Responsible Funds, Nov. 27: BNP Paribas, EIB, CNP Assurances, AXA IM, Erste, J. Safra Sarasin

The round-up of the latest responsible funds news

BNP Paribas Investment Partners says it has increased its commitment to a low carbon environment through publishing the carbon footprint of 26 funds in its international Parvest range – in accordance with commitment to the Montreal Carbon Pledge. It has also published a coal-free investment policy that it has applied to the €14bn of assets in its open-ended SRI funds.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Dutch cooperative bank Rabobank have teamed up to provide €50m in impact loans to Dutch small to midsize enterprises (SMEs). According to the banks, owners of the SMEs who “demonstrably display corporate social responsibility and wish to make sustainable investments” in their business would be eligible for a discount of 1.2% on the interest rate for the loans.

Erste Asset Management, the Vienna-based fund firm, has for the first time published the cumulative CO2 footprint of its equity funds. At 70.6%, the footprint falls nearly 30% short of the benchmark index, the MSCI World, Erste says. “By publishing this key figure we show to what extent our investments contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases,” said CIO Gerold Permoser. Erste also offers three sustainable flagship equity funds (Erste Responsible Stock America, Erste Responsible Stock Global and Erste Responsible Stock Europe).

CHORUS Clean Energy, the German newly listed renewable fund provider, has acquired the 11.4MW Appeln wind park in Lower Saxony. Including debt finance, CHORUS said its investment in the park totalled €21m. Located near Cuxhaven, Appeln will be connected to the grid next month. CHORUS now owns and operates 68 wind and solar parks with a combined capacity of 265MW.

J. Safra Sarasin’s JSS OekoSar Equity – Global fund, which invests at least two thirds of its net assets in equities of companies that make a “significant contribution to environmentally and socially responsible business practices”, has returned 8.26% in the year to the end of October. The benchmark (MSCI World) return was 11.08%. The €159m, Luxembourg-domiciled fund is managed by Arthur Hoffmann.French insurance group CNP Assurances has partnered with boutique infrastructure firm Meridiam to launch the Meridiam Transition fund. It will target projects in the field of energy efficiency, local energy services (particularly heating networks as well as energy recovery from waste), power and gas grids and innovative renewable energies. Frédéric Lavenir, CEO of CNP Assurances, said: “CNP Assurances took the initiative of launching this green infrastructure fund, which is designed to invest in local projects in France and which could soon reach €500m.”

AXA Investment Managers plans to launch a second impact investment fund of funds for Australia’s institutional market. According to the Financial Standard, the fund is being created in part due to an expectation of growing demand among pension schemes. “Over time we will see that some superannuation schemes will follow what we’ve been seeing happening with endowments and charities, as owners of capital create a dedicated pocket for impact investment,” said Matt Christensen, Head of Responsible Investment at AXA IM.

The European Investment Bank is currently appraising a €75m investment in Credit Cooperatif Energy Efficiency, from the French mutually-owned bank active in the ‘Social Economy’. The EIB said: “This framework loan will finance small-scale investments targeting energy efficiency measures mainly undertaken by private sector entities.” The promoter would be able to support its clients in their search for energy performance driven by the adoption in France of the law on energy transition in 2015.

The Securities Commission Malaysia has released an updated list of Shariah-compliant securities approved by its Shariah Advisory Council. It features a total of 667 Shariah-compliant securities, or some 74% of the total 901 listed securities on Bursa Malaysia. The list includes 35 newly classified Shariah-compliant securities and excludes 39 from the previous list issued in May 2015.

Renovate America, a provider of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in the US, says it has launched the nation’s first-ever green bonds securitizing PACE bonds. ESG research firm Sustainalytics analyzed the product’s adherence to green bond principles. Morgan Stanley acted as underwriter for the bond. Link