US, Chinese firms top the list of targets for Nature Action 100

European investors lead the way as engagement initiative publishes list of investors and target companies.

river and forest in Poland

Nature Action 100 has named target firms and investor signatories as it kicks off engagements.

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

On Tuesday, focus companies were finally named. According to NA100, firms were selected based on market capitalisation within key sectors previously identified as “systemically important in reversing nature and biodiversity loss by 2030” and an analysis by the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation of companies with the highest impact on nature.

Among the corporate giants and household names included in the list are Nestle, Novo Nordisk, Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, Rio Tinto and JBS.

Of the eight sectors identified by NA100, “food” and “food and beverage retail and restaurants” accounted for more than a third of the target companies. Another 17 firms were categorised as “consumer goods retail” and “household and personal goods”.

On geographical spread, the US is the biggest target with 40 firms headquartered there. The next largest jurisdiction is China, with nine firms focused on everything from pork and dairy production, mining, e-commerce, and sauces and condiments.

Six of the target firms – including Anglo American, Bunge and Nestle – have representatives on the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). However, none has yet publicly stated that they will adopt the TNFD recommendations.

Twenty-three of the target firms – including Glencore, Rio Tinto, Danone, JBS and Unilever – are also being engaged as part of CA100+.

Engagement letters sent

Alongside the list, NA100 has published examples of letters which were sent to target firms last week.

According to the initiative, most investor signatories signed all the letters. However, some only signed those for firms where they are shareholders.

As previously indicated, the letters list six key expectations for companies.

These include assessing and publicly disclosing 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.

“We recognise that achieving these expectations will require significant support and capacity-building; that organisations have different starting points, strategies and aims; and that jurisdictions, regulations, and best practices will determine the approach that a company can pursue,” said the letter said.

An NA100 spokesperson said it was too early to say whether the TNFD recommendations, which were launched in New York last week, will be explicitly put into the assessment expectation.

Firms have until 30 November to respond. If a firm misses the deadline, the spokesperson said it will be for investors to independently decide how to proceed.

From 2024, an annual benchmark will be published on the actions taken by companies. It will be created by NA100’s four partner organisations: the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, Ceres, the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation and Planet Tracker.

Investor participants

NA100 was “soft launched” at COP15 with an initial investor group including AXA Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Federated Hermes Limited, Robeco and Storebrand Asset Management.

According to the spokesperson, this group will remain in the short term “but the plan is to over time formalise it into a more concrete governance structure”.

The initiative has now announced that 190 investors have signed up to engage the target firms.

Among the signatories are Abrdn, Allianz Global Investors, HESTA, Brunel Pension Partnership, Fidelity International, KLP Asset Management, Legal & General Investment Management, Schroders, Scottish Widows and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

On geographical spread, Europe dominates with 90 signatories, ahead of the UK with 48 and the US with 27.

Investor participants will engage companies individually or as part of engagement teams with other participating investors. Individuals and engagement teams will submit regular updates on their engagements.

Regarding the engagement teams, NA100 said the aim is for there to be one per firm and that the initiative is in the process of structuring the engagement teams.

The spokesperson added that the targeted team size is between one to four investors and that the teams will be streamlined so there are no lead or supporting investors.

Investors will also be involved with the technical advisory group – currently co-led by the Finance for Biodiversity Foundation and Planet Tracker – to help refine its materials.

Even though direct engagement with companies started, interested investors can still participate in Nature Action 100.