“Deforestation and the fires in the Amazon are deeply concerning. Given the political situation, the financial industry plays an even more important role,” says CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, Jan Erik Saugestad.
Storebrand is now launching a clear deforestation policy, which SKAGEN’s portfolio managers will also adhere to. In July, the deforestation of the rain forest tripled, compared to the same period last year. The Norwegian government halted the transfer of NOK 300 million to Brazil to reduce deforestation, and recently, President Jair Bolsonaro rejected financial assistance from the G7 countries. Given these developments, the financial sector has an even greater responsibility.
“Deforestation has long been an important issue in Storebrand’s investments. Now, our role as an active owner will be intensified, in order to halt deforestation,” says Saugestad.
SKAGEN follows the same sustainability policy as Storebrand with a number of ambitious sustainability targets focusing on human rights, the environment, corruption, controversial weapons and tobacco, amongst other things.
Few investors currently have a clear policy addressing deforestation specifically in their investment portfolios, and Storebrand encourages other investors to follow suit. Storebrand has been a pioneer within sustainable investments and together with SKAGEN they are advocating more active ownership to influence companies to operate sustainably.
The most important measures in Storebrand's deforestation policy are:
- To have a clear target and escalation plan for active ownership: by 2025, Storebrand shall, through active ownership, achieve the goal of having an investment portfolio that does not contribute to deforestation.
- To map deforestation risk and be transparent: Storebrand shall map sectors and companies with high deforestation risk. This applies to all companies involved in the production, trade, use or financing of deforestation-risk commodities, particularly palm oil, soy, timber and cattle products.
- To influence companies and encourage higher standards: We shall use our shareholder position to influence high risk companies through direct dialogue and voting at general meetings.
- To strengthen the cooperation with other financial institutions to improve the standards for measuring, monitoring and reporting on direct and indirect deforestation risk.