Responsible Funds, February 10: the round-up of ESG funds news

RI’s regular look at responsible funds news

Zurich-based responsAbility Social Investments has launched what it says is the world’s first fair trade fund – reflecting its belief in investors´ growing demand for the asset class. The stated aim is “to generate a reasonable return on investment by worldwide investments mainly in fair-trade-certified producers’ and trade organizations”. The manager is Credit Suisse Funds. Link

The Public Investment Corporation, the R1trn (€99bn) asset manager of South Africa’s public sector, has invested in a new sustainable private equity fund from domestic manager Lereko Metier. The Lereko Metier Sustainable Capital Fund will target equity investments in the renewable energy, energy efficiency, water and waste sectors in South and Southern Africa. Dutch and German development finance institutions the FMO and DEG have also backed the initiative.

Sal. Oppenheim, the German private bank, has launched a new sustainable fund called Nachhaltig Aktiv OP, which will invest in companies and countries which act in a socially and environmentally way. Selection and exclusion criteria will be made by partner Hauck & Aufhäuser’s Ethics Committee. The scheduled launch data is March 1.” Link

The Unitus Seed Fund is a new venture fund investing in Indian start-up businesses with potential for large-scale poverty impact. It is an initiative of Unitus Labs, the international non-profit organisation behind the microfinance focused Unitus Equity Fund, advisory firm Unitus Capital and investment firm Unitus Impact. Release

The Indian government plans to launch the India Inclusive Innovation Fund later this year to invest in sectors such as agriculture, water, energy and healthcare, according to an Economic Times report citing government advisor Sam Pitroda.New Forests Pty Ltd., the Sydney-based sustainable forestry firm where Generation Investment Management’s David Blood is a director, has bought a Tasmanian softwood estate for the Australia New Zealand Forest Fund (ANZFF). The 46,000-hectare Taswood plantation will continue to be managed on Tasmanian Government owned land. The fund comprises Australian and international institutional investors.

Ecofin Ltd., the UK funds firm, has launched a fund in Australia for institutional investors looking for long-term growth in alternative energy, transport and water. Ecofin Australia Pty Ltd. is a long-only fund focusing on “mega-trends” like energy security, climate change, population growth, urbanisation and food and water scarcity.

The Jupiter Green Investment Trust returned 3.8% in the quarter to the end of December – compared to a return of 8.9% return for its benchmark MSCI World Small Cap Index. Highlights included global rail services business Wabtec Corp., Emcor, an electrical and mechanical construction specialist, and recycled auto-parts company LKQ Corp. Announcement

Global Environment Fund, the US private equity firm, has closed its GEF Africa Sustainable Forestry Fund at $160m, ahead of its target of $150m.

California-based Vireo Energy is targeting a $1bn close for the third vehicle of its Real Assets Energy Fund, according to a report in AltAssets. Vireo is “an ethical, green, environmentally friendly fund because the only assets we buy are renewable energy power plants” General Partner Luca Concone was quoted saying.

Warsaw-based private equity firm Enterprise Investors’ Polish Enterprise Fund VI has launched Wento – a €40m investment vehicle for Polish wind farm construction. Projects will be sold to strategic or financial investors “looking for stable, long-term profits”, it said.