Friday Funds: ISS ESG and Qontigo launch biodiversity index suite

The latest developments in ESG-related funds: British impact investor commits $15m to SUSI Energy Transition Fund; Lombard Odier IM launches electrification strategy.

ISS ESG – the investment arm of proxy adviser ISS – and Qontigo have launched an index suite to align portfolios with biodiversity impact reduction goals. The ISS STOXX Biodiversity Index Suite will exclude companies involved in activities assessed to be causing significant harm to biodiversity or reducing the biodiversity footprint. They also enhance alignment with biodiversity-orientated UN SDGs, such as life below water and life on land. The index methodology targets an aggregate carbon intensity reduction of at least 30 percent across constituents.

UK development finance institution and impact investor British International Investment (BII) has committed $15 million to the SUSI Asia Energy Transition Fund (SAETF), a Southeast Asia-focused fund managed by Swiss-based firm SUSI Partners. SAETF targets infrastructure investments across the energy transition spectrum, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage projects, and focuses on emerging economies including Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

This is BII’s first commitment in Southeast Asia. BII joins other development finance institutions including AIIB, FMO, Swedfund, Norfund, and OeEB in backing SAETF. The investment will count toward BII’s target to invest up to £500 million ($618 million; €576 million) of climate finance in the Indo-Pacific region.

Lombard Odier Investment Managers has launched an actively managed strategy to capture opportunities associated with economy-wide electrification. The Future Electrification fund will have a concentrated, high-conviction portfolio of 40 to 50 holdings. The strategy is managed by Paul Udall, lead portfolio manager.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – through its Africa Program and NatureVest impact investment team – and sustainable investment and advisory firm ThirdWay Partners have made the final close of the $70 million Africa Conservation and Communities Tourism Fund (ACCT fund). The strategy looks to show how driving sustainable investment into the conservation tourism sector can benefit ecologically important landscapes and their surrounding communities. The fund was initially designed to provide flexible bridge financing to conservation tourism businesses to support job retention, continued payment of fees to conservation areas and other support for conservation and community development initiatives. To date, 27 percent of the ACCT Fund’s capital has been committed to operators in Botswana, Kenya and Tanzania, with several other potential investments under development across southern and eastern Africa.

Crédit Mutuel Asset Management has reportedly launched a social positive impact fund as part of its Impact First range. The CM-AM Impact First Inclusion fund is the first to be launched in the new range and is made up of 75 percent social or sustainability bonds and 25 percent equities, mostly based in Europe. It will look to invest in companies and issuers focusing on positive social impact including basic services, education, health, social inclusion and technology. The fund will be managed by Crédit Mutuel’s director of impact management Sophie Rahm.