Responsible Funds, May 4: New Sparinvest ethical emerging markets fund

The round-up of responsible funds news

Sparinvest, the Luxembourg-based fund manager, has launched two emerging market value equity funds – one with and one without negative ethical screening. The funds will be co-managed by Kasper Billy Jacobsen and David Orr. “Investors in both new funds will benefit from the fact that Sparinvest routinely considers environmental, social and governance risks” as part of its analysis, the firm said.

Meanwhile, Sparinvest’s €120.63m Ethical Global Value fund is up 12.06% in the first quarter, compared to its benchmark MSCI World’s 8.75% increase. The fund uses norm-based and sector-based ethical screening from Ethix SRI Advisers.

A new sustainable exchange traded fund (ETF) is set for launch on May 25 by Maryland-based investment firm AdvisorShares. The Global Echo ETF (GIVE) will support the Global Echo Foundation, a charitable foundation co-founded by Philippe Cousteau. Link

Ludgate Environmental Fund Ltd., the AIM-listed cleantech in Investment Company, has announced three new investments in biomass, anaerobic digestion and waste heat recovery. It put £7m (€8.6m) into anaerobic firm Tamar Energy alongside RIT Capital Partners, the Duchy of Cornwall, Fajr Capital and others. Ludgate is also leading a £5.3m financing of Germany-based waste heat recovery company, Micropelt GmbH. And £3.1m is going to Scotland’s Ignis Biomass.

Sustainable forestry investment firm FIM Services has finished fundraising for its Sustainable Timber & Energy LP fund after raising £20.2m (€24.9m). The fund now has total assets of over £65m and is invested in 55 forestry properties and two Scottish windfarms. Link*The Fairtrade Access Fund* is a new initiative between social investment firm Incofin Investment Management, Fairtrade International and the Grameen Foundation to give loans and technical support to Fairtrade farmers. The fund will also offer access to information on Fairtrade certification practices, crop management and localised market information via their mobile phones.

The ING Invest Sustainable Equity fund, the Luxembourg-domiciled €114.23m fund, has returned 10.16% so far this year – against a benchmark return of 7.16%. Over three years, it has returned 20.68% (benchmark: 20.12%). The fund invests in companies pursuing a sustainable development policy and combining respect for social principles such as human rights, non-discrimination, child labour and environmental principles.

Microinsurance investor LeapFrog has bought a majority stake in Ghana’s Express Life Insurance Company – which it said would “substantially increase financial inclusion” in the country. Backers of LeapFrog’s $135m fund include J.P. Morgan, Triodos, International Finance Corp., Germany’s KfW, the European Investment Bank, TIAACREF, FMO and Calvert. Announcement

London-listed Guernsey-domiciled forestry investor Phaunos Timber Fund has reported a $9.6m loss in 2011 compared to a $20.7m profit the year before – hit by foreign currency losses and a revaluation of its assets. Phaunos, managed by FourWinds Capital Management, said net asset value was down $36.1m to $558.8m. Phaunos and FourWinds are considering the “opportunistic disposition of assets”. Link