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Investors must drive change in pesticide industry for biodiversity conservation

A recent report from ShareAction emphasises the urgent need to reduce agrochemical use to halt and reverse biodiversity loss. The nonprofit organisation calls on the financial sector to reassess its investment practices in pesticide companies as a crucial step towards achieving this goal.

investors must drive change in pesticide industry_Ladybug with on a wheat tip on a agriculture field_visual 1Ladybug with dewdrops on wings on a wheat tip on an agriculture field.

According to the Pesticide Atlas jointly produced by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Friends of the Earth Europe, Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz, and PAN Europe, approximately 4 million tonnes of pesticides are used annually, marking an 80% increase since 1990.

The growing reliance on pesticides has led to a decline in biodiversity worldwide. The ShareAction report states that over 40% of all insect species are now facing extinction. Farmland bird populations in Europe have reached historically low numbers, and freshwater ecosystems globally suffer from contamination and the persistent effects of pesticide residues.

Read more: Assessing the biodiversity footprint: Finnish scientists develop pilot toolkit

ShareAction, an organisation that mobilises investors to address pressing environmental concerns, stresses the pivotal role the financial sector must play in reducing pesticide use. Eve Gleeson, Research Manager for Biodiversity at ShareAction and author of the report, highlights that just six companies—BASF, Bayer, Corteva, FMC Corporation, Syngenta, and UPL—account for 70% of global pesticide sales: ‘These companies have thousands of shareholders, while dozens of banks provide them with debt through loans. As the owners and financiers of the industry’s largest players, investors can and must push these companies to address their impacts on biodiversity.’

The report outlines several actionable steps that investors can take to protect the environment. These include developing or expanding assessment practices to understand how their investment strategies influence biodiversity. Investors can also proactively engage with policymakers to advocate for enhanced pesticide regulations and establish closer relationships with pesticide companies in their portfolios to effectively monitor their practices and progress.

Read more: Investing for the good: How socially responsible investing is driving economic sustainability

Eve Gleeson further emphasises that, ‘By highlighting how pesticide use is driving biodiversity loss, and the role finance plays in enabling the pesticides industry, we hope that financial institutions will be mobilised to start demanding change from the companies they invest in.’

The ShareAction report underlines the importance of the financial sector's involvement in combating biodiversity loss. Investors have the opportunity to make a significant impact by taking concrete measures and driving positive change within the pesticide industry.

The increasing focus on biodiversity conservation demonstrates its significance for global sustainability. DGB Group is a dedicated proponent of nature-based solutions. We prioritise biodiversity in our reforestation, afforestation, and land restoration projects. Our primary objective is to make a substantial positive contribution to the environment while empowering local communities through sustainable development. By providing diverse carbon and biodiversity solutions, DGB enables businesses, investors, and individuals to actively engage in preserving nature. Together, we can forge a brighter future for our planet through the transformative power of nature-based solutions.

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