AUM in Action

Varma Scrutinises Portfolio Companies on Biodiversity

More than a quarter (27%) of the 282 listed high-risk sector companies included in Varma’s investment portfolio have set targets for preventing biodiversity loss. The survey, which was conducted by the Finland-based pension insurance firm, noted that a further 51% of assessed companies have expressed their intent to take biodiversity-related action. Yet only 5% of all companies had “a concrete action plan”, Varma said. European companies were found to be more advanced than those operating in North America and Asia. Companies spanning forest industries, construction material manufacturers and electricity producers have come the furthest in their biodiversity work, the asset owner added. Hanna Kaskela, Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Communications at Varma, said: “For now, it is difficult for investors to identify companies that are more advanced in terms of biodiversity loss. Identifying climate change risks linked to extreme weather phenomena is easier and there are already standardised indicators in place for assessing climate change impacts. When we assess biodiversity loss impacts, the issues are more complex. For example, what is the right number of pollinators for a specific area?” The survey informed Varma’s biodiversity roadmap, which was published last year.

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