Mark Campanale and Matt McLuckie on the hidden risks in the food and ag system any investor should know

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An interesting conversation with Mark Campanale and Matt McLuckie of Planet Tracker, a non-profit financial think tank focused on planetary limits and financial markets e.g. fisheries, water and textiles.

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Planet Tracker’s focus is on global industry sectors defined by significant investment flows and revenues in the context of the planetary boundaries that are most threatened. This includes regional and global industry sectors such as agri-business, plastics and textiles.

As natural capital declines, Planet Tracker is working with capital markets to measure the extent to which macroeconomic health, also referred to as sovereign health, depends on the sustainable management of natural capital.

Through the lens of agriculture, Planet Tracker is assessing how declines in natural capital create increased credit risks for sovereign investors. In agriculture-based economies, declines in natural capital can decrease production, impacting industry revenue, tax contributions, employment and soft commodity exports, resulting in falling treasury receipts including of foreign currency.

Sovereign Bonds Programme

Carbon Tracker 
www.carbontracker.org

Seafood Tracker Initiative

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TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

companies, capital markets, investors, sustainability, argentina, soil, planet, capital, analysts, research, natural, fish, production, risk, agriculture, year, finance, people, sovereign bonds, generate

SPEAKERS

Matt McLuckie, Koen van Seijen, Mark Campanale

Koen van Seijen 00:00

This interview is about risk and hidden risks and why an agriculture economist after looking at unburnable carbon and stranded assets in oil and gas is now looking at soy, wild fish, fish farming and soil.

Koen van Seijen 00:15

Welcome to another episode of "Investing in Regenerative Agriculture: Investing as if the Planet Mattered, a odcast show where I talk to the pioneers in the regenerative food and agriculture space to learn more on how to put our money to work to regenerate soil, people, local communities and ecosystems while making an appropriate and fair return. Why am I focused on soil and regeneration? Because so many of the pressing issues we face today have their roots in how we treat our land, grow our food, and what we eat, and it's time that we as investors, big and small, and consumers, start paying much more attention to the dirt / soil underneath our feet.

Koen van Seijen 00:53

In March last year, we launched our Patreon community to make it easy for fans to support our work and so many of you have joined as a member. We've launched different types of benefits: exclusive content, Q&A webinars with former guests, asked me anything sessions plus so much more to come in the future. For more information on the different tiers, benefits and how to become a member, check out patreon.com/ regenerative_agriculture or find the link below. Thank you.

Koen van Seijen 01:18

So welcome to another interview. Today I'm joined by Matt Mcluckie head of research and Mark Campanale founder and director of Planet Tracker. Planet Tracker's focus is on the global industry sectors defined by significant investment flows and revenues in the context of planetary boundaries that are most threatened. This includes regional and global industry sectors such as agribusiness, plastics, and textiles. Welcome, Matt and Mark.

Mark Campanale 01:39

Thank you.

Matt McLuckie 01:40

Thank you.

Koen van Seijen 01:41

And to start with a personal question I always like to ask to both of you actually, what led you into being part of Planet Tracker, finding Plenty Tracker, and working on these extremely large land-use and also sea-use actually industries.

