Responsible Funds, October 25: Krawcheck’s Ellevest launches female impact portfolios

The latest responsible funds developments

Ellevest, the women-focused investment platform headed by Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of the Global Wealth & Investment Management division of Bank of America, has launched the Ellevest Intentional Impact Portfolios, focused on sustainability for women. The portfolios are separately managed equity accounts that include approximately 300 companies. The holdings are evaluated against 50 criteria across 12 focus areas based on ways in which companies’ policies, practices, and products impact women, including workplace diversity, greenhouse gas emissions and working conditions. Link

DWS, Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm, has listed an ESG exchange traded fund for emerging markets on the London Stock Exchange. The Xtrackers ESG MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF (XZEM) tracks the MSCI Emerging Market ESG Leaders Low Carbon Ex Tobacco Involvement index. The selection process includes a screen based on ESG requirements and another based on carbon emissions.

Circulate Capital is to receive $15m in funding from Chevron Phillips for its strategy for combating ocean plastic in South and Southeast Asia. Launched in late 2018 with backing from large consumer goods and chemical companies, the fund is expected to make its first investment by the end of 2019. Circulate Capital aims to blend institutional capital with concessionary and philanthropic funds to finance circular supply chains that can recapture plastic resources at scale while preventing the flow of plastic pollution into the ocean.

Scotiabank has launched a structured product with the EURO STOXX 50 ESG-X as an underlying index – the first Principal Protected Note (PPN) in Canada linked to the STOXX ESG-X indices. The index uses a free-float market cap weighting similar to the highly traded Eurozone benchmark index, using Sustainalytics data to screen out companies that are in contravention of the UN Global Compact Principles or are involved in controversial weapons activities.Trillium has announced that its Global Equity strategy, one of the US firm’s three fossil fuel free investment products, is 55% less carbon intense than its benchmark, as the strategy enters its 20th year. Benchmarked against the MSCI All-Country World Index, the strategy avoids the energy sector while seeking to maximize investor return with a team experienced in evaluating fundamental financial metrics and ESG factors.

Cazenove Capital, the UK wealth manager owned by listed fund firm Schroders, has launched five actively managed sustainable model portfolios designed to contribute to social and environmental change. The funds, which have been launched on the firm’s three-year anniversary of its model portfolio service, invest across a “wide range” of assets and offer exposure to varying risk-return levels: Cautious, Balanced, Growth, Aggressive and Equity Risk. All portfolios invest “across the sustainability spectrum including ESG Integrated, Responsible, Screened and Social Impact strategies”.

The US’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Ford Foundation, and Citi Inclusive Finance have teamed up on a $100m loan guarantee facility for financing companies providing vital services in low-income communities in emerging markets. Announced during the 2019 SOCAP Conference, Scaling Enterprise aims to facilitate growth financing to companies expanding access to finance, agriculture, energy, affordable housing, water and sanitation.

Impact investor Global Partnerships’ Impact-First Development Fund (IFDF) has reached $55m at first close, with $50m anchor investment from the OPIC and catalytic funding from Ceniarth, the WK Kellogg Foundation and Global Partnerships. The IFDF, which has first-loss protection and can scale up to $70m, will invest in a portfolio of high-impact social enterprises, with a focus on Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa.

The Green Climate Fund, which was set up to help developing nations deal with global warming, has received ‘replenishment’ pledges from 27 countries for $9.8bn, exceeding the $9.3bn announced at the fund’s previous pledging conference in 2014. The UK, France, Germany, Japan and Sweden are the top contributors.