Investa evolves ESG strategy to reset to nature positive
Investa has extended its ESG ambition to not only achieve but go beyond net zero and is now setting its sights on nature positive.
Investa will transform nature through a strategic partnership with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) on ‘Operation Crayweed’ – one of the first nature positive initiatives from an Australian real estate business.
In collaboration with a project team that is part of SIMS, ‘Operation Crayweed’ involves protecting and restoring crayweed, a marine forest-forming kelp that contributes to covering a significant extent of New South Wales’ shallow, rocky coastline and plays a vital role in marine biodiversity.
Professor Adriana Vergés, from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales and SIMS, said: “A key benefit of this partnership with Investa is the ability to fund a new section of coastline, along with educating employees on the benefits of crayweed restoration and its associated community, increasing crayfish, abalone and other fish and invertebrates populations at restored sites.”
Crayweed disappeared from Sydney’s coastline in the late 1970’s/early 1980s. The universities have developed a successful method of restoring crayweed onto deforested reefs by transplanting adults onto underwater mats. The crayweed adults reproduce and their babies, or ‘cray-bies’ attach to the reef and form the basis of a new, self-sustaining population. To date, Operation Crayweed has been one of the most successful kelp restoration programs in Australia.
Commenting on the initiative, Investa’s Chief Operating Officer of Real Estate, Sally Franklin said: “'Operation Crayweed’ gives Investa early-mover advantage as the shift to nature positive gains pace.
“There is significant under-investment in the blue economy, especially the Great Southern Reef, which is largely ignored yet contributes greater ecological and biological importance than the Great Barrier Reef, so we jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with SIMS on ‘Operation Crayweed’.”
Ziggy Marzinelli, Associate Professor in Marine Ecology and Microbiology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences at The University of Sydney and SIMS, said: “The research project integrates experimental ecology, population genetics, microbiology and restoration ecology to establish protocols for the restoration of this key habitat-forming seaweed and the ecosystem it supports.”
Margot Black, Investa’s General Manager of Corporate Sustainability added: “A key benefit of our involvement in the project is learning how we report and benchmark nature positive initiatives in advance of the release of the final version of the biodiversity financial disclosures framework by the Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) in September of this year.”
According to The Australian Institute of Marine Science, by 2025 Australia’s marine industries will contribute around $100 billion each year to our economy, with our oceans and coasts providing a further $25 billion worth of ecosystem services such as carbon dioxide absorption, nutrient cycling and coastal protection.
Through investing in Operation Crayweed, Investa will join the Kelp Forest Challenge, a global goal to restore one million hectares and protect three million hectares of kelp forest habitat by 2040.
“In time, we hope to see a marine biodiversity market that enables more businesses to invest in nature positive initiatives and have robust disclosure frameworks tracking investment performance and outcomes,” Sally Franklin said.