Mark Campanale 01:53

So from my point of view, I trained as an agricultural economist about 30, 32, 33 years ago and I did my master's thesis on environmental cost accounting techniques. Quite, quite dry. But what I was trying to work out is if you factored in natural capital into the way you did project evaluation as an investor, how would it return? How would it change the return on investment? And could you reduce the inputs, like chemical inputs, in favor of natural inputs by valuing nature better. I never thought I'd find a way of using that master's degree but I ended up going into the city, into finance, and what I realized is that financial markets are very sophisticated, whether equity markets or debt markets, but they're not actually that good at understanding planetary limits. So there's no real pricing mechanism for air, for water quality, for even the land upon which we depend for food production. And so there's no real proper value of that. So it struck me that we've got to work out the tools and to think about this. And there's a lot of academic work around natural capital. There's some fantastic work done by people like Sue on natural capital, and the UN and others talk about it and economists talk about it. But it isn't really properly understood through the lens of financial markets. So I set up Planet Tracker with my good friend Nick Robbins who's a professor of sustainable finance at the London School of Economics. And Nick and I set it up really just to try and address this. And what it means simply is that we look at, we tried to look at all the fisheries and seafood companies that are listed on stock exchanges around the world, and we try and look at say water businesses and forestry businesses and food and agricultural production businesses, and how do markets value those companies? And do they incorporate planetary boundaries? And do they understand the value of natural capital? And what are the constraints in the future? What would this mean for business models? So that was the reason why I set up Planet Tracker, and I was delighted that we've been supported by some terrific foundations. And that allowed me to meet what are now great colleagues like Matt and Robin and the rest of the team that form the heart of Planet Tracker.

Matt McLuckie 04:23

Brilliant, thanks Mark. And my story is somewhat different. A bit like Mark I started my career within the city within finance, working for a large institutional Swiss bank. And I realized that actually, within that bank, they were launching a series of research pieces around the new paradigm shift of where capital markets would be deploying large scale funding in the future. And this was around 2005, and those themes really they resonated with my personal feelings about about the environment and about the planet and looking at the sustainability of water, sustainability of agriculture systems, the sustainability of food systems and consumer trends. And really, whilst the research was was extremely compelling, there was very little financial product available in the marketplace to actually enable investors to support the sustainability trends or these mega trends. And I actually spent 10 years managing conservation finance funds, and setting up conservation finance funds, mainly in Africa and also in Europe. And through investing in businesses that were really at the forefront of driving sustainability, and specifically around landscapes, around biodiversity, we realized that these businesses were facing some pretty simple barriers for scaling. And that in order to actually generate the 300 billion or so dollars worth of conservation finance required to conserve the planet's natural landscapes, we had to engage capital markets.

Matt McLuckie 06:13

And so with that sort of view, I came back into the city to join planet tracker to really look at how we can leverage capital markets in terms of asset managers and asset owners. So we're looking at pension funds, we're looking at large scale insurance based investors, we're looking at the asset managers, as custodians of their money and their investment decision making and, and looking at how they engage companies and can support companies to operate more sustainably. And so through that and through the lens of equities and also fixed income, we are hoping to really shift the dial in how capital markets deploy their money, how capital markets research and value risk and return and really start looking at generating significant amounts of funding for for the environment and for sustainability globally.

Koen van Seijen 07:14

It's extremely interesting, thank you for both of your introductions. And as in the podcast because we mostly look at, I would say the positive side or the potential of agriculture and land use and sea use and the restoration of soils, etc. but I think the risk side of things, and the current degeneration of most of natural capital is something we don't discuss often enough. So what is something that, I mean you've been around for not very long, actually, I think a year or two?

Mark Campanale 07:41

The first report was actually published about three years ago, two and a half years ago, and that was Fish Tracker. So originally, after I'd created Carbon Tracker, which is the climate focused and nonprofit, I began to start thinking about seafood. And the trigger was finding a Chinese seafood company listed on the London Stock Exchange, which I thought was fascinating that we think the problems are located on the other side of the world and you don't have to look too far to discover that actually, from a financial point of view, they're often based in our hometown. So we did a piece of analysis to say how many seafood companies are there listed on the world stock markets, and we found some 227, which came as a bit of a surprise to a lot of people, because there's actually quite a few companies involved in fisheries, catching wild fish, and so on. And so that was the first report. And what we concluded was that there are far more boats out there trying to chase the fish than there are fish and could be caught within a sustainable basis and that equity capital markets were central to how these companies are being financed. And so after the success of the launch of Fish Tracker, I decided we would absorb it into Planet Tracker. And then Planet Tracker in turn would develop programs around textiles and water and food and agriculture. And so that's really the genesis of it. But I've got to say we didn't really get going until Robin Millington and Matt McLuckie joined and allowed us to build the team, and now we're motoring along at a good pace with a lot of ambition for what we can do. Just because a lot of this research just hasn't been done. The research report that we launched today, on shrimps, there are 27 Stock Exchange listed shrimp farming businesses that are owned by you know, household name insurance companies and investors that people listening to your podcast today will probably have these companies in their pension fund typically.

