Innovation award for ACTIAM's engagement programme against deforestation

28 June 2021 , ACTIAM wins 'ESG Engagement Initiative of the Year' award for its satellite image-based engagement programme in the fight against deforestation.

ACTIAM has won the 'ESG Engagement Initiative of the Year' award for its satellite image-based engagement programme in the fight against deforestation. The engagement programme was set up aimed at addressing climate change and the loss of biodiversity and has been adopted by nine other financial institutions. This coalition combats deforestation within its investments and reduces the associated financial risks.

The award was presented at the Sustainable Investment Awards 2021, an initiative of Environmental Finance, a news and analysis platform.

"We are extremely proud of this recognition," says Dennis van der Putten, Director of Sustainability & Corporate Strategy at ACTIAM. "The loss of biodiversity due to deforestation is one of the greatest risks to society and the economy. Thanks to Satelligence's satellite imagery and the close collaboration with the other financial institutions, which together represent approximately €2 trillion in assets under management, we can call a halt to deforestation. In this way we’ll have an impact on both businesses and the real economy. This award encourages us to keep the topic of biodiversity high on the agenda and to extend the initiative to more companies, regions and other soft commodities."

Nanne Tolsma, Head of Client Relations at Satelligence, states: "ACTIAM is strongly engaged in addressing deforestation and other environmental risks in their portfolio. Satelligence is delighted that ACTIAM’s ground-breaking Satellite-based engagement programme towards no-deforestation is recognized as “ESG engagement initiative of the year”. We are happy to be working alongside ACTIAM providing the insights to realize this programme. We are looking forward to expanding our collaboration over the next year and assisting ACTIAM in taking engagement to the next level."

Deforestation-free supply chains

ACTIAM launched the engagement programme called ‘Satellite-based engagement towards zero deforestation’ in 2020 to support its ambition on land use: no more deforestation by 2030. The collaboration with the group of investors, which in addition to ACTIAM consists of Achmea Investment Management, Aegon Nederland, a.s.r. Asset Management, Aviva Investors, Fidelity International, Nomura Asset Management, Resona Asset Management, Robeco and Zwitserleven, focuses on companies that provide insufficient information about their suppliers and on companies that have been linked to deforestation in the palm oil sector in Malaysia. These cases were uncovered through satellite imagery and artificial intelligence provided by Satelligence. Van der Putten states: “These types of innovative tools allow for improved traceability and supply chain transparency. This is crucial for investors, as this enables them to recognise and mitigate the risks of biodiversity loss from deforestation in their portfolios."

Engagement results

Companies were engaged on their efforts to reduce and mitigate deforestation associated with their palm oil supply chain in Malaysia. Many companies responded and the response was overall positive; the companies were open to dialogue. They all investigated the cases of deforestation that were shared with them through the satellite-detected data. The majority of the companies indicated that they had discovered the instances themselves or had contacted their suppliers to take appropriate measures. Another key insight from the conversations with companies so far, is the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration and recovery to address the systemic challenges of deforestation. This is the only way to counteract the negative effects of climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

Engagement with some of the companies will be followed up in the coming months. We are also exploring - in cooperation with Satelligence - the possibility of tracking and monitoring deforestation associated with companies active in soy production in Brazil.