Investor drive to halt deforestation must move faster -IPDD report

An aerial view of the Cikole protected forest near Bandung, Indonesia November 6, 2018. Antara Foto/Raisan Al Farisi via REUTERS

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Progress in combating deforestation remains "unacceptably slow" but governments in Brazil and Indonesia are increasingly engaging with investors about how to halt forest loss, an investor group set up to stop deforestation said on Wednesday.

The Investor Policy Dialogue on Deforestation (IPDD), whose members manage $10 trillion in assets, was established in 2020 to show governments that investors see deforestation as a systemic risk that can impact the creditworthiness of a country or investment.

In its first progress report, published as countries this week gather for a key U.N. nature conference in Montreal, the IPDD said agriculture, forestry and land use accounts for 22% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with half of those emissions caused by land use change and tropical deforestation and degradation in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia.

Successes the IPDD has pushed for include enforcement of Brazil's Forest Code, the prevention of fires and public access to data.

In Indonesia, the group said it had made significant progress in speaking with government authorities and financial market regulators about deforestation and about growing carbon markets.

Still, it noted that while in Indonesia deforestation rates have been dropping sharply since 2017, in Brazil they had been accelerating since 2019.

"While we believe we have made advances across these different workstreams, we are painfully aware that progress remains unacceptably slow, and not commensurate with the urgency and scale of the challenge," IPDD co-chairs Jan-Erik Saugestad, the CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, and Graham Stock, partner at RBC BlueBay Asset Management, said in the report.

The IPDD in June launched an initiative to work with countries that consume products from regions with high rates of deforestation, and this will examine ways to help curb commodity-driven deforestation.

The group noted that the ultimate proof of its impact would be in reducing deforestation. It called on participants at the two-week U.N. COP15 summit to commit to halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

Reporting by Tommy Reggiori Wilkes; editing by Jason Neely

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