Koen van Seijen 09:55

Without knowing obviously.

Mark Campanale 09:56

Yeah, another one knowing and doing this kind of analysis, I think you know, the ESG sustainability industry is a huge industry now employing 1000s of people around the world. But there's still some new frontiers of unknown, undone research. And I think, you know, this new shrimp paper is just an example of that. Would you agree Matt?

Matt McLuckie 10:17

I definitely agree. And part of what we do is when, when we look at, for example, the global food supply chain, and actually the integrated value chains is that often capital markets aren't necessarily aware that they're exposed to some of these companies. And there's a low degree of transparency through which these companies are operating in terms of how they report to capital markets. And a company, which actually offers a very good example but also is a good example of strong sustainability in terms of sort of their their reporting and actually what they're trying to sort of do in terms of moving the dial of how they report to capital markets, is as a group such as Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is such a large, global corporation, and they produce a whole swathe of different products, from white goods to electric vehicles to renewable energy technology, but they're also one of the largest fishing companies in the world. Controlling a fleet of vessels, as well as processing operators, as well as distribution companies.

Matt McLuckie 11:20

So I think it's important to actually just educate capital markets around actually what companies in their portfolios are doing across the world when it comes to the environment and actually how they can work with managers of those companies to create more sustainable management of resources. And a very good example of that, I think stems from some later work that we published at the back half of last year in Japan where out of the 228 global listed fishing companies, we know that approximately 41 of them are domiciled in Japan. And what we've seen with Japan is actually, in terms of total fish production within their wild catch seafood industry, production peaked in the mid 1980s. So in 1985, Japan was producing around 12.5 million tons worth of seafood every year. In 2017, that number had dropped to 3.3 million so you're roughly, you're looking at a discount of over two thirds or declinment over two thirds in terms of total production. What we've also seen however, though is that if Japanese fisheries alone were managed more sustainably, it would generate an extra $5.5 billion in terms of fishing revenue. And if you extrapolate that number out on a global basis, the FAO have said that if global fisheries were managed to achieve maximum sustainable yield, it'd be worth an extra $51 billion to global economies or to the industry. And so what we're actually finding is that there is are direct financial incentives for portfolio managers to actually start engaging with companies within their portfolio to operate more sustainably because this represents, it's not downside risk, this is opportunity upside. And that's an important feature that Planet Tracker likes to sort of, that distinguishes us and that we are looking for the positive upside approach with these companies and the solutions for the finance community to actually engage companies on.

Matt McLuckie 11:21

I think it's extremely interesting that you make that switch from risk to opportunity. And something you said before Mark and also actually Matt, like they're more fishing vessels chasing, then they're actually fish to catch at the moment, as they're not managed, most of the fisheries are not managed sustainably. That's something that I think not only is a huge risk if you suddenly find out like "Look, if we have all these companies chasing the same fish, probably that's not going to work out" but it's something very similar to think of the Carbon Tracker story, which is obviously a lot older. There's more coal, or there's more CO2 or there's a lot of stuff we cannot burn. And that's not a coincidence that that's the same, basically but it is interesting that nobody ever did that research, like how much do we have? How much is on the balance sheet? And how much fish are we tracking or fishing or average carbon are we trying to burn?

