New guide to commodity investments

WWF HAS unveiled a groundbreaking new guide to responsible investing in 10 major commodities sectors.


The 2050 Criteria: Guide to Responsible Investment in Agricultural, Forest, and Seafood Commodities comes amid accelerating global interest, and controversy, around the financing of food and agricultural commodities. The 2050 Criteria is designed as a field guide for mainstream investors, in particular banks, investors, and financial analysts, to help navigate this complexity and identify responsible companies and projects in the agricultural, forest and seafood industries.


Most significantly, The 2050 Criteria provides “Key Performance Criteria” for identifying responsible practice, helping to mitigate the primary sources of environmental and social risk for investors in these sectors.  The 2050 Criteria “connects environmental science with the sustainability practices and policies of leading firms in each sector, resulting in both credible and practical recommendations.”


“Increasing population and prosperity is driving increased demand for soft commodities to meet society’s needs and wants” says Richard Perkins, Senior Commodities Adviser at WWF-UK. “Yet at the same time that allocation targets are rising, investors are awakening to a quagmire of material, reputational, and systemic risks.  There is a clear need to untangle some of this complexity and provide clear and credible guidance for identifying responsible mainstream performers.”


“Current land, energy, water, and weather constraints are placing unprecedented pressure on humankind’s ability to access its most basic goods—food, fuel, and fibre. These shocks are already posing severe challenges for industry, investors, and society.  The financial sector has an important part to play in ensuring that soft commodity production conserves the environmental resources on which society’s well-being depends and results in fair outcomes. There is no choice but to do so sustainably.”


The 2050 Criteria addresses 10 global commodity sectors that are in high demand, yet also generate some of the world’s most severe impacts on biodiversity, water, and the climate. These industries include: aquaculture; beef; cotton; dairy; palm oil; soy; sugar; timber, pulp, and paper; wild-caught seafood; and bioenergy.


By adopting the guidance in The 2050 Criteria, financiers will be able to:


  • Manage critical business and reputational risks
  • Reduce transaction costs and simplify decision making by aligning investment criteria with leading industry practice
  • Contribute to improved risk adjusted returns
  • Shape responsible practices on the ground in these high-impact sectors


The 2050 Criteria was launched at the Global AgInvesting Asia conference in Singapore. The conference brought together hundreds of allocators, fund managers, and industry executives to discuss the burgeoning asset class of agriculture and its surrounding themes.