Friday Funds: BNP Paribas AM’s new APAC trusts include ESG shorting strategy

The latest developments in ESG-related funds

BNP Paribas Asset Management has launched two trusts for Australian and New Zealand investors: a Green Bond Trust to invest in sovereign and corporate green bonds issued in hard currencies, and an Earth Trust to invest in companies providing solutions to environmental challenges in the energy, material agriculture and industrial markets. The Earth Trust will also short companies failing to adapt their business models to the transition towards more sustainable practices.

The world’s first vegan exchange-traded fund has outperformed the S&P 500 for a second year running. The US Vegan Climate ETF, launched in 2019 by Beyond Investing, has attracted $65m in assets and returned 67.91% since inception against the S&P 500’s 57.07%. It screens companies involved in animal testing, animal-derived products and animals in sport and entertainment.

Regnan has launched its first thematic fund. The Australian responsible investment arm of JO Hambro Capital Management, has launched a UK-focused sustainable water and waste fund to invest in companies that provide solutions to water or waste-related challenges globally.

Foresight Group has smashed its €500m fundraising target by 70%, raising €851.4m for its energy infrastructure fund, from more than 35 institutional investors from Europe and North America. The fund has already made investments in three wind projects in Sweden, Finland and Spain, and an energy-from-waste plant in Italy. Meanwhile, Foresight’s Solar Fund announced that it is on track to deliver its 2021 target dividend of 6.98p per share as it released its interim results. 

Another UK-based renewables specialist, The Renewables Infrastructure Group, has raised £200m from a new share issue. The proceeds of the issue, which TRIG said was “significantly oversubscribed”, will be used to repay the outstanding balance on the company’s revolving credit facility, which was used to acquire four solar sites in Spain and Portugal.

Lyxor has launched an exchange-traded fund for corporate green bonds, with a total expense ratio of 0.2%. Tracking a Solactive benchmark, the fund invests in Euro and USD-denominated investment grade notes that comply with standards from the Climate Bonds Initiative.

UK fund manager Schroders has launched an emerging markets equity impact strategy that it claims is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The fund will focus on responsible consumption, health, sustainable infrastructure, inclusion and the environment. It will hold 30-50 companies. Schroders also said this week that it would include sustainability data for all of its funds in its next Assessment of Value (AoV) report, in a bid to improve transparency for clients.

Standard Life Investments Property Income Trust has acquired an area of land in a Scottish National Park which it aims to use for carbon sequestration. The £450m Real Estate Investment Trust said it would implement an ecological restoration plan on the land, planting more than 1.5m trees and restoring the peatland.

Belgian asset manager Verlinvest has led a A$41.5m (€25.6m) fundraise by Australian toilet paper maker Who Gives A Crap. The B-Corp donates 50% of its profits to projects which improve access to sanitation and clean water in emerging markets.

NextEnergy Capital’s $750m international solar fund has announced the acquisition of a 42.3MW project portfolio in Poland for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is NextPower III ESG’s first investment in the country, and brings its portfolio capacity to 530MW.