Mark Campanale 13:55

These are good points and we're still trying, some of this we're still trying to figure out. I remember in the early 90s, when I first started thinking about this, I was looking at some stock exchanged forestry logging companies that were logging tropical forests in Asia. And there was a particular company. And I'll tell you what was happening was that the investors were valuing the company on a price earnings multiples. So they were saying that this year, they generated 10 million in revenues. So for example, next year its 15 million the following year its 20 million. And they were going on a price earnings multiple, sort of giving indication that actually the best way to come up with a value of the company is to sort of say these, these cash flows are growing and it will continue to grow in the future so it's got to be a really valuable company. Now what they didn't know, and this was where the interesting thing came in, is that the logging company was taking a quarter of the commercial trees out of the forest each year. So after year four, there were no more commercial logs, the forest was trashed. And so you couldn't use a P/E price earnings multiple. So this analysts came out with a report and said "Well actually this is all an illusion of number work that you've gotta valuate on a sort of depletion play, where you're sort of saying, okay, each year, you're removing 25% of the value, each year, and at the end of year four, they're no more revenues". And so they put this analyst, remember she put the sell side out towel, with a new valuation that essentially said instead of the stock price being $20 it's going to be $6.

Mark Campanale 14:40

And pandemonium broke loose because the investors suddenly realized that after year four this particular business was going to have no more revenues from logging forest, because they'd locked out the forest. And it very neatly told a story that markets discount future cash flows, but they're unable properly to price scarcity of natural resources, and we use the wrong methodology. So if you look at, say, seafood, investors assume you know, we hear this phrase, there's plenty more efficiency, our grandmothers were using that phrase, well, I'm afraid, folks, that's no longer true, there aren't plenty more fish in the sea, because we've been taking a lot of it out. And investors have this strange assumption that you take one fish, there's going to be plenty more than next year. And if you build one boat to catch fish, if you built 10 boats, you can catch 10 times as much fish without realizing that you hit these, these boundaries. And, and really the heart of planet tracker. And its research and its approach is really to sort of say, Well, look, you know, we can't run the world. Thinking along these lines, markets have to change, investment analytics have to change how we model risk has to change. And ultimately, consumers, and investors and the companies themselves have to rethink this. And, and we've got to stop this plundering of the oceans and plundering of the atmosphere, and investors, normally quite conservative people. And if we put in, if we measured risk better, and we put in place better practices, then a lot of this problem is not going to go away, I think we would find better ways of dealing with the sustainability challenge.

Koen van Seijen 17:42

I really like the switch to they're not modeling, or we are as a species not modeling scarcity and we sort of saw the forest, now hopefully that changed, but saw the forest as an endless amount of trees, and the sea as an endless amount of fish, because we don't really see how many are actually down there. Probably will get really, really scared. I mean, what you did to ???, like much have of decline we actually already hit that we just put more boats and more boats in more boats.

Mark Campanale 18:06

Yeah, exactly, exactly and what we've found in the meetings that we've done with different investment firms, and we've met with some large pension funds, and we've met with a number of investment managers is a lot of people are getting this. I think there has been a change in thinking in the last 5-10 years, a lot more analysts, a lot more investors are getting it. I think it's true, particularly of Europe, particularly of the Scandinavian countries and say, the Netherlands. I wouldn't say it was especially well known in Asia or perhaps North America, but it's growing awareness in Europe and the good thing about the internet and communications is we can begin to distribute this research further afield and where we can we try and publish in local languages to allow pickup of the analysis. And we seethis educational thing is going to take some time, but we've got some things, we've got some tools that work in our favor. So one of the things that does interest us is can we get stock exchanges to require better disclosures by listed companies. So if you want to raise money to log a forest or to build boats to go fishing, do you properly disclose the sustainability profiles of the fisheries you operate in or the forest you log in? And can you present sustainable forestry management plans or resource management plans and there's a role there for good regulation and good disclosure and a good accounting systems.

Matt McLuckie 19:40

And I also, added to that, one of the key tools that we're seeing huge leaps and bounds in is the availability of high quality environmental data and the translation of that data into metrics that the capital markets can actually use. And there's some incredible companies such as Planet Labs, a satellite data provider. Now we can start looking at soil profiling at a very granular level, we can start looking at water at a very granular level, and start determining how, when you've got agricultural companies that rely on soil productivity, when you go brewery companies that rely on the availability of clean water, we can actually start modeling and pricing, in the short to medium term, actually how the availability of that natural capital is trending and start working with companies to ensure that that they can maintain the sustainability of those resources.

