AXA Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Sycomore Asset Management and Mirova have selected the research provider that will develop a tool to allow them to measure the impact of their investments on biodiversity.

The French asset managers chose Iceberg Data Lab and I Care & Consult as a consortium, with the companies having joined forces to expand a metric quantifying corporates’ impact on biodiversity across their activities.

In a statement, the four asset managers said the tool’s expansion would help investors integrate impacts on nature and biodiversity into their risk assessments and research, and that the transparency of the selected approach would contribute to the “required convergence towards more standard and comparable metrics”.

“This should serve as an important catalyst for private sector action, with ripple effects throughout our economies,” they said.

The appointment of Iceberg Data Lab and I Care & Consult concludes a tender process initiated early this year, accompanied by an investor statement on the need for biodiversity impact metrics. This has been signed by representatives of 30 leading institutional investors around the world.

Biodiversity is moving up the agenda in parts of the investment industry. Away from the French asset managers, Robeco, for example, has said the loss of biodiversity is a bigger threat than climate change and that more effort should be put into measuring the biodiversity impact of portfolios.

It called on other investors to sign up to a ‘Finance for Biodiversity Pledge’ that will be launched on Friday in connection with the 75th United Nations’ General Assembly.

Earlier this month The Paulson Institute and The Nature Conservancy published a report in which they said there was a gap of between $598bn to $824bn per year over the next 10 years between what is needed to sustainably manage biodiversity and what is currently invested in conserving nature.

Another example of the broadening of the environmental focus in the financial industry to beyond climate change is the plan to create a Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, with AXA and BNP Paribas among 10 financial institutions to have declared their support for this earlier this year.

The initiative is funded by the UK government and is being coordinated by Global Canopy, UNDP, UNEP FI and WWF.

In their statement today, the four French asset managers said they would continue to collaborate with key actors and initiatives in the biodiversity field, naming the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures as one.

“The investors recognise that much more needs to be done to promote corporate transparency on nature-related dependencies and impacts,” they said.

“Also, many challenges remain to capture nature’s complexity into manageable metrics and to integrate the latest science into investment decision making.”

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