Healthy forests are an essential part of the global climate solution. Yet deforestation driven by agricultural commodity production continues to rise, threatening the health of tropical forests from Indonesia to the Amazon, and releasing thousands of tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Would you know if your investments are actively destroying tropical rainforests?
To help answer that question, environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth and shareholder advocate As You Sow have made some big improvements to our Deforestation Free Funds tool.
Now Deforestation Free Funds, a sibling of Fossil Free Funds, gives every investor the ability to see if they are unwittingly investing in deforestation around the world through the production and trading of palm oil, cattle, timber, pulp/paper, soy, and rubber. Taken together, these six commodities drive up to two-thirds of global deforestation.
The intersection of finance and deforestation
Jeff Conant, senior international forests program manager with Friends of the Earth, underscores the importance of knowing where your investments are linked to deforestation:
We cannot solve the climate crisis without addressing the money behind it. Investment firms are pouring tens of billions into the industries driving climate change by decimating forests around the world. Everyone with an IRA or a 401(k) has the power to pressure investment firms to change their practices and stop funding the destruction of our planet and our communities. Deforestation Free Funds unleashes that power for good.
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is among the world’s top investors in the agribusiness companies responsible for destroying our tropical rainforests. The site shows that BlackRock U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have upward of $10 billion invested in the stocks of companies that directly drive deforestation. Even BlackRock’s “sustainable” funds, most based on MSCI indexes, have investments in high deforestation risk agribusiness producers - including companies on the Norwegian Government Pension Fund’s blacklist for severe environmental damage, such as POSCO and Genting.
Friends of the Earth identified deforestation-risk companies by combining data from Forests & Finance, Forest500, CDP Forests, Supply Change.org, ZSL SPOTT, and other sources. Fund investments in financial institutions directly and indirectly involved in underwriting and lending to deforestation-risk producers and traders are also displayed, highlighting investments in banks like JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley that provide financial services to forest risk clients like palm oil plantation companies Felda Group/ FGV Holdings and IOI Group.
Deforestation free, fossil free investing options
Deforestation Free Funds and Fossil Free Funds show you how much money your funds have invested in deforestation and climate change, from big agribusiness conglomerates to oil and gas giants. Together, they’re a powerful set of tool to keep your money from being invested in companies driving the climate crisis.
Get started today at Deforestation Free Funds!