Matt McLuckie 20:40

And so I think capital markets are, they've got more tools at their disposal than they've ever had to be able to look at valuations in a new way. I think where capital markets actually need to do maybe more work is is the education of analysts, the education of our portfolio managers, and asset owners around how to use those tools. And fundamentally to look at the metrics, and these we're talking about economic fundamental metrics, and how does the environment relate with those metrics. So we've launched a paper, for example, looking at balance of payments, which is a key metric in determining sovereign credit risk, and just looking at how the production of soft commodities in the country and that production relies on the availability of soil, of water, etc. how that actually impacts the production of commodities, which has a subsequent impact on balance of payments. And so we can be looking at these linkages and actually starting to educate analysts, and working with analysts on how they can stop pricing, environmental externalities and natural capital values into their research.

Koen van Seijen 21:53

Yeah, actually it's a great bridge to the project you're doing in sovereign bonds. Can you unpack that a bit? I will definitely link all the information below in the show notes, but can you unpack a bit what it means in practice? You've looked mostly in Latin America, if I remember correctly, and really tried to make the connection between the natural assets or the natural capital that these countries have, and basically their export focus sector on the agriculture and the risks there. But can you unpack a bit for people that are not immediately thinking "Oh these are sovereign bonds" how that works and what the research that you've done there? Or the project that you're doing, because it's a much longer one?

Matt McLuckie 22:28

Yeah, so very simply we're working on a joint project with the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics to look at the connection between the environment, natural capital, and essentially sovereign bond risk. And primarily we're looking at a credit default and interest rate risks. And using funding provided by the Gordon Betty Moore foundation through the finance hub, we focus our initial research on Brazil and Argentina, and let me just highlight the case of Argentina here. Argentina, as we know, macro-economically has had a rather tempestuous recent history. And in 2018 that culminated in the International Monetary Fund, IMF, actually issuing a $56 billion bailouts standby agreements to to the economy. So in essence, if you factor in also sovereign bond investors into Argentina, and actually there's been a huge impact on sovereign bond yields just through the economy over the past six months. Argentina effectively owes a considerable amount of US dollars both to the IMF but also to sovereign bond investors. Now, when we look at what generates, essentially, net income for the economy of Argentina, 70% of Argentina's exports rely on natural capital in their production.

Koen van Seijen 23:59

Seventy, right? Seven zero.

Matt McLuckie 24:00

Yes, seven zero. So and if we look across the G20. So Brazil, Argentina and Indonesia are the top three countries that rely on natural capital based exports to generate economic growth. And so with the case of Argentina, it's very much an agricultural based economy, and two of the main agricultural products are soybeans and livestock. And what we've seen is that actually there's been a huge amount of deforestation of the Cerrado and of forrested areas to create landscapes for the production of soy and the production of livestock. And the soy is very important for the economy because it gets exported in not only raw form but also gets processed into for example, biodiesel and 60% of Europe's biodiesel is actually originated from Argentina, if we're looking at soy-based biodiesel. And so what we've seen with Argentina is that they've got this big US dollar deficit to liabilities sitting on the national balance sheet, they've got a low US dollar level of treasury reserves, and so therefore they rely on generating positive US dollar base balance of payments to actually service those liabilities. Now, if we go to the droughts which Argentina had in 2018, we know that those droughts had a significant impact on the production of soybeans. And if you look at actually the costs of that, which has been cited by credit rating agencies, is that generally they account for about $14 billion dollars worth of lost balance of payments receipts coming into the economy. Now, Argentina defaulted on an $8 billion dollar payment to the IMF resulting in, or triggering another release of standby agreement funding. So if that drought hadn't taken place, or if the sector had been more resilient, and actually, you could argue that that standby agreement trigger would not have taken place. During a field trip to go to one of the main production sites in Argentina in Rosario, a number of the local farmers were commenting on two fronts. One the impact of the drought, but two the impact of soils because they've got decreasing soil productivity which actually impacts their short to medium term ability to maintain a consistent rate of yield, so production yield off their land. Add into that prohibitive tax regime, and actually the whole sector and the whole economy is going to suffer. And that needs to be priced in to the forward sovereign bond outlook by analysts. And we didn't find that or we hardly found any analysts who were actually looking at this in their valuations of sovereign bond yields and some important default risk for the economy. And so these are the types of, I think quite simple linkages that we want to be able to make and present capital markets.

