The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and non-profit sustainability organisation Ceres today announced that their collaborative effort to address tropical deforestation, the Investor Initiative for Sustainable Forests, has expanded to include engagement with companies exposed to deforestation risks linked to soy production in South America.
The initiative will support and coordinate investor’s engagement with companies to eliminate deforestation from their soybean supply chains within South America.
“Soybean production is a leading driver of deforestation in Brazil, posing reputational and market risks to companies that source from suppliers engaged in forest destruction,” said Julie Nash, director of food programs at Ceres.
“This deforestation releases greenhouse gas emissions, displaces indigenous communities and contributes to the decline of healthy ecosystems, particularly in the biodiverse Brazilian Cerrado region.”
Soybean production has more than doubled worldwide over the past 20 years, becoming a US$115 billion market. It is the second largest soft commodity driver of tropical deforestation and now more than one million square kilometres globally are dedicated towards growing soybeans.
“While agriculture and soybean production contribute significantly to economic development and the livelihoods of farmers in the countries where it is grown, there is now a growing understanding of the environmental and social issues associated with unsustainable soybean production,” said Danielle Carreira, senior manager, environmental issues at the PRI.
“Institutional investors are increasingly looking to understand how deforestation associated with soft-commodity production can pose material risks to their investee companies.”
While the Soy Moratorium in Brazil and other factors have helped to reduce deforestation in the Amazon, the Brazilian Cerrado, a biome not covered by the Moratorium, and where 47 percent of soy is grown, is expected to become a material business risk. Estimates predict another one-third of the grasslands could be converted by 2050 under business as usual.
In late 2017, the PRI and Ceres launched the Investor Initiative for Sustainable Forests, focusing initially on sustainable cattle. An investor working group of 32 investors, representing approximately US$6.3 trillion in assets under management, engages companies in a range of sectors to eliminate deforestation from their cattle supply chains. Dialogue is currently underway with several companies.
The financial support for this partnership is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation as part of a conservation and financial markets collaboration among Ceres, World Wildlife Fund and World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
For more information, contact:
Head of PR
Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
+44 (0) 20 3714 3143
+1 617-247-0700 X155
Ceres is a sustainability nonprofit organization leading the most influential investors and companies to build leadership and drive solutions throughout the economy. For more information, visit www.ceres.org or follow on Twitter @CeresNews.
About the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI)
The PRI is the world’s leading proponent of responsible investment. It works to understand the investment implications of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and to support its international network of investor signatories in incorporating these factors into their investment and ownership decisions. The PRI acts in the long-term interests of its signatories, of the financial markets and economies in which they operate and ultimately of the environment and society as a whole. Visit the PRI website for more details: www.unpri.org