Global asset management firm AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) announced the launch of its Ecosystem Protection & Deforestation Policy, targeting the environmental and social impact of its investments on deforestation and natural ecosystems conversion, across multiple sectors.

The launch marks an extension of AXA IM’s 2014 Palm Oil policy. Palm oil is a key ingredient for food manufacturers, but sourcing the oil presents significant sustainability challenges for companies, including deforestation and labor rights. AXA IM’s prior policy excluded investment in companies which have failed to achieve ‘sustainable palm oil’ production certificates or faced issues such as unresolved land rights conflicts and illegal logging issues.

The new policy will see AXA IM extend these exclusions to companies in the soy, cattle and timber industries facing significant land use controversies and responsible for biodiversity loss. In addition, under the new policy, AXA IM will actively engage with companies operating in those areas on issues including biodiversity preservation, sustainable practices, and to support them in their transition.

Marco Morelli, Executive Chairman of AXA IM, said:

“Deforestation poses unique economic, environmental, and social challenges, including biodiversity loss, increased greenhouse gas emissions, unsustainable land use and labour issues. Through our investment practices, we have a role to play and are committed to fighting deforestation and natural ecosystem conversion, as well as supporting forest restoration to ensure habitat conservation and to limit global warming. Our new ecosystem protection and deforestation policy aims at encouraging a broader range of companies to adopt sustainable practices and accompany them in their transition.”