Commodities finance

Commercial capital flows both depend on and shape the world's commodity markets.

Yet we face an extraordinary challenge.

Over the next 40 years, land, energy, water, and weather constraints will place unprecedented pressure on mankind’s ability to access our most basic goods – food, fuel and fiber.

The financial sector will face a new set of material and reputational risks, as well as opportunities, as the economy and society adjust.

Are you a financial institution?

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A new WWF report, "Sustainable finance in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia:  A review of financiers´ESG practices, disclosure standards and regulations", finds an alarming gap between regional ASEAN financial institutions and the environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards adopted by their international counterparts.

The report focuses on the extent to which these capital providers are considering sustainability in their financing and investment activities, and the adequacy of sustainability reporting requirements in light of existing disclosure levels on material environmental and social issues. It explains how banks in their roles as lenders, capital raising agents and financial advisors can take ESG through--and beyond--reputation and risk management, and embrace positive transformative change with bottom line benefits.

Press release
Download report (PDF - 2 Mb)


Another new report "Private Equity and Emerging Markets Agribusiness: Building Value Through Sustainability" delivers market insights and sustainability guidance to private equity investors seeking opportunities in emerging markets agribusiness. It highlights environmental and social value drivers and risks when investing in emerging markets agribusiness and makes valuable recommendations to fund managers on implementing an effective Environmental and Social Management System both for themselves and their portfolio companies. 

The report is a collaboration among five organisations with wide-ranging experience in this area, including CDC, Credit Suisse, EMPEA, IFC and WWF. 

► Download report (PDF )
Attend WWF's workshops on ESG
WWF's ESG workshops, in partnership with local stock exchanges, banking associations and/or regulators, are aimed for:
  • Senior Managers and executives involved in risk management, strategy development and sustainability
  • Members of risk, sustainability or ethical committees and working groups
  • Financial regulators
  • Institutional shareholders with significant exposure to the banking sector.
Previous workshops: 
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Brazil

Coming soon:
  • Indonesia (21 May 2015)
► Download the brochure
► Email us about the workshop

What WWF does

WWF works with financial institutions in the debt and equity markets, asset management, and insurance sectors. We draw on insights from over 50 years of experience, more than 70 commodity experts, 70 country offices, and partnerships with dozens of multi-national food, agri-, and consumer goods companies, in order to deliver:
  • Improved risk management, capacity, and financial performance in high-impact sectors
  • Insights and data on key global trends
  • Innovation breakthroughs in sustainable financial products

Real outcomes

  • With WWF’s help, banks and investors, such as Rabobank, ANZ, Credit Agricole, ICBC, Banco do Brazil, and many others, have adopted improved sector policies and other approaches to manage risks in palm oil, forestry, soy, aquaculture, and many other sectors.
  • WWF aids and advises financial institution industry platforms, such as the UNPRI, UNEP FI, The Equator Principles, CERES, SIRAN, and The Banking Environment Initiative (BEI). Our work has ranged from helping investors develop frameworks to measure and manage water risks in agro-commodities supply chains, to helping craft a global compact to eliminate tropical deforestation from banking portfolios.
  • We develop powerful tools, such as the Bank Policy Benchmarking Tool and the WWF-KFW/DEG Water Risk Filter, deployed by thousands of companies and financial institutions.
  • Groundbreaking research in sustainable commodities finance, such as The 2050 Criteria: Guide To Responsible Investment in Agricultural, Forest, and Seafood CommoditiesThe Palm Oil Investors Review, and Profitability & Sustainability in Palm Oil Production: Analysis of Incremental Costs and Benefits of RSPO Compliance. WWF thought leadership in soft commodities finance is widely utilized to inform the strategies of mainstream investors, banks, consultants, and others in this growing space.

Our 2020 Target

Mainstream financial institutions understand and benefit from management of environmental and social risk in soft commodities
Where we work
WWF has staff with expertise in the sustainable financing of commodities in:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Coastal East Africa
  • EU
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • UK
  • US

By attaching sustainability criteria to their lending conditions, financial institutions are helping to raise standards


Tackle your portfolio’s biggest source of climate, water, and biodiversity loss risks through a mainstream approach:
  1. Assess exposure to the principal drivers of tropical deforestation – palm oil, forest products, soy, and beef
  2. Request verified good practice, ideally through credible 3rd party standards, or using The 2050 Criteria
  3. Create or update your Environmental and Social Risk Policies
  4. Require transparency from your clients in these soft commodity supply chains
  5. Engage weak actors in your portfolio to adopt responsible practices
Through these simple steps, one can support the global transition to “zero net deforestation", reducing emissions up to 20%, while enhancing client performance.


Watch WWF’s Jason Clay explain how if just 100 key companies go sustainable, global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown.

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