Forest of tall white aspen trees in Banff National park, Canada
© Elena Elisseeva / 123RF Stock Photo

More than one-third of the world’s big companies are engaged in activities that harm biodiversity by destroying wildlife habitat, according to research from Moody’s Corp.’s ESG division.

In a new report, Moody’s ESG Solutions said that, based on a sample of 5,300 large, publicly traded global companies, 38% operate at least one facility that’s associated with habitat loss due to changes in land use.

Habitat loss is also the main driver of biodiversity loss, which is increasingly a concern for investors, regulators and companies that are dependent on natural capital, “with scientists warning that the world is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction as nature is declining at unprecedented rates,” the report said.

Moody’s also reported a disconnect between companies’ commitments to reduce their negative impacts on biodiversity, and their actions.

For instance, it reported that 61% of companies in the heavy construction sector have made commitments to address biodiversity, yet less than 10% of the sector received positive scores for implementation.

It also reported that the average score for disclosure relating to biodiversity was just 32 out of 100, “highlighting a general lack of disclosures,” it said.