Koen van Seijen 26:59

So basically, the link between Argentina owes a lot of dollars because of history, and because of the last years, and needs a lot of dollars and basically gets that mainly through agriculture outputs and agriculture export. And at the same time, this agriculture sector is really suffering because of climate change, because of non regenerative methods. So it's sort of a, I wouldn't say a perfect storm, but it's definitely a huge risk if you are exposed to the sovereign bonds and you're saying that this risk is not priced into the price of these sovereign bonds. And you're seeing these type of risk basically, I mean that's been the last 15 years probably of your life Mark to finding these risks not being priced in.

Mark Campanale 27:41

Sure. Yeah, no, sure. I mean, if you're an analyst and trying to come up with a methodology or a framework to think about how to incorporate these types of the risks that Matt's been describing so well, or are scarcity risks, is quite complex. And there are people who work in the accountancy profession that are listening in and there is a biological accounting definitions which are used by companies which are involved in say, forestry or agriculture. So accountants know that when something grows, it increases the value of the asset and so you have a biological accounting framework for for valuing that. And so the case of farmed fish, you can actually use these biological accounting techniques to come up and count how many fish there are and what they're worth. But when it comes to the open seas, all that accounting understanding is thrown out the window, and no biological accounting actually applies to natural capital. Because of the open seas, there's no way of defining what is yours and how you find it and how you account for it. And so data issues, accounting issues are complex and you know, the only way to solve this problem is to literally put a label on every single fish in the sea. And then you can work out who owns it, which of course, is impossible in practice. But you can see some of the challenges that we have in really properly addressing, from an accounting point of view, from a financial point of view, how can you put a value on something which you don't know who owns it, you don't know where it's located, you don't know how it's going to be used, you don't know how it's going to be replaced. These are big, complex issues. And we're just really at the beginning, I think of the journey of trying to understand how any of us who are involved in finance can put our arms around such a huge challenge because if we don't, you know, more people talk jokingly, well with some seriousness of water will be where the new wars will start from and because we haven't properly accounted for it and there's battles between communities versus corporations for scarce assets of which water is a classic example.

Koen van Seijen 30:02

And does that generate, because you mentioned you've seen in the last let's say year or so, quite a few analysts, especially in Europe, and quite a few, let's say financial institutions that are starting to get this. Does this mean that slowly we're getting to a place where the opportunities are becoming more interesting? Like the Matador you mentioned in Japan? Like actually if they would manage their fishery sustainably, the potential is a lot bigger. Do you see more and more people looking at like this business case for regenerating a natural capital? Is that is that something you see already or is that something you would like to see, obviously, but still what is the what do you see there? To both of you actually.

Matt McLuckie 30:39

We're definitely seeing opportunities around regenerative natural capital in terms of businesses and look at the positive impact that that has on investors. And I think, to use another illustration from some of our aquaculture research is at the end of last year we launched a salmon briefing paper, looking at the global salmon industry, and specifically listed companies operating in the industry, and we took the top 10 list of salmon producers by revenue globally. And we did a back data analysis over the past five years and we said that if you took their forecast production rates at the start of the year versus their actual production rate at the end of the year, what was the difference? And we found a decrease of asios between 6-8% in achieve versus forecast production, and we then started to look at some of the reasons behind that. And generally, the vast majority of reasons were natural in the sense of, it was an increased water temperature, increase instances of parasites such as sea lice, increasing incidences of algal blooms, which can be caused by for example agricultural runoff of fertilizers and pesticides.

