Responsible Funds, April 5: WWF’s Living Planet funds plan to merge

The round-up of responsible funds news

The Living Planet Fund, launched in 2003 by the Living Planet Fund Management Company, a subsidiary of WWF International, the nature conservation agency, is merging its two sub-funds, the €9.6m Living Planet Fund – Global Equity and the €22.2m Living Planet Fund – Global Environment. The merger of the two funds is effective from May 7, 2013. The funds management company, which is managed from Geneva, Switzerland, by Chiew Chong, Managing Director, said the merger would give economies of scale and lower costs.

The new Impact Economy Innovations Fund (IEIF) will fund projects in Africa that promote impact investing industry infrastructure. It will be managed by the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Tony Elumelu Foundation. A request for proposals (RFP) will be issued, calling for submissions to the IEIF that align with the Fund’s goal of catalyzing collective action and regional market development across Africa. Announcement

The Green Century Balanced Fund, which invests in both the equities and bonds of environmentally responsible and sustainable US companies, has announced that it is 49.5% less carbon intensive than the S&P 500 Index – “without compromising financial returns”. The fund, sub-advised by Trillium Asset Management on behalf of Green Century Capital Management, was analysed by carbon research firm Trucost, which compared the carbon emissions/revenue of the portfolio companies with those in the S&P 500. The fund is managed by Trillium’s Cheryl Smith, Stephanie Leighton and Matthew Patsky and has returned an average of 8.41% a year over 10 years.

The Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation (CWCF) has pledged founding support for a proposed new Cooperative Investment Fund that would provide cooperatives with access to capital. It’s envisioned the fund would launch later in 2013.The newly launched Huntington EcoLogical Strategy exchange traded fund (ETF) has returned 16.66% since its inception in June last year. The $9.4m NYSE Arca-listed fund is managed by Senior Portfolio Manager Brian Salerno, a former analyst at the Ohio Public Pension System. It invests at least 80% of its assets into ecologically focused companies. Its largest holdings are eBay, Hain Celestial, Whole Foods Market, Qualcomm and Borg-Warner. Link

Creative Investment Research, the Washington DC-based socially responsible investments firm, says its Diversity Index Portfolio, containing US companies with strong records on inclusion and diversity, has returned 35.13% over a period of just under two years to the end of March. This compares to an 18.14% return for the S&P 500 over the same time. The firms are chosen on four key measures: human capital, CEO commitment, corporate communications, and supplier diversity.

BNP Paribas, the French bank, has launched a new Luxembourg-domiciled water fund. BNP Paribas L1 Equity World AQUA is managed by Impax Asset Management and is a feeder fund of BNP Paribas AQUA. BNP Paribas L1 Equity World AQUA invests via the master fund in companies active on the entire value chain water. It has been granted the LuxFLAG Environment Label. Release

Index and ESG firm MSCI has been admitted to the Calvert Social Index, run by US sustainable fund firm of the same name. Calvert said MSCI “now meets the Index’s standards for governance and ethics”.

Canada’s London Community Foundation in Ontario has introduced a new social investment programme called the Loan Fund, which turns donations into capital loans for groups and individuals developing affordable housing.