Loss of biodiversity (species, ecosystems, gene pool) poses a threat to people’s lives and livelihoods for society and the economy (e.g. tourism, pharmaceutical industry and agriculture). However, as an investor and an insurer, AXA is dependent on a functioning economy. We therefore see action to preserve biodiversity as a natural extension of our climate protection measures.
AXA has decided to promote the preservation of biodiversity across all sectors. Conservation and animal protection are essential if we are to stabilize ecosystems and protect ourselves from threats such as shortages of raw materials and health risks such as pandemics and infectious diseases. In the following video, Thomas Buberl, CEO of the AXA Group, explains why sustainable use of our natural resources and conservation of endangered animals, plants and forests are so important:
AXA, jointly with the environmental organization WWF, has published recommendations on how investors can address biodiversity loss. We believe preservation of biodiversity can be achieved through new forms of public-private collaboration.
The report “Into the Wild – integrating nature into investment strategies” aims to raise awareness of biodiversity loss and its economic and financial implications. It makes several recommendations, including the creation of a “Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure” to promote the protection and restoration of biodiversity. The report also calls for the creation of biodiversity risk metrics geared to investors.
Biodiversity is already increasingly being integrated into AXA’s approach to sustainable investment through the companies in which we invest. For example, palm oil producers that do not have internationally recognized certification (e.g. RSPO) or that are linked to rain forest destruction have long been on our ESG investment exclusion list. This is because rain forest destruction upsets the balance of the ecosystem and destroys the habitat of species that are often already endangered.
As an insurance company and a major global investor, AXA is actively committed to protecting biodiversity and preserving the natural balance of our planet. The AXA Impact Fund II “Climate & Biodiversity” is one of the global initiatives through which we invest specifically in sustainable biodiversity conservation projects. Alongside numerous other sustainability initiatives, AXA Switzerland has invested USD 15 million in the AXA Impact Fund III. The investment volume of this fund was increased twofold to USD 350 million worldwide.
AXA also supports the new “Finance for Biodiversity” initiative, which was signed by more than 20 financial service providers at the UN General Assembly in September 2020. The participating companies are committed to making a positive contribution to biodiversity through their activities and investments. The aim is to reverse the strong downward trend of biological diversity in this decade.
The AXA Research Fund supports academic research into biodiversity risks. The Fund has published a study, “Biodiversity at Risk,” which highlights the interactions between nature, climate change, economics and security. The goal of this study is to raise public awareness and support informed decision making.