Responsible investment

Biodiversity crisis: Why agriculture threatens biodiversity, and how responsible investors can respond

Executive summary:

  • Biodiversity plays a crucial role in protecting our health. It is only by understanding and respecting its limits that we will maintain the ecosystems that ensure our survival.
  • Human activity is a growing threat to our life support system and it is urgent that we strike a better balance. We see the COVID-19 pandemic as a wake-up call.
  • Agricultural production is dependent on the good functioning of ecosystems, but its intensification has led to a sharp degradation of biodiversity – the source of all variety in our crops and livestock. Intensive agriculture and related deforestation can also contribute to the spread of diseases.
  • Soybean production has more than tripled in the past 30 years and it illustrates well how the intensification of agriculture and global commodity trading can create threats for nature.
  • Many companies in the agricultural value chain may directly or indirectly benefit from the capital we provide to the market, but we have identified two particular types of companies to engage with: global traders and consumer facing companies. We consider they can influence many other players in the value chain.
  • From traders to consumer facing companies, corporates must promote responsible agricultural practices and provide stakeholders with the necessary transparency from field to shelf.
  • This research piece follows on from a primer on the broader topic we published last year. The piece can be found here.

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