Responsible Funds, Dec 18: Goldman to launch new climate-focused ETF

The latest responsible funds news.

Goldman Sachs, the New York-based global investment bank, has reportedly
announced in a filing that it is set to launch a new climate-focused index tracking exchange-traded fund (ETF). The fund, named Goldman Sachs S&P 500 Environmental & Socially Responsible ETF, will hold stocks in S&P 500 companies that are not heavily involved in the production of coal, oil, gas, tobacco and military armaments. The announcement comes shortly after Goldman Sachs Asset Management teamed up with the New York Common Retirement Fund ($184.5bn) on a new $2bn low carbon index.

U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, the private wealth management organisation, has launched its Carbon Reserve-Free Strategy (CRF), the latest component of its Socially Innovative Investing (S2I) strategy – an active “proprietary” strategy for reviewing U.S. securities, considering both social responsibility and financial fundamentals. The CRF aims to provide investors with the opportunity to invest in a portfolio that excludes companies that own, extract, distribute and/or process carbon reserves.

Craigmore Sustainables, an investment manager of forestry and farmland properties in New Zealand, has announced the first close of its Craigmore Dairy Partnership II fund with committed capital of US $50.6. The fund, Craigmore’s third investment partnership, will make investments in the New Zealand dairy sector for the first time and will target equity of US $224m.

The AFLCIO Equity Index Fund, which is run by the US trades union, says it has filed shareholder proposals at 3M, Xerox and IBM asking these firms to exclude stock buyback programs as a metric on which to base CEO pay. According to the union, measuring CEO pay according to stock buybacks is wrong: “Big stock repurchases may prop up companies’ stock prices in the short term but hurt their survival in the long term by starving investments in capital equipment, research and development,” it said. The fund, which seeks to replicate the returns from the benchmark S&P 500, has $6.3bn in assets and 107 pension plans as investors. Link*EOS Investment Management (EOS)*, a London-based independent investment fund manager, has launched the second tranche of its Efesto Energy fund – which was originally launched in 2014 with an initial €40m tranche. Incorporated in Luxembourg as a Specialised Investment Fund (SIF), it is reported that the fund seeks to raise €60m. The fund pools together photovoltaic (PV) power plants into a single vehicle giving international investors access to Italy’s renewable energy and solar market.

The Italian Government will commit $8m to the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), the announcement being made during ministerial week at the global climate summit in Paris (10 December). SEFA, launched in 2012 and managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), is a $95m (including Italy’s contribution) multi-donor facility, funded by the governments of Denmark, the U.K and the U.S, providing grants to facilitate the development of medium-scale renewable projects in Africa.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is appraising a €400m investment in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 294MW offshore windfarm located in the North Sea, within Belgium’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The promoter of the project is Belgium-based offshore windfarm specialist, Otary NV.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), the U.K’s £48bn universities pension scheme, has sold its 8.7% stake in Impax Environmental Markets (IEM), a global fund investing in companies engaged in environmental technology, alternative energy and waste management, with assets under management of £3.1bn. As a result the Church Commissioners, The Church of England’s fund mangers, has raised its stake in IEM to 6.5% through the acquisition of two million more shares, capitalising on a £28m placing of the IEM’s 18.6 million shares.