Aviva, a British multinational insurance company, have collaborated with Investec Asset Management and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), on a report to understand the threats World Heritage sites face. Together, they uncovered evidence of a new threat – extractive mining. They have launched an investor engagement project calling for a ‘no go’ commitment to preserve the sites.
In October 2015, WWF reported that 31% of natural World Heritage sites are subject to extractive mining, despite protection from the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Furthermore, in Africa these figures have reached alarming levels – 61% of World Heritage sites there are at risk. Should these numbers continue to rise the global economy will not be able to avoid the repercussions as 91% of sites provide employment and 84% contribute to education.
The assessment conducted by Aviva and its partners – “Safeguarding Outstanding National Value”, highlights to investors the risk of getting involved with extractive companies working near the sites, as not only will involvement in such cause irreparable damage to the environment, but it will also leave some of the rarest animals on Earth, such as mountain gorillas, African elephants and snow leopards, without homes.
Creating an Impact
The aim of the assessment is to ensure investors are aware of whether those they are investing in have concessions or operate within the natural sites and to, most importantly, encourage them to engage directly with the extractive companies to encourage them to change their plans and to consider divestment if progress is not made. Thus, creating a wider adoption of ‘no go’ and ‘no impact’ commitments for natural sites.
This story shows how Aviva supports Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, specifically Target 11.4: “Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.”
Aviva is the UK’s largest insurer. They provide around 31 million customers worldwide with insurance, savings and investment products.