Matt McLuckie 32:02

And so what we're seeing is that actually the area of suitable environments for coastal salmon farming globally is shrinking. At the same time, the number of farms is growing. And so what we're seeing are huge advancements in the development of different types of technology both for inland aquaculture, which will have a huge bearing if it can be achieved at a cost competitive rate in terms of providing protein, especially in developed markets, but also actually deep sea or high sea aquaculture. Now, what the capital markets need to recognize is that there is a big growth opportunity there, but the pricing and the financing of these, of these opportunities needs to change because our current salmon prices offshore aquaculture is completely unviable commercially, as is inbound aquaculture. So fundamentally, prices will need to increase. And so this then means that companies have to be able to generate more margin, but it can't be growth at all costs, we need to be looking at actually increasing the fundamental price of these commodities to ensure that companies are motivated and incentivized to operate more sustainably. And at the moment history tells us that operating more sustainably can cost more money, but actually in the medium to long term, those costs are recovered very quickly. And ultimately, you end up with a more robust, more sustainable, more profitable business. So I think we are seeing really interesting opportunities available in different sectors.

Koen van Seijen 33:40

That's great to hear. I think a lot of people on the call would either argue that they are working on that, maybe not yet to the level of a publicly listed company, but hopefully in a few years. And let's say the investors on the call probably be interested to see how to put money to work there.

Koen van Seijen 33:56

So I want to be conscious of your time and ask a few final questions. And one is actually to both of you. If you could wave a magic wand and tomorrow morning we wake up and either you Mark or you Matt have changed something in, if you've changed one thing in the agriculture industry from a sustainability point of view, what would that be? Let's say the land use industry, we will take it a bit broader than just ag. What would you both change overnight if you had the power?

Mark Campanale 34:22

Oh, that's such an easy question come on, Matt. You can do that one first.

Matt McLuckie 34:25

My number one issue is I believe soil. And how do we build agricultural and livestock systems that manage to maintain the integrity of soil. Because soil provides the platform for all agricultural growth. And there's some excellent groups such as Soil Capital based in London who are doing amazing work around looking at different forms of regenerative agriculture, and looking at soil health and soil health is fundamental to feeding the planet so in the agriculture space that one is quite straightforward for me.

Koen van Seijen 35:03

What about you Mark?

Mark Campanale 35:04

Yeah, I'm going to take a different angle. I do think it's possible that northern market mechanisms are panacea and solve all the problems, they don't but I do think that we could build the case. A bit similar to the task force on climate related financial disclosures that were set up, that financial regulators, I'm thinking particularly stock exchange regulators and regulators governing the issuance of bonds and equities, can encourage any company involved in managing natural capital to submit proper, full and complete natural capital models, analysis, resource management plans, impact assessments, as part of a prospectus before investors invest. So you can't just say "Oh, we're raising some money to log this forest" until you genuinely put what the resource management plan is. I don't like logging forest at all, or even open seas fishery to the extent that it's as damaging than it is. I think that regulators could say "Look, if you're gonna do this, you've got to give a proper account for how you will leave the environment, the open seas, land in the same condition as you found it without depleting natural capital, without spoiling what nature has given us, and you've got to set out how you do that". And I think that there's a very strong rationale for that which regulators will understand and investors ultimately will understand. It's only part of the way to answering the challenges we face. But I think it's an important step.

Koen van Seijen 36:44

I completely agree. And I want to thank you both so much for your time this morning, and we'll definitely be checking in sharing the reports that are already out there. And when new ones come up, we'll be sharing that with the community.

Mark Campanale 36:56

We thank you very much, and please, with any listeners have a look at the planet-tracker.org website and follow us on Twitter, and please sign up to our research newsletters, which are of course free to readers. And we look forward to exchanging information with your listeners in the future.

Matt McLuckie 37:16

Thank you very much.

Koen van Seijen 37:17

Thank you so much.

Mark Campanale 37:18

Thank you, buy bye.

Koen van Seijen 37:20

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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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