Etica Funds endorses PRI’s campaign to safeguard biodiversity

Biodiversity and nature: Etica Funds endorses Spring, the new United Nations’ PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment) initiative, designed to conserve biodiversity and combat its gradual loss.

Biodiversity encompasses all forms of life, from the immense rainforests to the microscopic bacteria residing in the soil: essentially, it is the fabric that holds the planet – and every life on it – together. This diversity not only creates an astonishing visual spectacle, but is also vital for the balanced functioning of ecosystems.

Sadly, today nature’s work faces multiple threats: deforestation, pollution, and climate change are diminishing biodiversity at a rapid rate,and while this endangers the survival of numerous animal and plant species, it also unavoidably creates systemic, physical, and transitional risks within financial and economic systems that cannot be disregarded.

Biodiversity: Spring, PRI’s stewardship initiative

Spring, PRI’s stewardship initiative for nature, attracts institutional investors from around the world. The aim is to stop and reverse global biodiversity loss by 2030 by tackling the systemic risks associated with biological diversity loss and guiding affected societies towards more environmentally sustainable practices to generate long-term value.

In its initial phase, Spring prioritises addressing deforestation and land degradation in specific geographic areas, selecting a group of companies to engage in dialogue and collaboration, to support and advocate for the creation of strong and efficient public policies in these regions.

The companies with which the investors will collaborate to support the initiative’s goals possess substantial influence in areas dedicated to addressing deforestation and land degradation.


Spring’s methodology

The selection methodology for companies collaborating with investors involves three main stages:

  • Step 1 involves selecting priority geographic areas based on deforestation, achieved through analysing recent trends and future risks of advancing deforestation, as well as assessing drivers of deforestation and investor exposure.
  • Step 2 involves selecting policy spheres that influence drivers of deforestation in geographic areas identified as priorities. In this phase, the primary focus is on identifying emerging policies and regulations, alongside evaluating the implementation of supply-side and demand-side policies.
  • In Step 3, companies are selected based on their level of influence in the chosen political spheres, either through direct political engagement or via trade associations and other representative bodies. Companies’ deforestation risks and investors’ ability to influence them are also evaluated.

The approach, which integrates analysis of trends, emerging policies, and corporate influence, is rooted in a rigorous and transparent methodology developed by PRI and assessed in collaboration with industry experts.

Deforestation and land degradation are primary contributors to biodiversity loss and account for a significant portion of global CO2 emissions. The Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use (signed by leaders from 145 countries at COP26 in 2021) stressed the importance of stopping and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030 by strengthening efforts to attain global climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development goals. Investors are also exposed to reputational, legal, market and systemic risks due to deforestation and land degradation.

Etica Funds highlights the importance of advocating for a responsible and collaborative approach

Addressing biodiversity loss is a pressing matter necessitating tangible actions and joint efforts to enhance business practices, minimise financial risks and mitigate potential impacts on investments.

Responsible investors play a pivotal role in reversing the tide and enhancing business practices. In this context, the commitment of the participating companies is equally vital, striving to safeguard natural habitats, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, advocate sustainable agricultural practices and minimise pollution.

Adopting the United Nations’ PRI since 2009, Etica Funds committed to integrating ESG criteria into its investment strategies and active ownership decisions. Etica is also among the early adopters of the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge. We endorse this new initiative of the PRI network due to the significance of collaborative endeavours between investors and companies to tackle biodiversity loss and foster a sustainable future for our planet and future generations, while also mitigating associated economic risks.

“The PRI’s initiative is in line with the stewardship campaign we’ve launched on biodiversity, which relies on collaboration with Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) Forest Champions programme and is focused on adopting Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)’s recommendations; publishing data consistent with the new Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) 101 international standard on biodiversity; as well as adopting biodiversity protection metrics based on Science-Based targets Network (SBTNs) standards. The TNFD itself highlights the importance of considering the social impacts of biodiversity loss, including the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities”. 

Aldo BonatiStewardship and ESG Networks Manager

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