Investor group launches campaign to help companies protect nature

A vulture is pictured at a beach covered in trash washed up from the Motagua River in the village of Quetzalito, in Puerto Barrios12

MONTREAL, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Here's the plan: Select 100 companies whose business burdens nature. Then, offer advice on how to lighten their impact and monitor their progress.

Such is the vision of a campaign called "Nature Action 100" launched on Sunday by 11 investment firms hoping to encourage companies to help preserve ecosystems that support more than half the world's economic output.

Protecting supply chains that rely on natural resources is just good business, said Claudia Wearmouth, global head of responsible investment at Columbia Threadneedle Investments.

"The aim of Nature Action 100 is to engage those companies that have the highest impact on nature, not only to protect the natural environment but also to mitigate the risks these companies face from mounting pressure to effectively address biodiversity issues," Wearmouth said in a statement.

The list of 100 companies will be published next year.

Government officials at the U.N. nature summit in Montreal are working to strike a global agreement by Dec. 19 on ways to protect the world's threatened species and dwindling wild spaces.

A draft of the hoped-for final agreement would see companies asked to assess and report any harm to nature from their businesses and investments, which could encompass their supply chains and portfolios.

Such reporting requirements could be a burden for some companies, analysts say.

Nature Action 100 would seek to select 100 companies for investors to focus on in suggesting how the private sector can navigate any new rules and monitoring their progress, the group said.

"The impact that companies have on nature is currently not easy to quantify, and this limits the extent to which investors can engage with them on this key issue," said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which is among the leaders of the new initiative.

The other investment firms behind the plan are AXA Investment Managers, BNP Paribas Asset Management, Church Commissioners for England, Domini Impact Investments, Federated Hermes Limited, Karner Blue Capital, Robeco, Storebrand Asset Management, Christian Brothers Investment Services and Vancity Investment Management.

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