Nature Action 100 outlines investor expectations and target sectors

The launch date is still in question as the collective engagement initiative for biodiversity sets out asks for target companies.

image of Earth made of water and forests

Nature Action 100 has outlined six key asks, which will be the starting point for corporate engagement for its investor signatories, as well as the eight sectors from which companies will be drawn. 

Work on the initiative – billed as the biodiversity equivalent to Climate Action 100+ – has been going on for more than two years.

In June 2021, Responsible Investor exclusively revealed that Robeco, the World Bank, the World Benchmark Alliance (WBA) and the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation were exploring the possibility of developing a nature equivalent to the influential CA100+ with several other unnamed global investors. 

Since then, institutional heavyweights including Storebrand Asset Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management, AXA Investment Managers, the Church Commissioners for England and Federated Hermes have backed the initiative and are among the members of the initiative’s launching investor group.

And in November, it was announced that the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) and sustainability advocacy non-profit Ceres would co-lead the secretariat and corporate engagement workstreams. 

The Finance for Biodiversity Foundation and Planet Tracker were also revealed as co-leads of the technical advisory group, which will help to identify priority engagements and develop science-based investor guidance and tools. 

The initiative was then “soft launched” at COP15 in Montreal the following month.

According to the latest update, companies targeted by Nature Action 100 will be expected to assess and publicly disclose nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks and opportunities at the operational level and throughout value chains, as well as set time-bound, context-specific, science-based targets.

Today’s announcement does not, however, mark the official launch of the initiative. A spokesperson told Responsible Investor it was a “significant milestone” in the development of Nature Action 100.

“It is important to recognise that the initiative is a first of its kind and must take into consideration many complexities, including scope, methodology and data availability,” they added. “Setting up the initiative for success is our top priority.”

Responsible Investor understands that Nature Action 100 is actively raising funds and is in discussions with several philanthropic foundations and donors.

Corporate commitments

Alongside the assessment and target-setting asks, target companies will be called on to publicly commit to minimising contributions to key drivers of nature loss and to conserve and restore ecosystems at the operational level and throughout value chains by 2030.    

They will also be pushed to develop a company-wide plan on how to achieve their targets and disclose progress on an annual basis.

Nature Action 100 noted that the design and implementation of corporate plans “should prioritise rights-based approaches and be developed in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and local communities when they are affected”. 

Firms will also be told to establish board oversight and disclose management’s role in assessing and managing nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks and opportunities.   

Finally, companies will be called on to engage with external parties including actors throughout value chains, trade associations, policymakers and other stakeholders. 

Asked whether Nature Action 100 plans to introduce a nature equivalent to the net-zero company benchmark produced by CA100+, the spokesperson said it was too early to say.

The eight sectors from which target companies will be drawn are: biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, chemicals, household and personal goods, consumer goods retail, food, food and beverage retail, forestry and paper, and metals and mining.  

Nature Action 100 said these sectors are deemed to be systemically important in reversing nature and biodiversity loss by 2030. “They are the major drivers of nature loss due to their large impacts on habitat loss, overexploitation of resources, and soil, water, and solid waste pollution.” 

A final list of companies within these sectors will be unveiled later this year, from which investors will indicate their preferred engagement targets.

Asked whether Nature Action 100 intends to have lead and co-lead investors for the engagements, the spokesperson told RI: “While each investor will make their own decisions and act independently, investors will be offered the opportunity to join engagement teams focused on the initiative’s focus companies as part of the registration process. Investors may choose to make their participation in specific engagements public.”

Once investors have joined the engagement teams, Nature Action 100 expects participants to send engagement letters to companies setting out their expectations. The initiative has called on investors to sign up to the process.