Monday 28 september 2020
In an Investor Statement published today by IUCN NL and the Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO), 16 international institutional investors call for sustainability in the mining sector. The Statement specifically draws attention to improving water management with the underlying goal of preserving biodiversity.
Header photo: Erwin Mascarinas, NTFP-EP Philippines / IUCN NL
The initiators include Actiam, Aegon, NN IP and Robeco. The Statement also calls on other parties in the financial sector to join the initiative and enter into discussions with mining companies to reduce their impact on water and biodiversity.
The mining sector provides many materials that are considered essential to today’s society. Yet the extraction of these raw materials is paired with large-scale loss of nature. The demand for metals and mineral resources is growing, partly fueled by the global energy transition.
Reduce negative impact
To reduce the negative impact of the mining sector on biodiversity, IUCN NL and VBDO have jointly approached investors, so that they can use their influence to make the sector more sustainable.
‘By talking to investors about the risks caused by the mining sector, not only for people and nature, but also for the financial institutions themselves, we were able to encourage these parties to take action,’ says Romie Goedicke, senior expert green economy at IUCN NL. With today’s statement, investors commit to addressing mining companies in their portfolios about practices that negatively impact available water quality and quantity.
Influence as shareholders
19 investors have now joined the initiative and signed the Investor Statement. They will use their influence as shareholders in the discussions they have with the mining industry. The purpose of these discussions is to ensure that the companies involved actualize a significant improvement in their policy and its implementation.
Goedicke: ‘In recent years, we have worked with VBDO to increase awareness in the financial sector about the physical and reputational risks of mining companies. This statement is a very important step because it allows us to pass this task on to investors: they are taking over our role as critical supervisor. We hope to strengthen their work, for example by linking this to the work of our local partners in the effective implementation of policy.’
Because not only investors, but also civil society organisations often play an important role in having discussions with mining companies, because they – in many cases even better than investors – have insight into local abuses.
That’s why VBDO released three engagement guides, commissioned by IUCN NL, that are intended as a tool for investors and civil society organisations to enter into a dialogue with the mining sector on the themes of water management, biodiversity and landscape restoration.