Biodiversity and nature are essential for society, businesses and people, but they are under enormous pressure as more and more species become extinct and ecosystems and forests are destroyed. This must change, otherwise the negative impact on society and our economy will be huge, threatening living standards and increasing poverty. For this reason, we want to lead the way by helping companies to become better at protecting and restoring biodiversity, and by doing so we will also contribute to protecting the value of our customers’ pension investments.
As a first step, we will towards 2025 engage in focused dialogues with 30 large global companies that have significant impact on ocean or forest areas and that simultaneously rely on these natural resources to run their businesses. Our ambitions include helping these companies to start setting targets for how to reduce their negative impact on biodiversity, encouraging the companies to adopt biodiversity policies, and providing the companies with greater insights into how they should manage the biodiversity issues that are important to their businesses.
“Society is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, and we don’t have the time to wait for global agreements or better data to resolve it. We expect companies to contribute towards creating a balance in nature and to be more transparent about their impact on the natural environment and how they depend on biodiversity. This is a complex area still in its infancy, but we’re keen to help and encourage companies to do much more in relation to biodiversity so that we can protect our customers’ investments and our natural environments,” says Søren Lockwood, CEO Danica Pension, who adds:
“We need more information about how companies address biodiversity so that we can use this as a springboard to help them start setting goals and initiate measures aimed at reducing their negative impacts on the oceans and forests. Companies need to rethink how they use nature’s resources because running a business without the resources of the natural environment is simply not possible. Being better at protecting nature is vital for all companies – not only can this secure the long-term viability of a company, but it also protects the value of our investments and slows the loss of biodiversity.”
Oceans and forests are our first focus areas because these represent natural habitats for much of the world’s plant and animal life, and they are essential for biodiversity. Our 30 targeted companies are spread broadly across the energy, finance, food, clothing, transportation and pharmaceutical sectors. We will talk with each company about the initiatives they can begin working with in the short and long term, depending on how far each company has already progressed in the area and on the knowledge and data available.
This could mean companies initiating or improving their reporting on the impact that their activities have on ocean or forest areas and improving how the companies manage and protect the natural resources that they rely on to produce and deliver their goods or services. It could also result in companies setting their first targets for their biodiversity efforts and undertaking new initiatives or strengthening existing measures to restore ocean and forest areas that their activities have an impact on and on which they rely. We will regularly follow up on these initiatives to ensure progress is being made and to the companies’ their work with biodiversity.
Part of our green focus
This initiative is an extension of our ambition to invest in line with the Paris Agreement and to pursue a net-zero investment policy. Biodiversity loss is inextricably linked with climate change because plants, ecosystems and wildlife are essential to curbing global warming: forests, plankton, seaweed, coral reefs and sea grasses are all responsible for absorbing a large share of the world’s carbon emissions.
“The only feasible approach is to tackle the climate and biodiversity challenges simultaneously, otherwise slowing climate change will be difficult. Deforestation and the destruction of the world’s marine environments must stop – and just as we currently support the green transition, we will now increasingly put our pension funds to work to protect biodiversity and provide added momentum to the sustainability transition,” says Søren Lockwood.
Deforestation and the destruction of the world’s marine environments must stop – and just as we currently support the green transition, we will now increasingly put our pension funds to work to protect biodiversity and provide added momentum to the sustainability transition.
- Søren Lockwood, CEO, Danica Pension
Bringing natural environments into our urban spaces
We are also redefining our property investments so that in future a biodiversity strategy, undertaken in collaboration with landscape architects or biologists, must be developed for each new property project in Denmark. We will also set biodiversity-related requirements for construction materials and ‘activate’ the outdoor areas of our existing properties in Denmark to create better living conditions for plant and animal life.
“Urban spaces need to make room for nature because this will help offset climate change, improve quality of life and provide the conditions for greater biodiversity. Our ambition is to create small natural oases and ensure that our real estate projects promote ecosystems that have a diversity of animals and insects. We also believe this will make our properties more attractive and produce a return for our customers,” says Søren Lockwood.
The process is already under way in our Postbyen project in Copenhagen, where herbaceous borders, plants and trees will improve living conditions for insects, bees and birds. At Tuborg Strandeng in Hellerup, north of Copenhagen, we are transforming a former factory site into a two-hectare natural area where wild-growing vegetation will provide optimal conditions for insects, beetles and birds.
As the theme of biodiversity develops, we will further increase our ambitions and tighten the biodiversity-related requirements we set for our investments and real estate projects. Increased collaboration with others working in this field, support for new legislation, and dialogue with policymakers are other focus areas, and by working with these areas we can ensure that more companies seriously address biodiversity and bring natural environments into our urban spaces.