Responsible Funds, March 29: Media giant Sky launches investment vehicle for cleaner oceans

Round-up of the latest ESG developments

Media giant Sky has launched an impact investment vehicle aimed at ocean conservation. Sky Ocean Ventures has been kick-started with a £25m investment by Sky itself, but aims to raise £100m from other corporates. It will invest in companies and technologies that offer solutions to “everyday plastic problems”. Target areas include alternative packaging, recycling innovations and alternatives to traditional materials for clothing. Alongside the vehicle, Sky will launch a project to incubate and foster new ideas, and pilot new projects at its London ‘campus’. The first residency will be Skipping Rocks Lab, who are pioneering the use of natural materials extracted from plants and seaweed to replace traditional plastic packaging.
Daiwa SB Investments, a major Japanese asset manager, has selected RobecoSAM to be the sub-advisor for the Daiwa SBI Global Electric Vehicle Revolution strategy. RobecoSAM is a sustainability investing specialist headquartered in Zurich. The strategy has JPY143bn (£1bn) of assets under management, approximately two months after launch. It invests globally in four investment clusters associated with electrical vehicles (EV): EV component suppliers, EV car manufacturers & subsystem suppliers, electrical grid & charging infrastructure, and connectivity & autonomous driving.
Facebook is to be kicked out of the index tracked by BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF, following a decision made by the fund’s Responsible Investment Committee. In light of issues including the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, the committee determined that Facebook no longer qualified for inclusion in the index, which the ETF was designed to track. Previously, the social media giant had been included because of factors such as its competitive carbon emission metrics and its “responsible advertising”. It currently accounts for 3.9% of the ETF’s portfolio. Beta Shares is part of the $100bn Mirae Asset Global Investments Group, which is one of Asia’s biggest asset managers.The corporate pension fund of Swiss retailer Migros has said all its external mandates would have to adopt minimum environmental, social and governance standards. In its annual report, the €20bn fund said it would also step up engagement on ESG topics.
DP Ética Valor Compartido, which claims to be the first Spanish SICAV for socially responsible investment under the partnership of EAFI Ética Patrimonios and asset manager Degroof Petercam, has reported returns of 1.95% in its first year of activity, reaching €2.9m in AUM and 140 shareholders. The fund has volatility limits of 3%, on average.
Phoenix Group has made its entry into the renewables sector. The closed life and pension fund consolidator has invested £27m of debt financing in an offshore wind farm in the UK. The Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm Project will becomes operational in September.
The Susi Renewable Energy Fund II, managed by Swiss renewables investor SUSI Partners AG, has acquired its first wind farm in the Republic of Ireland, slated for operation in coming months. The deal comes as sister fund, the SUSI Energy Efficiency Fund acquired a €14m public lighting and heating project from Spanish energy service company Elecnor.
SilverStreet Capital, a specialist investor into the agricultural sector, is launching its second fund, Silverlands II. The social impact fund is in the final stage of fundraising, with a close expected in early August. It has currently raised some $80m and has a hard cap of $325m.