Dear Fund Manager,
Massive deforestation to clear land for palm oil, pulp and paper, soy, rubber, timber and cattle is responsible for almost one quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions, as well as an epidemic of land conflicts and widespread abuses of the rights of indigenous peoples. As an investment firm that holds millions of dollars in shares in the agribusiness companies most responsible for devastating our rainforests, these issues expose you and your clients to a host of material risks.
Environmental and human rights impacts – and climate impacts above all – are increasingly recognized to drive material risks to investment. Awareness of these risks is growing quickly within the financial sector – and now is the time for you to get on board.
Leading responsible investment firms have begun to develop comprehensive policies to address deforestation risk, and I believe Vanguard needs to do the same. It is both a moral and an economic imperative. You have tremendous power – and the world needs you to start using that power responsibly. I urge you to adopt a strong deforestation risk policy across all your portfolios.