New guide launched to help pension funds tackle global deforestation


12th July 2022

Make My Money Matter and Global Canopy launch new guidance for pension schemes on how to tackle deforestation within their portfolios.

A new interactive guide to provide pension funds with the tools they need to ensure their investments are not driving deforestation across the globe is launched today by Global Canopy, Make My Money Matter and SYSTEMIQ.

This year, research revealed that £2 in every £10 individuals save into their pensions in the UK is linked to companies and financial institutions at high risk of deforestation, jeopardising many schemes’ ambitious commitments to achieve net zero..

How to achieve deforestation-free pensions provides practical steps and actions for pension funds to identify, address and eliminate deforestation risk and associated human rights abuses, as well as future-proof their investments.

The guidance was created by Global Canopy in partnership with Make My Money Matter, SYSTEMIQ and in close consultation with 12 pension funds. Its online format provides different pathways for various investment approaches – allowing users to log-in and access the guidance most relevant for the needs of their specific pension fund.

“Our forests play a crucial role in reducing carbon in the atmosphere and protecting biodiversity, so the scale of deforestation is an enormous threat to both nature and climate. At COP26 in Glasgow last year, more than 100 world leaders pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. With the help of this new detailed guidance pension funds can now play their part by working to eliminate commodity-driven deforestation and associated human rights violations from their investment portfolios.”
Maria Nazarova-Doyle, Head of Pension Investments and Responsible Investments at Scottish Widows

Building on the Finance Sector Roadmap on Eliminating Commodity Driven Deforestation launched at COP26, the guidance sets out six phases, from identifying and mapping deforestation and its associated human rights risks within portfolios, to setting a policy and engaging with asset managers, to eliminating deforestation from their investments.

Make My Money Matter and Global Canopy call on all pension schemes to review and adopt this best practice guidance – and to sign up to the Race to Zero commitment letter on eliminating agricultural commodity-driven deforestation from their investments by 2025, here.

“Identifying and understanding tropical deforestation related risks in investment portfolios is a complex task, creating a barrier to effective collective action by investors to both halt and reverse forest loss. So we welcome the launch of this comprehensive guidance for pension funds, which represents an important and catalytic step forward in enabling the financial sector to meaningfully address this urgent issue. We are pleased to have been able to contribute to the working group supporting the development of the guidance, which will play an important role in our own work embedding nature as a material consideration within investment decision making at Phoenix Group.”
Sindhu Krishna, Head of Sustainable Investments, Phoenix Group

“The severity of deforestation and its impact on climate change and biodiversity cannot, and should not, be overlooked. This guide is a really helpful tool for asset owners to understand how to assess, review, report and act on deforestation risks in their investment portfolios. We’d encourage all schemes to look at this guide and utilise it to help inform their approach to responsible investment, and their contribution to achieving global commitments to tackle deforestation by 2030.”
Joe Dabrowski, Deputy Director Policy at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA)