Responsible Funds, Sept. 26: New low carbon indices using SASB classification launched

The round-up of responsible funds news

Sustainalytics, the ESG research firm, says it has created a framework for UK charitable housing association Cross Keys Homes’ new £150m (€192m) ESG bond to finance sustainable social housing projects. Sustainalytics’ bond framework provides criteria for the use of proceeds, management of proceeds and reporting on allocations.

Hermes Investment Management, the UK fund firm owned by the BT Pension Scheme, has teamed up with Hong Kong-based CSOP Asset Management to launch what’s claimed to be the first Chinese A shares UCITS vehicle accessing China’s ‘sunshine managers’- or ‘star’ private fund managers. The managers run unconstrained portfolios for high net worth and institutional investors. CSOP is acting as the investment manager, whilst Hermes is investment adviser.

Social Ventures Australia’s Social Impact Fund delivered a 7.2% (annualized) return to investors over the year to 30 June 2014. The fund, which started in 2012 with the help of a government grant, has assets of A$8.6m, and has committed A$2.7m to date. The social impact of the fund’s investments includes the creation of 65 jobs for indigenous Australians and 243 children at risk of social exclusion joining playgroups.

Novethic, the French media and research firm for the responsible investing industry, has published a list of the 118 funds it has certified with its SRI label this year. The Novethic SRI Label rates the ESG practices of companies and the impact of its activities. It said that this year’s awardees demonstrated increasingly robust SRI qualities. Link

The Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and other US environmental groups have announced that they are adding fossil fuel free mutual funds from Green Century Capital Management to their retirement plans. “Individuals can tap the power of their wallets to promote a fossil fuel-free economy and we wanted to make it easier for our staff to be part of this growing movement,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “Companies that depend on fossil fuels for future earnings are simply a bad investment,” said Brune. Link

The board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US development finance institution, has approved a $100m commitment to Emerging Capital Partners’ Africa Fund IV. This fund, selected from OPIC’s second global engagement call for proposals, is intended to provide expansion capital to high-growth companies throughout Africa.The UK bank Barclays has launched an exchange-traded note (ETN) on the New York Stock Exchange which tracks up to 100 companies that recruit people with disabilities as employees and/or specialise in that particular customer group. Its ‘Return on Disability ETN began trading on September 11. “Investors are increasingly looking for ways to invest in socially responsible themes and therefore these products provide a market-based approach to help catalyse change,” said Sue Meirs, Barclays’ Director in Equities and Funds Structured Markets. It follows Barclays’ launch of a ‘Women in Leadership’ ETN earlier this year. Announcement

The Impact Investment Exchange Asia (IIX), the Singapore based group which facilitates capital for social enterprises, has launched a US$10m Action on Women’s Impact Bond (WIB). The bond will fund loans to social enterprises working towards clean cook-stove initiatives to protect women from air pollution and create employment. IIX will be collaborating with law firm Shearman & Sterling who will be working on the legal aspect of the bond issuance.


Solactive, the Frankfurt-based index firm, has launched a family of Low Carbon Indices that is based on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) Sustainable Industry Classification System and verified by carbon screening firm South Pole Carbon. The series, which Solactive is launching in partnership with Corporate Knights Capital, ensures a minimum 50% reduction in carbon intensity against the market benchmarks. In March, Solactive launched what it said is the first green bond index.

Regional broadcaster, Channel NewsAsia, in partnership with CSR Asia and Sustainalytics, has launched the Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking for Asia’s top businesses at the CSR Summit in Hong Kong. The first of its kind in Asia, the ranking identifies leading firms in corporate sustainability across 10 Asian economies. The index lists the Top 100 companies with the highest sustainability performance.

Echelon Corporation, which develops home automation systems, and PSI AG, which develops software for utilities and infrastructure, have been removed from the NASDAQ OMX Clean Edge Smart Grid Infrastructure Index as a result of its semi-annual evaluation. Four firms will be added: NEC Corp, Panasonic Corp, EnerSys, and Saft Groupe SA.