Asset manager ACTIAM employs satellite data to combat deforestation

Next step towards sustainable investing

Asset manager ACTIAM has started a collaboration with Satelligence. By combining satellite images and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Satelligence will provide ACTIAM with up-to-date information on worldwide deforestation, causes and trends. The cooperation enables ACTIAM to incorporate advanced sustainability information into its investment policies and portfolio management, helping to fight global deforestation.

Focus investment policy: stop deforestation
ACTIAM focuses on three key issues in its investment policy: climate, water and land. The asset manager has set the objective for its investment portfolio to not contribute to deforestation by 2030. ACTIAM explicitly commits itself to the realization of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Deforestation strongly contributes to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and thus climate change. It is absolutely necessary for asset managers to show more transparency and stimulate a more straightforward investment policy when it comes to deforestation through intensive dialogue with companies being invested in.

Dennis van der Putten, Director Sustainability & Corporate Strategy at ACTIAM: “Combatting deforestation is important to risk management within the investment portfolio and realizing financial and social returns. The availability of data in these domains however, is still at a preliminary stage. With its global scope, Satelligence allows us to make better informed investment decisions, be accountable towards our customers and achieve our targets. ACTIAM envisions a fiduciary responsibility for the financial sector to lead the transition towards a sustainable society. Technology is the most important catalyst for change in the sector.”

Artificial Intelligence and deforestation
Satelligence data analytics allow ACTIAM to detect and quantify changes in vegetation cover, caused by plantation expansion or fires in forests, swamps and other natural areas. This detection is based on radar- and optical satellite imagery in combination with Artificial Intelligence.

Niels Wielaard, Managing Director of Satelligence: “The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and others recently indicated that deforestation and other climate-related risks are a major source of financial risk. We help financial institutions identify such risks as deforestation, loss of biodiversity and water scarcity, and, where possible, to mitigate them. Through our collaboration with ACTIAM, we can together demonstrate how measurable progress can be reported and how the financial sector can make a tangible impact visible.”

ACTIAM – with over 100 employees – manages € 60.5 billion (June 2019) in assets for insurers, pension funds, banks and intermediaries. ACTIAM offers a complete range of investment funds and solutions and, having launched the first institutional fund in microfinance in 2007, is a pioneer in the area of impact investing. ACTIAM sets strict requirements on its investments and follows a robust and careful selection process, without making concessions in its financial returns, making ACTIAM ‘Responsible for Growth’.

Sacha De Graaf