Finnfund first development financier to report carbon net-negative investment portfolio

The figures for 2019 indicate that Finnfund’s investments removed 134,679 tCO2e more than they emitted...

Finnish development financier and impact investor Finnfund today released data showing that its total investment portfolio has a net negative carbon balance. In 2019, Finnfund’s investment portfolio was EUR 617 million.

“I am extremely proud that we have been able to build an investment portfolio which, on the one hand, is carbon net negative, and on the other yields positive development impacts and financial returns. This shows that our long-term commitment to sustainable forestry investments is working: our investments remove more carbon from the atmosphere that they emit. We are committed to keeping it that way,” said Finnfund Managing Director, CEO Jaakko Kangasniemi.

Sustainable forestry has long been one of Finnfund’s key sectors. At the end of 2019, its investments in forestry (portfolio and commitments) were worth 147 million euros, which represented 19% of the total portfolio. This is higher than any other development finance institution. Most of this area is covered by the FSC’s® (Forest Stewardship Council) certification.

Finnfund’s investments in forestry and agroforestry removed 240,431 tCO2eq from the atmosphere. Over three-quarters (83%) of these carbon sinks are in Africa.

“We believe we are the first development financier to report a net-negative investment portfolio and I don’t think there are many investment companies overall who have done so, with perhaps the exception of some forestry funds. But in this case, I would be delighted if someone proves me wrong,” Kangasniemi said.

Accounting is based on GHG Protocol and Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials

Finnfund assesses the climate effects of every investment before the investment decision as well as annually during the investment period. All new investments are in line with the Paris Agreement. As a development financier and impact investor, it invests to accelerate progress toward all Sustainable Development Goals.

The accounting is based on GHG Protocol and Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) and takes into account the direct and indirect emissions of production and purchased services of each investee company (scope 1 and 2, as well as 3 upstream) but not the post-production use (scope 3 downstream). The impacts are attributed to Finnfund in proportion to its financing share. Only the impacts of the investments currently in the portfolio are included. If, for instance, the financing share in a forestry company that removes carbon from atmosphere declined, Its reported carbon removals would decline as well, even if the company would continue removing carbon as before.

Finnfund does not recognise the compensation or carbon offsets as part of its portfolio emissions or removals. It follows the principles of absolute accounting and only accounts the absolute climate effects. Finnfund has started to collect the information of carbon offsets bought or sold to increase the transparency of the reporting.

This carbon accounting stems from a desire to better understand the climate impacts of all its investments. Finnfund is currently preparing new Climate and Energy Statement which will be launched later this year.

Climate effects of Finnfund’s investment portfolio in 2019:

  • Carbon footprint / emissions: 105,752 tons CO2eq, equivalent to 208 tons CO2eq per EUR one million invested in Finnfund’s portfolio.
  • Carbon sink: -240,431 tons CO2eq, equivalent to -473 tons CO2eq per EUR one million invested in Finnfund’s portfolio.
  • Net emissions: -134,679 tons CO2eq
  • Avoided emissions: 65,224 tCO2eq, equivalent to 128 tons CO2eq per EUR one million invested in Finnfund’s portfolio.

Further information