Ten French institutional investors have joined forces to drive the development of biodiversity investment funds.

Working with Af2i, the French institutional investor industry body, the investors intend to launch a call for proposals by the end of July with a view to selecting the asset managers offering the most innovative and suitable approaches for addressing biodiversity issues in investment management.

In a statement, the insurer-heavy group of investors said they had teamed up to raise capital to finance the companies whose activities contribute to international biodiversity protection and restoration goals.

They said their initiative “marks an important step” in the definition of biodiversity-integrating financial action plans and pathways.

Citing the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework, they said their initiative underscored the willingness of institutional investors to take action for nature and ecosystems by financing new business models to promote the emergence of solutions that support biodiversity.

The investors are particularly interested in small and mid-cap solutions and have also specified that they will be looking for solutions that finance providers of biodiversity solutions in listed assets, and potentially unlisted, as part of a positive impact approach.

A scientific committee will be in place as part of the request for proposals process to help the institutional investors “think collectively and operationally about the best approaches for successfully integrating biodiversity in investment decisions”.

Under a rule known as Article 29, financial institutions in France have to report on biodiversity impacts and risks, as well as provide more in-depth disclosures relating to climate change.

The 10 investors behind the new biodiversity initiative are: Abeille Assurance, BNP Paribas Cardif, BPCE Assurances, Caisse des Dépôts, CNP Assurances, EDF Gestion, MAIF, MACIF, Malakoff Humanis and Société Générale Assurances.

Research from MSCI last year suggested that investment funds with a ‘biodiversity’ label have delivered, on average, lower risk-adjusted returns than other thematic funds.

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