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Why investors should fear the rapid decline in bee populations

La moria delle api è anche un problema finanziario che potrebbe colpire a cascata i profitti di innumerevoli industrie e, quindi, i loro investitori.

Pollinators’ decline in Europe and Northern America is posing a threat to agriculture and the food industry in general. Just a few, however, know that this phenomenon could lead to severe consequences for investors, too. This is what an analysis conducted by the United Nations-supported Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) has shown. The report comes just a few days after France’s decision of banning – as of 2018 – neonicotinoids, a kind of pesticides that have harmful effects on pollinators.

Le aziende dovrebbero iniziare a calcolare il rischio monetario dovuto alla moria delle api. Foto © Ingimage
Companies should start assessing the monetary risk linked to pollinators’ decline © Ingimage

The economic value of pollinators

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that bees’ amazing work contributes to producing food products that account for 20 billion dollars in annual US agricultural production. Globally, figures increase to 217 billion dollars a year. About 75 per cent of the world’s crops, in fact, depend at least in part on pollination. By result, pollinators’ decline would have a knock-on effect across the entire supply chain, from fields to supermarkets. Those who invest in the food and beverage industry shouldn’t overlook the importance of this. For example, California is forced to transport honey bees across the country to pollinate its almond crops, for an estimated cost of 150 dollars a hive, for a total of 1.5 million bee hives.

Agriculture is not the only sector involved though. Bees pollinate also crops used for animal feed, thus affecting livestock farming, and cotton cultivations providing the textile industry. Not to mention agrochemical giants. Syngenta declared that a ban on neonicotinoids would lead to a drop in sales of 75 million dollars, about 6.5 per cent of the total on a global scale.

Gli insetti impollinano anche il cotone: dunque la loro scomparsa ha un impatto anche sull'industria tessile.
Bees pollinate also cotton, which means that their decline also affects the textile industry © Ingimage

The risks company face due to pollinators’ decline

Investors do have the right to know if companies they’re investing their money in are more or less vulnerable to the economic consequences of pollinators’ decline. However, this is not taking place. Over the past few months, measures to save pollinators have been put in place, but companies still seem reluctant to consider decline as a monetary risk.

Some shareholders are starting raising their voice. For example, PepsiCo shareholders are petitioning the company to assess the financial risks due to the decline of pollinators across its supply chains and, on the other hand, to report on its strategy to reduce high-risk pesticides. According to the UN PRI, if other responsible investors follow suit, companies and policy makers will be encouraged to do better.

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