Investors are exposed to commodities in a number of ways. Some of the ESG issues associated with investments in commodities are outlined in the table below.
|Type of investment||ESG issues to consider|
|Real productive assets such as forests or agricultural land||Direct exposure to issues such as environmental sustainability, labour and human rights, existing land and resource rights.|
|Debt or equity investments in companies that own commodity producing assets or related businesses in the commodity value chain||Direct exposure to ESG issues such as tailings waste produced by mines, labour standards in the supply chain, water scarcity, pollution levels.|
|Physical commodities||Indirect exposure to the potential impacts of investment in physical commodities. Additionally, significant ESG issues can be associated with the production of physical commodities, including externalised costs.|
|Commodity derivatives which can be traded on exchanges or over-the-counter||Certain investments in commodity derivatives have been accused of impacting price volatility and greater stability of financial markets.|
About the work stream
The work stream became a formal focus of the PRI in 2011. It seeks to raise awareness of ESG risks and opportunities that are specific to farmland investments and how these can be managed.
The farmland working group formed in September 2011. It aims to address the concerns around marketplace transparency and investor accountability as well as supporting signatories to integrate ESG issues into their investment decisions.
Resources listed may require PRI signatory extranet access.
- Responsible investment in farmland: a compendium of case studies (October 2012)
- Responsible investment in commodities: The issues at stake and a potential role for institutional investors (January 2012)
- Agri-investing for the long term, a report summarizing the 17 June 2011 conference in Geneva .
- The responsible investor’s guide to commodities: An overview of best practices across commodity-exposed asset classes. (September 2011)
Previous PRI in Person sessions
- Feeding the world: What role for investors in agricultural commodities and farmland? (2011)
- Commodity investments: what role for responsible investors? (2010)
- Cullen Roche (2010) Pragmatic capitalism: Commodities & the 130 year bear market
- The Land Security Agenda: How Investor Risks in Farmland Create Opportunities for Sustainability, The Earth Security Initiative (March 2012)
WORK STREAM MANAGER