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Responsible Funds, Aug. 11: New impact fund launched for sustainable fisheries

The latest responsible funds news

The Meloy Fund I, a new impact investment fund dedicated to helping coastal fishers transition to more sustainable practices, has announced a $10m first close. It targets $20m of debt and equity investment in support of millions of artisan fishers in Indonesia and the Philippines. The 10-year fund’s investors include family offices, investment managers and foundations. Rare, a global conservation organization, is the Managing Member of the General Partner. Lukas Walton will have a significant interest in the Meloy Fund via the Lukas Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation of the US retail dynasty.

Hampshire College, which claims to have been fossil free since 2011, says its average five-year investment returns have performed better (6.4%) than the average return of the more than 800 colleges tracked by both NACUBO Commonfund Study (5.4%) and Bloomberg Endowment Index (4.5%) [NACUBO is the National Association of College and University Business Officers]. “Our policy has worked for the college both educationally and financially,” write Dick Hurd and Jonathan Lash. Hurd is a trustee of Hampshire College and an investment manager and director of research at Mayo Capital Partners in Boston. Lash is the president of Hampshire College, and former president of the World Resources Institute and co-chair of President Bill Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development.

The National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) has announced four new impact ETF investments to its donor-advised fund investment menu. They include the iShares Sustainable MSCI Global Impact that is composed of global companies furthering the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF. Eileen Heisman, President and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust, said: “There is a lot of interest in and research on impact investments right now. We want to honor our donors’ desire to create a double bottom line by investing their donor-advised fund assets to generate a social and financial return.” NPT currently manages $4.3bn in charitable assets.

US-based investment manager Brown Advisory has launched the Brown Advisory Sustainable Bond Fund. It will be managed by senior portfolio manager, Thomas D.D. Graff, CFA and is supported by fixed income ESG research analyst Amy Hauter. Brown Advisory currently manages $3.5bn for clients under ESG or sustainable mandates.UniSuper, the A$60bn (€40bn) fund for Australia’s higher education and research sector, is appointing an active strategy for its formerly passive sustainable investment option, according to reports. It means the Global Environmental Opportunities (GEO) choice will be internalised and the MSCI ESG Research Sustainable Impact Metrics database will be adopted for portfolio construction. “Our members are unique, they are highly educated, deeply engaged and can be focused on the impact of their investment choices and broader environmental issues,” Unisuper’s manager of governance and sustainable investment, Talieh Williams, was quoted as saying.

Members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility who are investors in the oil and gas sector strongly urge the Environmental Protection Agency to follow through with immediate implementation of 2016 regulations to control methane leaks from fracking operations in natural gas production. As the EPA considers a stay on certain requirements of the Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources for the Oil and Gas Sector, faith and values investors made their case against any delays at an EPA hearing on July 10 and again in a letter signed by 67 institutions representing $292bn sent to the EPA’s Peter Tsirigotis, Director of the Policies and Programs Division.

Social investment in the UK is worth at least £1.95bn, according to Big Society Capital. Research conducted by Nick Benton, Data & Management Information Controller, at Big Society Capital also finds that its own social investment portfolio outstanding at the end of 2016 was £142m or £467m when including co-investors.

Arabesque, the quant ESG house chaired by former UN Global Compact head Georg Kell, says its Arabesque Prime offering returned +2.07% during July while its Systematic fund returned +2.28% — while the benchmark, the MSCI ACWI, returned +2.79%. August 1 marked the funds’ three-year track record. Since inception in August 2014, Prime has returned +17.91% whilst Systematic has returned +24.87%.

The Australian government has announced a set of principles it will follow in developing the country’s impact investing market. It follows a consultation on its approach to social impact investing. In an announcement from Scott Morrison, Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, he outlines six principles the government will follow with regard to the social impact investing market, including impact measurement and co-design with stakeholders. He also reaffirmed the governments A$30m commitment to the Australian social impact investing market, including an A$8m social impact investment readiness fund.