AXA Investment Management and energy giant Engie have acquired minority stakes in a new French company that plans to scale nature-based solutions within the forestry and agriculture sectors, they announced yesterday.
Dubbed the Shared Wood Company, the new venture aims to develop “sustainable agricultural and forestry practices” across Africa, Latin America and Europe that either suck carbon from the air or prevent carbon being emitted.
Although they did not disclose how much they have invested in the new company, AXA IM and Engie said they would provide financing for forestry and sustainable land-use projects developed, and then acquire the carbon avoidances and removal credits generated by the projects.
The company will benefit from AXA IM Alts’ impact investing and project finance capabilities as well as Engie’s expertise in carbon markets and risk management, the partners said.
Laurent Valiergue, co-founder of the Shared Wood Company, said nature-based solutions would be critical to tackling climate change. “Our planet is overheating,” he said. “We need to pass from 51 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent global greenhouse gas emissions each year to net zero, and the decarbonisation of energy and heavy industry alone won’t suffice. Solutions based on nature are a key lever to reverse the trend and reach the Paris Agreement target and tackle biodiversity and poverty reduction challenges inherent to that mandate.”
The Shared Wood Company (SWC) stressed that all of its nature-based carbon removal and offsetting projects would be certified to guarantee climate, communities and environmental benefits.
Erick Decker, AXA IM’s group head of responsible investment, said forests would play an “essential role” in the fight against climate change. “We are pleased to extend our actions today by joining the Shared Wood Company to accelerate financing into biodiversity restoration and supporting local communities whose livelihoods’ depend on forest ecosystems,” he said.
Laurence Kunes, member of Engie’s executive committee, also welcomed the investment in the venture as an opportunity to access “high-quality nature-based carbon offsets” that it could then use to accelerate its clients’ transition to carbon neutrality.
“By channelling carbon finance to preserve and restore natural ecosystems, we aim to generate significant environmental and societal benefits,” she said.
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