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    THE CHALLENGE: PRESERVING OUR RESOURCES WHILST SUSTAINABLY SUPPORTING OUR NEEDS


    Increasing pressure on all types of resources*

    Never before have our societies been confronted with such tensions on supplies of minerals, water, agricultural products, etc. due to demographic growth and increased living standards. We have realised that there is not an endless supply of some non-renewable resources. This also applies to renewable resources that are currently being exploited beyond their renewal rate (fish, forests, water, etc.).
    Agriculture and forests: ensuring sufficient production whilst preserving ecosystems
    21st Century agriculture has a difficult role to fulfil in producing enough food to satisfy the needs of an increasing population, as well as providing agricultural products for biofuel and green chemistry markets. All of this whilst preserving soil fertility, quality of water, biodiversity and climate. Improving yield and exploitation rates through sustainable agricultural practices and limiting loss of crops are the main levers to work on towards a sustainable agriculture and achieving a “new green revolution”.


    Water: developing infrastructures and technologies

    Although the current quantity of water on Earth is relatively constant, freshwater is an unevenly distributed resource. Local imbalances are already apparent in numerous regions suffering from water stress, and are accentuated by the increase in demand for water as well as climate change. As 70% of water is consumed by the agricultural sector, this issue is strongly linked to that of food security, and more widely that of health. Favouring investments in increasing supply (infrastructures, treatment) and improving use efficiency (mainly through improved irrigation techniques) are key measures to guarantee a sustainable access to this resource.


    Waste and recycling: optimising resources

    Business models based on a linear economy “extract-transform-dispose” expose themselves to increased risk, increased commodity prices and therefore a risk of supply chain disruptions. These fundamental trends are set to increase with the urbanisation of the population and rising costs of extraction of resources. We are convinced that the key economic players in favour of circular development (industrial ecology, recycling, etc.) are going to seize opportunities for economic, social and environmental value creation.


    Metals: preserving quality reserves

    To address the issue of a decline in reserves and increasing environmental impacts of mineral extraction from lower-grade ores, recycling is a solution but remains technically limited. Reduce the environmental impact of mine production, preserve reserves using recycled/substitution metals, and offer metals contributing to the development of green technologies are all examples of other potential solutions.

     

    SOLUTIONS IDENTIFIED BY MIROVA
     


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    REVIEW OF CSR QUALITY


    In addition to the identification of business models that respond to sustainable development challenges, a CSR policy review of quality is systematically carried out prior to stock selection (management systems analysis, investigation of controversy, etc.). This is done to confirm that the company is relevant to the investment theme and ensures that the overall business operations are consistent with the sustainable development positioning of the company’s products and/or services.

    This analysis focuses on key areas, for example in mining: respecting the rights of local populations, health and safety at work, impacts on biodiversity, corruption, etc.
     

    * Although resource management concerns all sectors, certain activities are more directly linked to exploitation and processing of raw materials. We have divided the sustainable resources investment theme into four sub-sectors: Agriculture and forests, Water, Metals, Waste and recycling (fossil fuels are covered by the Energy investment theme).
    (1) U.K. Government Office for Science, “The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges and Choices for Global Sustainability,” January 2011
    (2) 2030 Water Resources Group, Charting the water future, 2009
    (3) Global e-sustainability Initiative (GeSI), “E-waste: Annual Gold, Silver “Deposits” in New High-Tech Goods Worth $21 Billion+; Less Than 15% Recovered”, 6 July 2012