France's Axa to invest 1. 5 billion euros to fight deforestation

France's Axa to invest 1. 5 billion euros to fight deforestation

Paris, Oct 14 : Reuters - The French insurer Axa said on Thursday that it will invest 1.5 billion euros $1.74 billion to support sustainable forest management as part of new commitments to fight deforestation and preserve biodiversity.

The announcement comes a day after more than 100 countries called for urgent action on biodiversity with the 'Kunming Declaration' in China.

Axa said its investment plan includes 500 million euros for emerging countries in reforestation projects.

Deforestation is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss and carbon emissions, said insurers in a statement.

It also represents a double loss for the climate, because forests are the greatest contributors to carbon capture, it added.

China's Environment Minister Huang Runqiu said on Wednesday that representatives from more than 100 countries adopted the Kunming Declaration to create momentum for a new global biodiversity pact.

Huang informed the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Kunming that the main purpose of the Declaration was to reflect the political will of all parties and send a strong message to the international community about our strong determination and consensus in the field of biodiversity. Axa also announced it would strengthen its investment and insurance requirements in businesses that actively contribute to deforestation

This will concern certain soy, palm oil, timber and cattle production in regions where these industries strongly contribute to deforestation, Axa said.

Axa Investment Managers, Axa's asset management unit, said in June that it had expanded its palm oil investment strategy to exclude companies involved in major land use controversies or in causing biodiversity loss due to soy, cattle and timber.