a multi-year engagement plan to engage companies deemed most important to stemming nature and biodiversity loss, while the Technical Advisory Group will help to identify priority engagements and develop science-based investor guidance and tools.
Investors will focus on companies in key sectors that are deemed to be systemically important to the goal of reversing nature and biodiversity loss by 2030. They will work to ensure companies are taking timely and necessary actions to protect and restore nature and ecosystems. Specifically, the initiative will:
- Map sector pathways and identify a list of 100 focus companies for investor engagement.
- Support engagements between investor teams and focus company executives and board members around initiative priorities.
- Identify corporate actions that need to be undertaken to protect and restore nature.
- Track the progress of focus companies against key indicators and provide annual progress updates.
- Support investor and corporate advocacy efforts with relevant policymakers on nature-focused policies.
Investors that have already expressed interest in the initiative will receive more information in the coming months. New investors can express their interest here.
The group of launching investors consists of the following firms: AXA Investment Managers, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Church Commissioners for England, Domini Impact Investments, Federated Hermes Limited, Karner Blue Capital, Robeco, Storebrand Asset Management, Christian Brothers Investment Services, and Vancity Investment Management.
Liudmila Strakodonskaya, Responsible Investment Analyst, AXA IM, said: “Nature protection is a challenge that needs to be addressed to preserve the existence of our societies and global economies. Companies and investors must integrate nature and biodiversity considerations in their research, engagement and investment processes. Dialogue between companies and investors then becomes fundamental to drive collective action. We are delighted to be part of the group of investors working to set up Nature Action 100 and welcome warmly the help from such recognised expert organisations as Ceres, Finance for Biodiversity Foundation, IIGCC and Planet Tracker in launching this global engagement initiative. With this initiative, we hope to bring change by encouraging corporates, investors and policy makers to take robust and timely actions to address this global challenge.”
Adam Kanzer, Head of Stewardship, Americas, BNP Paribas Asset Management, said: “Over the years, there have been many important investor engagements with corporations that touched on aspects of the biodiversity crisis, but none that placed biodiversity front and center, focusing on reversing nature loss by 2030. Nature Action 100 intends to fill that gap, engaging a broad range of companies on their most significant impacts to help place them on nature-positive pathways. We have no time to lose.”
Mindy Lubber, CEO and President, Ceres, said: “The global economy depends on nature. Ceres is honored to serve as co-lead of the Secretariat of Nature Action 100 and drive forward this critically important effort. Our co-leadership of this initiative is anchored in our three decades-long experience of successful investor engagements with companies that have helped advance solutions to address the climate crisis and water scarcity and pollution. We look forward to working together, alongside our partners and the initiative’s investors, to drive tangible corporate action on nature loss.”
Claudia Wearmouth, Global Head of Responsible Investment, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, said: “We recognise the reliance of our economy and society on a healthy ecosystem. The aim of Nature Action 100 is to engage those companies that have the highest impact on nature, not only to protect the natural environment but also to mitigate the risks these companies face from mounting pressure to effectively address biodiversity issues. We believe this programme fostering constructive engagement among corporates, investors and policymakers will drive action to tackle this global issue to the benefit of our clients and wider society. Columbia Threadneedle is pleased to be a founding member of this important initiative.”
Mary Beth Gallagher, Director of Engagement, Domini Impact Investments LLC, said: “We enthusiastically welcome the launch of this science-based global investor initiative to engage in biodiversity loss and support nature positive solutions. Not only is this agenda essential to meeting our objectives to some of our greatest systemic challenges, including climate change and deforestation, but it is also critical to respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and their role in maintaining and enhancing biological and cultural diversity.”
Bruce Duguid, Head of Stewardship, Federated Hermes Limited, said: “We are delighted to be part of the group of investors launching Nature Action 100 at COP15. Engagement is a powerful way to amplify the investor voice and send a strong signal to companies about the urgency of halting and reversing biodiversity loss. We are committed to addressing the nature crisis through our stewardship activities and look forward to engaging companies as part of Nature Action 100.”
