UN-Backed Investors Set Sustainability Goals

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by KnowESG

A group of UN-backed global financial institutions, including Dutch lender Rabobank, has established a series of company-specific environmental and social benchmarks aimed at accelerating the transition to a more sustainable food system.

The new goals, set by a consortium of 11 Good Food Finance Network firms, including Nuveen Natural Capital and Mexican development lender FIRA, include objectives such as preventing deforestation and increasing the use of agroforestry.

"This new generation of high-ambition targets can enable a cleaner greener food and agriculture sector," said Eric Usher, Head of the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, which helped convene the group and approved the targets as ambitious.

Before the COP27 climate talks in Egypt in November, investors are paying more attention to how a healthy food system can help fight global warming and protect biodiversity.

Usher said that the financial sector as a whole should use COP27 to raise its goals and grow a more sustainable food and agriculture sector.

As part of the group's goals, which involve a total of $113 billion in assets, Rabobank said it would try to stop 150 million tonnes of carbon emissions from being released each year from its agricultural holdings by 2030.

FIRA, one of Mexico's biggest sources of financing for rural areas, said it wanted to invest $3.6 billion in adapting to climate change by 2030.

The Global Environment Facility, an international group that gives money to protect biodiversity, said that one of its goals would be to fix up 420,000 hectares of damaged land and improve how more than 20 million hectares of land is managed.

Nuveen manages more than 3 million acres of land. It said that by the end of 2023, it hoped to have a zero-deforestation policy for all of its holdings and finish a natural capital inventory of all of its holdings.

"Identifying what a state-of-the-art, credible target to finance sustainable food and agriculture looks like is a vital part of addressing the urgent climate and food crises," said Wiebe Draijer, co-chair of the Good Food Finance Network and former CEO of Rabobank.

"Today’s new generation of high-ambition targets provide a significant step forward in meeting that challenge."

Source: Reuters

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