Responsible Funds, Dec. 2: the round-up of ESG funds news

RI’s regular look at responsible funds news

The Vontobel Global Trend Clean Technology fund generated a positive return of 6.9%, against a positive return of 6.1% from the MSCI World Index in October, according to fund documents. It put it down to positive returns from stock selection, particularly in the capital goods sector.

The GAM Star GEOUSD fund, which invests in companies that are providing solutions to, or benefit from, the sustainable economy, gained 11.3% in October, buoyed by a recovery in the global renewable energy sector and strong performance in the energy efficiency and railways sectors. The $18.3m fund is managed by Paul Udall.

The Ludgate Environmental Fund, the AIM-listed investment fund with £56.3m in assets under management, has redeemed 1.1m shares in New Earth Recycling & Renewables, the £90m open-ended fund set up to finance the recycling facilities of New Earth Solutions Group Ltd.

The Cleantech Infrastructure Fund from Zurich-based funds firm ThomasLloyd is seeking to build on its role in the 70MW solar installation in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The fund invests in late stage development and construction financing of solar photovoltaic facilities. ThomasLloyd focuses on renewables and cleantech and has more than US$2.4bn in assets under management.

The Standard Life Assurance Co. of Canada says employers can now add socially responsible investment (SRI) funds to investment options for any Standard Life group savings and retirement plan. It will now offer four individual Meritas SRI Funds for group savings and retirement plans. The move means “it will be the first time that group plan members can choose socially responsible investments tailored to their own unique risk profile and time to retirement”. Link*Investec Ltd. and the European Investment Bank* have agreed to start a €100m renewable energy fund in South Africa, according to reports. The facility would fund proven technologies such as wind, wave, gas and biofuels, Bloomberg News reported. It “allows us to treat smaller projects with the same project management finance methodology” as large projects,” Investec Project and Infrastructure Finance Manager Fazel Moosa was quoted saying.
UK sharia-compliant funds firm Solum Asset Management will launch an “investment sukuk” in the first quarter of 2012, according to a Reuters report citing CEO Safdar Alam. The move will treat Islamic bonds as investment vehicles rather than debt, Alam, the former head of Islamic finance at J.P. Morgan, also plans a £200m UK Social Housing Investment Sukuk in 2012 and an up to £1bn Global Islamic Liquidity Investment Sukuk in 2013.

The Akuo Investment SICAR and other funds advised by Akuo Investment Management have helped parent Akuo Group reach $1bn in renewable energy infrastructure projects. Akuo, a private French producer of electricity from renewable energy founded in 2008, said it has acquired Broussan and Château, two solar farms with total installed capacity of 5.89 MW located in the Gard region of France. Link
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has set up a £90m onshore wind community investment fund. The Scotland Sustainable Energy fund is in addition to the £150m SSE has already committed to support community projects in Scotland over the 25-year projected lifetime of the company’s existing and planned wind farms.