Investors failing to act on deforestation commitments

1st October 2020

Web tropicaldeforestation shutterstock 1066797374

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Natural resources ,
  • Global ,
  • Investment



The vast majority of investors that signed a UN agreement to help halt deforestation last year have failed to take sufficient action themselves.

A total of 235 investors representing over $16trn (£12trn) in assets under management signed a statement in 2019 calling for action from companies to halt deforestation in the Amazon.

However, an assessment by think tank Global Canopy has found that just 33 of these investors have introduced zero-deforestation policies of their own.

This is despite data from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) showing that the number of fires in the Amazon is currently 13% higher than at this point last year.

“The financial sector is fuelling deforestation in Brazil through their investments in companies in beef and soy supply chains,“ warned Niki Mardas, executive director at Global Canopy.

“Investors raised the alarm last year because of the financial risks linked to deforestation. The situation this year is far worse, and although some investors are showing real leadership, more action is needed across the sector.“

Last year's statement – coordinated by the UN PRI initiative and Ceres – urged companies to have publicly-available and commodity-specific no deforestation policies, to take action to minimise their risk of exposure to deforestation, and to disclose that risk.

It also called on firms to be transparent about whether they monitor if their suppliers have zero-deforestation policies and whether these are implemented, with clear annual reporting on exposure and progress.

But Global Canopy's analysis found that just 21 of the 235 investors have taken steps to ensure they have their own deforestation policies in place covering all of the forest-risk commodities in their portfolios.

A further 12 investors have policies for timber and palm oil, but not for soy and cattle, despite these being the main drivers of deforestation in Brazil.

“Last year's statement was an important step, but investors can't go silent as the problem gets worse,“ Mardas said. “They need to engage on this consistently, setting clear deforestation policies and reporting on their progress.“

Image credit: Shutterstock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Scotland to scrap its 2030 climate target

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

It’s well recognised that the public sector has the opportunity to work towards a national net-zero landscape that goes well beyond improving on its own performance; it can also influence through procurement and can direct through policy.

19th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close