Daily ESG Briefing: Announcements from Foresight, Wheb and Impax show good times for UK green investors

The latest developments in sustainable finance

Green infrastructure specialist Foresight Group has announced plans to float on the London Stock Exchange. The UK-based firm, founded in the 1980s and with a heavy focus on renewables, said it is considering issuing a small amount of new shares alongside the sale of shares by existing shareholders, resulting in more than half of the stock being in public hands. Foresight Group manages just shy of £7bn across its two pillars: Foresight Infrastructure and Foresight Private Equity. It raised £516m (gross) between March and September 2020. It expects to secure the London Stock Exchange’s Green Economy Mark for its IPO – meaning it derives more than 50% of its revenues from green products and services. 

Fellow UK-based green investor Impax announced a 24.8% increase in assets under management in the last quarter of 2020 – setting a new record for the firm. Impax now runs £25.2bn, with most of the growth coming from its listed equities portfolios, which rose from £16.1bn to £21.3bn. The lion’s share of the increase was attributed to inflows, with just over £2bn attributed to market movements. The value of Impax’s private markets portfolio dropped slightly during the period – from £371m to £366m. 

London-based impact investor Wheb has also seen record inflows, smashing through the £1bn mark. The firm, which launched in 2009, passed the £500m in June, securing further institutional mandates to help push it through the £1bn barrier by the end of the year. 

A study of the CAC 40 index in France has identified Kering, Danone, Sodexo, Pernod Ricard, L’Oréal Paris and Orange as the biggest benefactors of the link between environmental and social considerations and financial performance. The study was done by BCG Gamma and Brighthouse – two subsidiaries of Boston Consulting Group. 

Six affiliates of the South Korean business conglomerate Hanwha Group have pledged not to finance domestic and overseas coal projects, on the back of the country’s recent 2050 carbon neutrality pledge, and a spate of coal divestments from other major financial groups in South Korea, including KB, Shinhan, Samsung and Woori Financial Group. The six are: Hanwha Life Insurance, Hanwha General Insurance, Hanwha Investment & Securities, Hanwha Asset Management, Hanwha Savings Bank and Carrot General Insurance.

Fintech firm Broadridge Financial Solutions has collaborated with SLIB, the electronic voting and security software provider owned by Natixis, to create a cross-border proxy voting service aligned with the EU’s upcoming Shareholder Rights Directive II. The product, aimed at French players, will distribute agendas for European shareholder meetings, and process and count votes from French shareholders.