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SEB IM meets Brazilian Government on Amazonas deforestation

On July 9, SEB Investment Management, alongside other international institutional investors, was invited to a meeting with the Government and Central Bank of Brazil.

“We wanted to discuss the crucial role that tropical forests play in tackling climate change, protecting biodiversity and ensuring ecosystem services”, says Javiera Ragnartz, CEO of SEB Investment Management. “We will continue to monitor developments in Brazil to assess our exposure to financial risks arising from deforestation”.

The meeting took place after a letter was sent out from 34 international investors to the Brazilian embassies on June 22, 2020 marking the start of the dialogue with the government of Brazil.

“We are used to sustainability dialogues with the companies in which our funds hold stocks and bonds. We very much appreciated the opportunity to talk to the government and central bank about an issue that is very important to our customers and other stakeholders”, says Elisabet Jamal Bergström, Head of Sustainability and Governance at SEB IM.

As an asset manager, SEB Investment Management has a fiduciary duty to act in the best long-term interests of our beneficiaries. The purpose with the meeting was to understand the position of the government of Brazil on the protection of the country’s natural capital, in particular its tropical forests. Specific issues were raised in the meeting which will be important for SEB Investment Management’s assessment of developments going forward, among them a significant reduction in deforestation rates, the prevention of fires in or near forest areas, in order to avoid a repetition of fires like in 2019 and public access to data on deforestation, forest cover, tenure and traceability of commodity supply chains.

“It is very encouraging that the initial letter to the embassies got so much attention”, says Robert Vicsai, Senior Sustainability Specialist at SEB IM. “It gave us a unique opportunity to talk to the Vice President and several ministers of the Brazilian government, as well as the governor of the Central Bank. Now we need to continue the discussions on a more technical level but fundamentally, I think we agree on the fact that long term sustainable development depends on a common view on transparency, progress and success on the issues that we raised in the meeting”.