Investors coalition to engage the seafood sector on major natural hazards and their impacts

New WWF research shows that some banks and investors recognize the potential ESG risks in seafood, but most lack strong or enforceable policies.

A coalition of five organizations focused on conservation and biodiversity has launched an initiative that will increase investor impact to engage seafood companies on critical nature, biodiversity-related impacts and risks. The group announced the effort during a discussion held at The EconomistLast World Ocean Summit.

With the goal of eliminating overfishing, illegal fishing and habitat conversion from seafood value chains, this new initiative will bring together a group of like-minded investors to conduct targeted engagements with key seafood companies.
WWFAnd justiceAnd UNEP FI‘s Sustainable Blue Economy Financing Initiativethe Global Standard Alliance And planet tracker You will support the group of investors to develop target orders and leverage their collective strength to strengthen corporate commitments and implement best practices in seafood sustainability.

In its first phase, the investor working group will focus on engaging seafood companies in sustainability best practices, such as developing full chain traceability systems, reducing bycatch and discards, reducing food loss and waste, and working to meet globally recognized standards. Joining the initiative will help investors meet ocean-related science-based principles and guidance such as those under UNEP’s Sustainable Blue Economy Financing Initiative, as well as allow them to advance emerging efforts to address nature and biodiversity risks in their portfolios, such as Nature Working Group on Financial Disclosures.

“Our ocean supports an enormous amount of biodiversity and hundreds of millions of people depend on it to be healthy, now and in the future. However, unsustainable seafood production has a negative impact on ocean health, while also endangering its future.” He said Lucy Holmes, Senior Director of Blue Funding for the World Wide Fund for Nature-USA. “Failure to address the environmental and social risks and impacts in seafood production can expose investors to material financial risk. Given the seafood sector’s massive reliance on nature and healthy surroundings, taking action on seafood is a great way for investors to begin to address the broader nature of the risks and impacts related to diversity.” biological.”

The launch of this joint effort follows the publication of a new WWF report showing that while biodiversity and the impacts of natural capital are publicly recognized by most asset managers as risks, the risks and impacts related to seafood remain unaddressed in the vast majority of cases. Of the 42 asset managers whose public disclosure was assessed, only one had actually developed and publicly disclosed an environmental and social (E&S) outlook for seafood for its investee companies. The report is the first assessment of its kind and underscores the need for more investor involvement in these issues, particularly through collaborations like this.

“Collective investor engagement is a useful tool both in driving company-wide change, and for helping investors strengthen their own internal risk management policies and processes,” Yo crowDirector of Thematic Research and Institutional Innovation for FAIRR. “Over the past six years, FAIRR has worked with more than 350 investors managing $70 trillion in assets under management to collectively address issues ranging from biodiversity loss to antimicrobial resistance. We’ve seen how the collective engagement format supports peer-to-peer learning ahead of the competition. We believe the potential to address seafood risks in this way is huge.”

“This new initiative will help financial institutions understand how seafood production, distribution and consumption negatively impact the environment, causing biodiversity and nature loss, climate change, and human rights violations,” Dennis Fritsch, Assistant Chief of the Nature Program at the United Nations Environment Program Funding Initiative. “By providing organizations with practical strategies for managing their exposure to environmental and social risks to the seafood sector, and identifying and developing sustainable investment opportunities, these efforts will support the urgently needed transition to a sustainable blue economy.”

The coalition says banks are a little more forward in their thinking about seafood but still have work to do. A recent assessment of banks’ seafood policies and procedures found that most major seafood lenders are aware of the need to manage environmental and social issues in the sector, but that current policies – where they exist – are insufficient to prevent and manage their exposure. those risks. Analysis, summary in Supreme Council: 2022 Basic Evaluation of Banks’ Seafood Sector Policieslooked at the public disclosures of 41 international banks on environmental and security risk management, and found that only 20 percent disclosed their seafood sector policies.

To provide additional support to both banks and investors, WWF has developed a self-paced e-learning course – Seafood Sustainability 101 for Financial Professionals – Open for registration[1]. This course is one of many key resources developed by WWF and Cooperating Partners to support financial institutions to understand risks and impacts related to seafood and to develop policies, processes and other procedures to manage and mitigate their exposure.

For more information on the collective’s involvement in seafood sustainability, please contact [email protected]. For more information on the Bank and Investor Analysis or e-learning course, or for interviews with research directors, please contact
[email protected].

[1]The WWF has published the course under the title ASFI Academy (Asia Academy for Sustainable Finance) – E-learning Academy. This was launched in September 2021 by WWF Singapore In collaboration with leading financial industry associations in Singapore, to date more than 6,000 financial professionals in 31 countries have been trained through the academy.