Norwegian asset manager Storebrand toughens stance on biodiversity

Larches stand in the snow near the village of Seefeld, Austria, November 14, 2019 REUTERS/Angelika Warmuth/File Photo
  • To exclude miners that ditch waste in rivers
  • Will expand companies targeted over deforestation
  • CEO calls on governments to do more at COP15 talks

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Norway's Storebrand Asset Management (STB.OL) said on Thursday it had toughened up its biodiversity policy, adopting stricter rules for investing in sectors including mining and energy, and called on governments to do more to help.

The move comes ahead of the COP15 global talks on biodiversity, starting in Montreal on Dec. 7, at which countries are seeking to strike a deal to halt and reverse damage to the natural environment.

"The investment industry cannot solve the biodiversity crisis by itself. To succeed we need collaboration with governments, corporates and finance," Chief Executive Jan Erik Saugestad said in a statement.

"We need better regulations on all levels and better reporting. There are few regulatory incentives for companies to curb practices that are harmful to nature. I would like to see governments step up when they meet in Montreal."

Starting immediately, Storebrand said it would no longer invest in companies that dispose of mining waste in the sea or rivers; those involved with deep sea mining; and those which earn more than 5% of revenues from drilling in the Arctic.

Going forward, the company would also expand its existing deforestation commitment to cover that linked to cocoa, rubber, coffee and mining. It currently focuses on palm oil, soy, cattle products and timber.

Companies involved in the additional areas were currently being assessed for targeted talks and possible exclusion, as part of efforts to eliminate commodity-driven deforestation from its portfolios by 2025, the company said.

In addition, companies that lobby against rules promoting sustainable use of nature could also face exclusion, it said.

Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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