Norway’s biggest funds tell companies to halt damage of Amazon

Norway’s biggest investors, with combined asset under management of about USD 170bn, are telling companies to make sure they don’t contribute to environmental damage in Brazil’s Amazon as fires roar through the rainforest.

Storebrand ASA and pension fund, KLP, are now reaching out to companies and intensifying their research to map out who’s responsible for any potential damage. Storebrand said that the fires in the Amazon are the latest signs of how critical deforestation has become, where clearing of land for palm oil, cattle, soy and timber are the greatest drivers.

“We have an ambition to exit companies that contribute to deforestation by 2025,” Matthew Smith, head of sustainable investments at Storebrand Asset Management, said in an interview.

The fires raging through Amazon were called an “international crisis” by French President Emmanuel Macron. Norway’s government has also suspended its contributions to a rain forest preservation fund, claiming Brazil hasn’t lived up to its commitments.

Pension fund KLP said in a statement late Monday that its reaching out to companies and calling on other large investors and banks to exert pressure on companies such as Cargill Inc., Bunge Ltd. and Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.

“We have engaged companies which undertake significant trade in agricultural products from Brazil because we want rapid dialogues and concrete actions given this extremely serious situation,” said Jeanett Bergan, head of responsible investment at KLP.

Archer-Daniels-Midland has taken measures to protect the Amazon, including signing the Amazon Soy Moratorium in 2006, putting in place a “strict No Deforestation Policy” and satellite monitoring, according to Jackie Anderson, a spokeswoman.

“We understand the significant role the Amazon plays in our ecosystem worldwide, and we are leveraging our role as a major merchandiser of sustainable crops with a traceable supply chain to help do our part to protect it,” she said in an email on Tuesday.

Cargill and Bunge didn’t immediately have a comment.

In neighboring Sweden, the government is reaching out to its pension funds to ensure their investments aren’t contributing to environmental damage in the Amazon.

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