Forests as a System
The Forest Project is the cornerstone of Domini’s system-level approach to investing, which emphasizes the interconnections between environmental, social, and financial systems. That’s why our approach covers more than forests. It encompasses sustainable agriculture, land conversation, and Indigenous rights too.
Respecting Forests and Nature
Forests are an essential part of a larger, interconnected system. They safeguard biodiversity and protect our climate. They help sustain Indigenous communities around the world and provide valuable economic resources. Yet, society and businesses continue to destroy or convert forests at an alarming rate, creating substantial systemic threats. These threats are interconnected, but at Domini we know that the solutions are interconnected as well.
The Roots of Forest Value
In 2018, Domini launched a “system-level” approach to investing that centers on forests. We selected forests because they are, in many ways, relatively specific and definable. And while forests are systemically important, investors were paying less attention to them than what is warranted—especially given their critical relationship to climate change.
These documents help shape and guide this multi-year project.
Investment Beliefs and Principles.
These two documents acknowledge Domini’s beliefs on the overall role of systemic risks in investment and define our commitment to manage the role of forest-related challenges.
Process and Initiatives Highlights.
This document provides a high-level historical overview and inventory of the process steps Domini has taken to implement the Forest Project. Highlights for each step are listed chronologically. We have pursued these steps simultaneously in an effort to take a comprehensive approach to the implementation of the program.
Process and Initiatives Details.
This document provides context and results related to the process steps taken in the Forest Project. It sets our initiatives in the context of past steps taken and future directions planned, and comments on lessons learned as we proceeded down these paths.
This document provides an overview of our justification for focusing on forests and related lands as a systemic challenge in our investment processes. To make a commitment to forests and related lands as a systemic risk we believe it is necessary to establish that the issue is 1) widely accepted as a major systemic risk; 2) relevant to the management of our portfolios; 3) one that we have the internal resources to exercise effective influence on; and 4) involves irreducible uncertainties with which traditional portfolio management techniques cannot adequately contend.
System Dynamics Maps
These graphics provide simple illustrations of two contrasting system dynamics in which forests and related lands can either play a positive or negative role.
Definitions and Goals
This document provides Domini’s working definitions of the types of forest-related lands, including those for agricultural purposes. This interrelated complex of lands defines the system on which the Forest Project focuses. These definitions in turn allow us to formulate our goals for each type of forest land and to identify best practices for investors as they seek to make progress toward those goals.
Themes and Leverage Points
This document provides a summary of seven themes that Domini believes are at the heart of the current systemic risks for forests and related lands—risks that can impact investors across their asset classes. Each of these themes centers around a challenge requiring a change in investors’ mindsets that is necessary for current forest-related systems to generate more desirable outcomes. In seeking to manage these risks, we have identified leverage points within the system that we believe can facilitate changes in thinking and have set aspirational goals for steps that investors might take to exercise influence at these leverage points.
Forest Engagement Overview
Healthy forests play a key role in our global ecosystem, climate stability, biodiversity, human health, and the rights and dignity of Indigenous Peoples. Despite their global importance, forests are facing increasing threats through deforestation for key agricultural commodities (e.g. palm, soy, paper, pulp, cattle), mining and oil and gas exploration and production, and forest fires, among other things. Since 2018, Domini has had a Forest Project focused on strategic priorities for addressing deforestation and most recently the related challenges of agricultural land use and biodiversity loss.
- Forest Highlight: Paper, Made SustainablyLooking forward, International Paper has aligned itself with broader global sustainability goals. Its 2030 targets include sourcing 100% of fiber from sustainably managed forests or recovered fiber sources.
- Forest Highlight: Leading on Forest StewardshipSvenska Cellulosa, a Swedish company, is one of the world’s largest suppliers of certified forest products. It ensures everything it sells—from pulp to paper—is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
- A Look Into Our Toolbox:
Forest Stewardship Council CertificationIn our latest Impact Update, we took a close look at one of our most valuable tools for corporate sustainability research related to respecting and protecting forests: the Forest Stewardship Council’s certifications.