A group of 36 financial institutions managing over €3.3 trillion in assets has released a joint statement calling on governments to refrain from deep-sea mining until its potential risks are understood.
Coordinated by the Finance for Biodiversity (FfB) Foundation, the Global Financial Institutions Statement to Governments on Deep Seabed Mining warns against the irreversible damage to ocean ecosystems and the circular economy.
The statement precedes the upcoming annual meeting of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), scheduled from July 24-28, 2023, where commercial authorisations for deep-sea mining could be granted for the first time.
Financial institutions also highlighted the lack of knowledge about deep-sea mining's economic viability and outcomes, exposing them to significant policy and reputational risks.
The joint statement disputed the assumption that deep-sea mining is a crucial solution for meeting climate change goals, advocating for increased investment in the circular economy instead.
Deep-sea mining involves extracting minerals from below 200 meters, comprising 95% of Earth's biosphere, with the potential to release carbon into the oceanic carbon cycle, exacerbating environmental consequences.
The International Seabed Authority, governing activities beyond national jurisdictions, will play a decisive role in shaping deep-sea mining's future.
Jan Erik Saugestad, CEO of Storebrand Asset Management, said: "We must remember that the deep sea is 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."
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