Norwegian financial services firm Storebrand is divesting holdings in four mining companies, worth NOK163m (€15.9m) in total, as part of a new policy on protecting nature, it announced this morning.

The Lysaker-headquartered provider of services such as pensions, investment and insurance launched a new nine-page policy document today on nature including new criteria on excluding companies from its portfolio.

Canada’s First Quantum Minerals; the South African firm Harmony Gold Mining; Australia’s Newcrest Mining and TMC – The metals company, a Canadian deep-sea minerals exploration firm, are being excluded with immediate effect, Storebrand said in today’s statement. A spokeswoman for the firm told IPE the divestment amounted to NOK163m.

“Storebrand will no longer invest in companies with mining operations that conduct marine or riverine tailings disposal, companies involved in deep sea mining, and companies that derive 5% of their revenues from drilling in Arctic areas that are considered especially vulnerable and valuable,” the company said.

The Norwegian asset manager said it had been committed to halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity for several years – through its investments, talks with investees, coalitions, and by supporting research.

“Storebrand now strengthens its actions, in recognition of the financial risks and opportunities associated with this challenge,” the firm said.

“With the adoption of the policy, the precautionary approach will be applied more actively when making investment decisions,” it said, adding that the new policy also sent a strong signal to the market of what the firm expected.

Compared to climate change where carbon dioxide emissions were measured, biodiversity loss was more challenging to measure and compare, Storebrand said.

The impact of biodiversity loss was often localised and dispersed throughout supply chains, where information and transparency from companies on the specific locations of their operations was still limited, it said.

“In this context, partnerships and coalitions like Nature Action 100 and the future TNFD will be key levers for greater integration of biodiversity challenges,” the firm said.

Jan Erik Saugestad, chief executive officer of Storebrand Asset Management, said the investment sector could not solve the biodiversity crisis by itself and that collaboration with governments, corporates and finance was needed, as well as better regulations on all levels and better reporting.

“There are few regulatory incentives for companies to curb practices that are harmful to nature,” he said, adding “I would like to see governments step up when they meet in Montreal in December.”

The UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) is to be held from 7 to 19 December in the Canadian city.

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