AXA announces today new commitments to preserve biodiversity by implementing a plan to fight against the deterioration of forest ecosystems. Deforestation is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss and carbon emissions. It even represents a double loss for the climate because forests are the greatest contributors to carbon capture.
To protect these ecosystems, AXA will invest 1.5 billion euros to support sustainable forest management, including 500 million euros in reforestation projects in emerging countries, enabling a total of 25 megatons of CO2 to be captured each year. Currently, with more than 60,000 hectares of forests in its portfolio, managed on behalf of the AXA Group, all of which are certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification or the Forest Stewardship Council, AXA IM is an active player in sustainable forest management.
AXA will also strengthen its investment and insurance requirements in activities 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.
Furthermore, AXA is joining the World Heritage Sites initiative, launched by the United Nations Principles for Sustainable Insurance and WWF (1), and will implement specific exclusions on its insurance activities to protect the main biodiversity reserves identified by UNESCO. Half of these sites, spread over 110 countries, are recognized as biodiversity hotspots, and play a key role in natural disaster prevention.
Forests represent 80% of the Earth's biodiversity and play an essential role in the fight against climate change. AXA has been a pioneer in the financial industry by adopting, in 2013, restrictions on unsustainable palm oil operations to protect stressed ecosystems. In the face of the climate emergency, and prior to the COP26, we are proud to extend our commitments and announce new measures to fight deforestation, protect forest ecosystems, and preserve biodiversity
Lastly, AXA will continue its ongoing commitment to biodiversity conservation through its work as a founding member of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures. This initiative will play a key role in developing a reporting framework that will enable financial institutions to identify and analyze economic activities that have a direct and indirect material impact on biodiversity.