Ethical Partners signs onto business community statement on ecocide law

March 27, 2024
ESG Insights

Recognising the wide-ranging and systemic consequences of nature loss and degradation, Ethical Partners is firmly committed to addressing natural capital risk, opportunities, and impacts in our investment activities. Over the past years, we have increasingly engaged with portfolio companies on material nature-related matters including, water use, deforestation, and pollution. In addition, Ethical Partners has participated in active advocacy on natural capital including writing to the Australian Treasurer encouraging increased policy attention to aligning financial flows with the Global Biodiversity Framework and providing feedback on the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). Most recently, Ethical Partners committed to become an early adopter of the TNFD.  

In line with our commitments and previous actions, we are therefore pleased to join other members of the global business community to call for ecocide to be recognised as an international crime under the Rome Statue. We believe that the recognition of ecocide in international law will level the playing field for all businesses globally and is imperative to preventing highly destructive activities from damaging the natural environmental systems that support life and the economy.

Ecocide is defined as “the unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment caused by those acts.”  The term and its proposal to be included in the Rome Statute, the international agreement governing the most serious criminal law, has been developed by an expert panel of international lawyers. The objective of including ecocide in international criminal law is to dissuade and stop egregious cases of environmental destruction by encouraging corporate and state decisionmakers to carefully consider the potential environmental impacts of business activities.  

Our move to support the adoption of ecocide as law comes at a critical moment. In February this year, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr Karim A.A Khan KC, announced his office would commence consultation and development of a policy paper on environmental crimes, specifically what environmental crimes should be included under the Rome Statute.  

We will seek and look forward to future opportunities to engage policymakers on ecocide law and improved nature laws more broadly. In the meantime, Ethical Partners looks forward to continuing to engage with portfolio companies on their nature-related risks and opportunities and encouraging improvements in environmental performance.  

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