Responsible Funds, April 20: responsAbility fund backs Central American co-ops

The round-up of responsible funds news

The new responsAbility Fair Trade Fund has invested around $3m (€2.3m) in fair trade coffee cooperatives in Honduras and Mexico, according to its latest monthly report. The fund, which aims to generate a reasonable return by investing mainly in fair-trade-certified producers and trade organizations, opened to investors in December last year in co-operation with Credit Suisse Fund AG. Link

NEI Investments, the Canadian funds company, says Toronto-based OtterWood Capital Management, led by portfolio manager Christine Hughes, will take over the investment management for its $330m (€252.2m) Ethical Balanced Fund as of May 14. The fund will continue to be a suitable investment solution for investors “seeking to align their investment portfolios with their social values”. The fund will be given the potential to use a wider array of derivatives, invest in exchange-traded funds, engage in short selling and invest up to 10% of its assets in precious metals. Announcement

The Jupiter China Sustainable Sicav fund has returned 25.9% against 19.4% for its benchmark, the MSCI Zhong Hua index, in the past six months according to fund manager Philip Ehrmann. Meanwhile the Jupiter Climate Change Solutions Fund has returned -1.8%, compared with 6.7% for its benchmark, the FTSE World Index over the past 12 months.

The CHF103.9m (€86.5m) Swisscanto Equity Fund Water Fund has returned 11.6% in the current year so far, against an 8.75% return from its MSCI World benchmark. The Luxembourg-domiciled fund invests worldwide in companies “offering technologies, products or service” in the water value-added chain.

Canada’s Sarona Asset Management’s MEDA Sarona Risk Capital Fund has recently committed C$1.5m (€1.14m) to the Women’s World Banking (WWB) Isis I LP Fund, and $250,000 to the MicroVest+ Plus Fund LP. The former backs microfinance institutions servicing female clients. The latter invests in low income financial institutions. Link*French state fund CDC Climat* and development institution Proparco have teamed up with the West African Development Bank (BOAD) to set up a €45m fund to invest in carbon credits from projects that reduce emissions in sub-Saharan Africa. The new Fonds carbone pour l’Afrique will be chaired by BOAD Director Eric Bio and managed by CDC Climat Asset Management. Link

Fibeg, the finance and investment company of the province of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) in Austria, has launched a €150m sustainability fund, according to consulting firm Oekom. “Fibeg thus joins the growing ranks of investors who see environmentally and socially sensitive investment as being desirable not only ethically but also economically,” Oekom says.

The €7m Dexia Equities Sustainable Green Planet fund, an SRI subfund of the Dexia Equities L Sicav, has had a year-to-date return of 11.59%, against a benchmark return of 6.88%. The fund invests worldwide in stocks of companies that provide innovative and sustainable products, technologies or services tackling three major environmental challenges: waste management, water use and energy resources. Link and

The €29.3m LGT Sustainable Impact Global Equity Fund has returned 12.9% so far in 2011 – compared to an 8.8% benchmark return. The fund selects investments based on “sustainable value creation and improvement to human well-being”.

Deutsche Bank’s €5.5m db x-trackers S&P US Carbon Efficient ETF exchange traded fund has returned 12.76% so far this year. The benchmark, the S&P U.S. Carbon Efficient Index, has yielded 12.89%. The index measures the performance of no more than 375 companies with relatively low carbon emissions, while seeking to closely track the return of the S&P 500.