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Investors join forces to push for policy action on nature loss

A group of more than 200 investors on Wednesday backed a plan to start talks with 60 companies over biodiversity, focusing on those active in countries with ecosystems at risk of forest loss and land degradation.

The Spring initiative comes ahead of global talks in Colombia in October that aim to accelerate efforts to protect and restore nature as part of a Global Biodiversity framework deal reached in 2022.

Launched by the Principles for Responsible Investment, a U.N.-supported network, the Spring process will focus on policy action impacting the planet’s most important biomes.

“What we’re seeing today from investors is a recognition of the importance of nature when managing material investment risks, including deforestation, biodiversity loss, when aligned with their individual fiduciary duty,” said PRI Chief Executive David Atkin in a statement.

All of the companies are major players in the food and agriculture, mineral mining, automotive, chemicals or banking sectors, and either have a large exposure to nature loss or a influential role in engaging policymakers.

Among them are French cosmetics company L’Oreal, where talks will be led by CCLA Investment Management and Dorval Asset Management; and Japanese carmaker Toyota, where talks will be led by Nomura Asset Management.

In a statement, Toyota said it had been working with stakeholders to promote biodiversity conservation for many years, and would “continue to engage in open and constructive dialogue with investors and initiatives”.

“This initiative aims to engage companies to conduct responsible political engagement, an important lever to halt and reverse biodiversity loss,” said Gayaneh Shahbazian, Biodiversity Engagement Manager at Morningstar Sustainalytics.

The talks will aim to improve the impact on nature of the companies’ operations and risk management, their supply chain management and political engagement, the PRI said.

“Halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation is fundamental for a healthy climate, a sustainable future and long-term investment results,” said Emine Isciel, Head of Climate and Environment, Storebrand Asset Management.

“We recognise the need for sound public policy to achieve this goal.”

(Reuters)

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