Responsible Funds, May 24: Australia’s Climate Advocacy Fund changes name/focus

The round-up of responsible funds news

The A$14.5m (€10.8m) Climate Advocacy Fund from Australian Ethical is changing its name to reflect a broadening of its focus. The fund, which has put a series shareholder resolutions on carbon emissions, will drop its “cumbersome and costly” structure of nominees in favour of working with other institutional investors, retail shareholders and advocacy groups. As of July 1, the fund will be known as the Advocacy Fund, and the investment style will shift to investing in the firm’s actively managed Larger Companies Trust – leading to a management fee increase from 1.1% to 2.2%. “These changes to the fund will improve our ability to bring about corporate change through active ownership on a broader range of ethical issues,” says Adam Kirk, Australian Ethical’s General Manager, Client Relationships. The fund returned 9.1% in the quarter to the end of March.

Commodities specialist Diapason Commodities Management is to launch a forestry fund aimed at the pension fund and institutional investor market. The ForestCare Investment Fund will cover forest plantations as well as forest management, wood production and processing. All investments will be subject to a strict environmental, social and governance (ESG) filter. Link

Tom LaSorda, the former chief executive of green carmaker Fisker Automotive and of Chrysler Group LLC, is reportedly launching a venture capital fund to invest in clean energy, medical, healthcare, transportation and information applications. The IncWell fund is being launched with motor racing figure Roger Penske, Reuters reported.

Fund firm Invesco’s PowerShares Canada arm is terminating its PowerShares Global Clean Energy Class at the end of July. Its part of a range of mutual fund closures including Global Gold and Precious Metals, Global Water, Golden Dragon China, India and QQQ.The Center for Responsible Business at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley has launched a campaign to raise the capital of the student-run Haas Socially Responsible Investment Fund (HSRIF) to $15m from the current $2m. One of the objectives is to make the fund large enough to fully fund the center’s annual operating budget – “thus becoming a real-life model of a non-profit that is self-sustaining in the long run”, according to a Haas School newsletter.

Triodos Renewables, the UK-based company which invests in sustainable energy, has joined Ethex, the new online marketplace for positive investments. Triodos Renewables, part of the wider Triodos banking group, is the twelfth investment product to be added to Ethex since it launched in January 2013. Investments are available in renewable energy, ethical finance, fair trade, social property, and community investments.

The Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF), a compartment of the European Initiative on Clean, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change related to Development SICAVSIF, has been granted the LuxFLAG Environment Label. Eight environment funds have been granted the label from the Luxembourg body, accounting for around $827m in assets.

Investments in the UK’s forestry assets have hit new highs, with three- year returns rising to 23.9% in 2012 – equating to a minimum outperformance of 14% against bonds (9.9%), equities (6.7%) and commercial property (8.7%), according to the IPD UK Annual Forestry Index. Link

Computer maker Dell and communications firm Motorola Solutions are among six companies removed from the NASDAQ OMX CRD Global Sustainability Index. Other deletions include EMC Corp., Reed Elsevier, STMicroelectronics and Wipro Ltd. Additions include Albemarle Corp., Air Products and Chemicals, CRH, Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Praxair and Vale SA.