How to address commodity-driven deforestation risks: an introduction for the finance sector


13th December 2021

Financial institutions joined the first webinar introducing the Finance Sector Roadmap

The first webinar since the launch of Deforestation-Free Finance gave context to why this guidance is vital and provided a quick dive into the Finance Sector Roadmap structure. The Roadmap is designed to provide a broad range of financial institutions, including asset owners, pension funds, asset managers, insurers and banks with guidance on how to eliminate deforestation, conversion, and associated human rights abuses from their portfolios, with a target date of 2025.

The webinar recording is now available to watch.

Stephanie Kimball, Director of Climate Change Strategy at Conservation International, set the scene and provided context for the Roadmap, highlighting the commitment letter signed by 32 financial institutions to eliminate forest-risk agricultural commodity portfolios, announced at COP26.

Olga Hancock, Senior Engagement Analyst at the Church Commissioners for England, followed, explaining why financial institutions need to take action now. She shared the work the Church Commissioners have been undertaking to reduce their exposure to deforestation risk.

“There’s a realisation there’s an ecological crisis around the world and there has been this sharp focus from investors on climate. But I think stemming from that is a realisation that biodiversity is a really critical part of that picture and then deforestation and the part deforestation plays in protecting the climate […] If we can address the issue – to an extent we can and I’m optimistic we can – it is a low lying fruit in the climate puzzle.”
Olga Hancock, the Church Commissioners for England

Last, Emma Thomson, technical lead for the Finance Sector Roadmap from Global Canopy, ran through Roadmap. She explained that financial institutions can join the Roadmap at one of the six phases along the route – and work their way through identifying their exposure to risks, creating a deforestation policy, monitoring and engaging their clients/holdings, disclosing their progress, and eliminating these risks from their portfolios.

The Finance Sector Roadmap will be followed with further sector specific guidance on eliminating deforestation from financial investments.