A group of 36 financial institutions, representing over €3.3trn of assets, are urging governments to protect the ocean and not proceed with deep-sea mining.
The Global Financial Institutions Statement to Governments on Deep Seabed Mining, coordinated by the Finance for Biodiversity (FfB) Foundation, wants the practice halted until the environmental, social and economic risks “are comprehensively understood”, and alternatives to deep-sea minerals have been fully explored.
The action, supported by firms such as Federated Hermes, Nordea, Storebrand, Rathbone Greenbank, UBP, WHEB and Tribe Impact Capital, comes ahead of the annual meeting of the International Seabed Authority on 24-28 July 2023, which holds the potential to grant commercial authorisation for deep-sea mining for the first time.
There is a widespread concern in the scientific community regarding deep sea mining and the irreversible impact it could have on delicately balanced and sensitive, deep ocean ecosystems.
Permitting extraction in this uncharted territory would not only destabilise fragile marine ecosystems but also undermine the very foundations of a circular ocean economy.
Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, said: “We must remember that the deep sea is really one of the very few pristine ecosystems remaining, and to just open for exploitation without insight is close to madness.
“There is increasing recognition that biodiversity loss is a true financial risk and something we must consider when we invest in companies”.