Anita de Horde and Anne-Marie Bor, Co-founders and Board Members, Finance for Biodiversity Foundation said: “It has been an honor for us to work with the launching investors that put so much energy into scoping the initiative this past year. We are very happy that we can continue our work in supporting a call to action on reversing nature loss by developing the programme further with the partner organisations. We are looking forward to build on our existing knowledge and collaboration on impact assessment, identifying the priority sectors and corporates with a high impact and dependency on nature together with other initiatives, experts and investors.”
Stephanie Pfeifer, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) CEO, said: “Nature has a critically important role to play in global efforts to limit the effects of climate change. Protecting the natural world has the potential to have a powerful impact on climate mitigation, while also supporting positive social change. The impact that companies have on nature is currently not easy to quantify, and this limits the extent to which investors can engage with them on this key issue. This is why we are delighted that IIGCC has been selected to collaborate with partners in this space to develop the Nature Action 100 initiative, leveraging our experience in supporting successful corporate engagements on climate change and net zero in a new area. We look forward to working with our partners and the wider investment community to drive significant progress in tackling nature loss.”
Andrew Niebler, co-founder, Karner Blue Capital, LLC., said: “The natural world that forms the basis for all life on Earth is a global asset that humanity is drawing down at an unsustainable rate. The need to protect the long-term viability of our planet for future generations is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Nature Action 100 was therefore conceived as an investor-led initiative to bring about a paradigm shift in the relationship between business and nature. Karner Blue Capital thanks, and commends, all investors and partner organizations who have brought this vision to life and are committed to building a shared future for all life on Earth.”
Robin Millington, CEO, Planet Tracker, said: “The value of nature in the world economy is becoming increasingly recognised by the business, financial and political community. Reversing the current trend towards natural capital degradation and biodiversity loss is a key part of our mission. We will contribute our analytical, quantitative approach to developing practical guidance for the investment community to help deliver a financial system that is fully aligned with a net-zero, nature-positive economy. As co-leader of the Technical Working Group, Planet Tracker is honoured to be a part of this critical initiative. We look forward to working with our Nature Action 100 partners and the investor community to drive the changes required in company practices.”
Peter Van Der Werf, Senior Manager of Engagement, Robeco, said: “Biodiversity loss is a global systemic risk as represented by the planetary boundaries for biosphere integrity and biogeochemical flows which are most in overdraft to date. Robeco has identified biodiversity as one of the three strategic sustainability investing pillars, next to climate change and human rights. As a signatory to the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, we have committed to support engagement to halt biodiversity loss. Therefore, we have committed our resources to develop Nature Action 100 as our key focus program to accelerate corporate commitments of the companies we invest in. We ultimately aim to develop a comprehensive approach for companies to decouple shareholder value creation from further biodiversity loss.”
Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, said: “As a founding partner, I am excited to support the new engagement initiative Nature Action 100. Reaching the ambitious goal of the Global Biodiversity Framework will require major efforts from all stakeholder groups including from the financial sector. Nature Action 100 fills a critical gap by bringing corporates, investors and policymakers to take robust and timely actions to address biodiversity loss. Collaborative engagement, when done with sufficient ambition and rigor, can achieve things that are far greater than the sum of its parts.”
Nature Action 100 is a global investor engagement initiative focused on driving greater corporate ambition and action to reduce nature and biodiversity loss. The initiative engages companies in key sectors that are deemed to be systemically important in reversing nature and biodiversity loss by 2030. It was conceived by a group of institutional investors known as the Launching Investor Group. The initiative’s Secretariat and Corporate Engagement Working Group is co-led by Ceres and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), and the initiative’s Technical Advisory Group is co-led by the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation and Planet Tracker. Go to www.natureaction100.org to learn more.