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Responsible Funds, March 1: ACCR, Handelsbanken, BNY Mellon, M&G, Investec, BlackRock

The round-up of the latest responsible funds developments

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has now filed climate resolutions at Woodside Petroleum and Santos after being backed by shareholders. The shareholder advocacy group needed the support of 100 shareholders by today to file the resolutions, which call on the energy firms to disclose how they align with the Paris Climate Agreement and review their industry associations.

Two Handelsbanken funds are dropping their existing indices with MSCI and Bloomberg Barclays, opting instead for indices in the Solactive ISS ESG Screened Index Series released earlier this month. Handelsbanken’s two fund management companies, Handelsbanken Fonder AB and Xact Kapitalförvaltning AB are the first to adopt the index family, which tracks various size and regional segments of global capital markets, including only companies operating with market standards on ESG controversy screens.

BNY Mellon Investment Management has launched an unconstrained dynamic bond strategy. The BNY Mellon Sustainable Global Dynamic Bond fund will be run by its London-based subsidiary Newton Investment Management and is the fourth fund in Newton IM’s sustainable range. The actively-managed fixed income portfolio invests exclusively in holdings that adhere to Newton IM’s sustainability criteria.

Dutch-based impact investor Pymwymic has been registered as a fund manager under the European Social Entrepreneurship Fund (EuSEF) regime aimed at facilitating EU-wide investment in social ventures. The EuSEF label, which started in 2013 and identifies funds that invest in social businesses, has had slow uptake with only 11 funds registered. This compares with 241 funds registered with EuVECA, the European Venture Capital Funds regime aimed.

BlackRock has reportedly launched
the iShares Electric Vehicles and Driving Technology UCITS ETF (ECAR), an exchange traded fund tracking firms in EV production. The fund will track Stoxx Global Electric Vehicles & Driving Technology index, which is composed of 96 companies that manufacture electric cars, batteries and car parts.

Investec Asset Management has launched a new strategy which will invest in companies supporting the shift towards decarbonisation. The Investec Global Environment Fund, which will be managed by Deirdre Cooper and Graeme Baker, has a universe of around 700 companies with a total market cap of at least $7trn. Selection for the portfolio is based on screening for environmental revenues and the measurement of ‘carbon avoided’.The Craftory, the $300m investment firm based in London and San Francisco, has led a $30m fund raising providing over 60% of the capital raised for investment in NotCo, a Chilean food technology business making plant-based replacements for mayonnaise, milk, ice cream, meat and other animal-based products. Jeff Bezos’ family office, Bezos Expeditions, alongside existing investors Kaszek Ventures and IndieBio also participated in the fund raising round. NotCo was founded by biotech guru Matías Muchnick, biochemist Pablo Zamora and former computer scientist Karim Pichara and uses a machine AI platform to analyse molecular structures to create food combinations derived only from plant-based ingredients.

India’s first ESG fund has been launched by Avendus Capital’s alternate asset management arm, Avendus Capital Public Markets Alternate Strategies. The Avendus India ESG Fund, which will invest in Indian listed equities based on ESG factors, is looking to raise $1bn from domestic and international markets and planned to close its first domestic tranche of investment by the end of last month.

M&G Investments has unveiled
a multi-asset fund for UK investors, which integrates ESG factors and invests in firms aiming to have a positive social impact. Managed by Maria Municchi with the support of deputy fund manager Steven Andrew, the M&G Sustainable Allocation fund will invest globally in a range of asset classes. It will use internal, and third-party, screening of ESG-rated companies and screen out firms violating the UN Global Compact and sectors like weapons and alcohol.

A coalition of UK impact investors, including Big Society Capital, have written to the minister for energy Claire Perry calling for the community energy sector to be part of the design of the country’s future energy system. They highlight the ‘Manifesto for Community Energy’ and call for a regulatory environment that supports community energy to survive and thrive.

The world’s sovereign wealth funds, which collectively own $8trn in assets, currently invest just 0.19% of this figure in green energy, according to a new white paper from the World Economic Forum. Thinking Strategically: Using Resource Revenues to Invest in a Sustainable Future says sovereign wealth funds have a powerful role to play in helping governments prepare for a low-carbon transition, warning that fossil-fuel-rich economies risk becoming “stranded nations” unable to realize the economic value of their carbon wealth.