Responsible Funds, Nov. 8: Impax, Willis Towers Watson, Leaf Clean Energy, Ostrum AM, Mirova Natural Capital

The latest responsible funds developments

Sustainability specialist Impax Asset Management has reportedly won a $125m mandate to run Mercer’s Sustainable Global Equity Fund via the Impax Leaders Strategy. The Impax fund selects 40-60 stocks that make at least 20% of their cash flow from renewable energy and resource efficiency, aiming to identify mispriced companies on a number of sustainable themes.

Impax has also been selected by Danish asset manager Formuepleje to run its DKK800m (€107m) Better World Global Opportunities fund. Impax’s Global Opportunities strategy, which aims to identify companies set to benefit from the low carbon transition, will represent the fund.

Willis Towers Watson Australia has launched the Australia Global Equity Focus Fund (GEFF), a multi-manager fund that integrates ESG and “sustainable principles”. The firm has received seed funding of A$150m (€93m) for the product – its first Australian-domiciled fund – and is aimed at institutional wholesale investors – super funds, insurance companies, charities, endowments, family offices and private wealth clients. The fund combines negative screening with ESG-driven stock picking and engagement services through Hermes.

The social investment arm of The Big Issue has invested £1.5m in a lottery business that supports the UK’s hospice and charity sector. Big Issue Invest (BII)’s investment will allow St Helena Hospice to grow its in-house lottery business, to generate more income to support seven charities and 14 hospice services.Environmental investment vehicle Leaf Clean Energy Company is starting formal wind down proceedings having distributed “substantially all remaining assets” of £21.5m to shareholders. The firm has reserved £6.5m for further costs and liabilities.

Natixis Investment Managers affiliate Ostrum Asset Management has obtained French SRI labels for three thematic strategies: Euro Dividend Grower, Global New World and Global Alpha Consumer. Additional SRI labels are in progress and a full accreditation process is expected to be completed by the first half of 2020.

Mirova Natural Capital Limited, wholly-owned by Natixis-affiliate Mirova, has announced the first close of a new fund dedicated to making impact investments in the Amazon. The Althelia Biodiversity Fund Brazil (ABF Brazil) aims to deploy R$400 (US$100m) of blended finance into sustainable activities that protect, restore or otherwise improve biodiversity and community livelihoods in the Brazilian Amazon. ABF Brazil is the fourth fund launched by the Althelia range dedicated to scaling natural capital investments.

French energy firm Engie is developing a renewable energy investment fund in Australia, to be launched in the coming months, according to media reports. Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive Augustin Honorat said there was strong appetite from foreign and local infrastructure and pension funds for the fund, which he declined to put a size on. The fund will develop 2,000 MW of wind and solar farms over the next ten years.