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Conservation NGO, WWF, exits novel Living Planet investment funds

€60m funds business transferred to Pictet-owned FundPartner Solutions.

WWF, the global wildlife and conservation NGO, has ended one of the most novel financial initiatives by a campaigning group with an exit from its relationship with the €60m Living Planet Funds. The Living Planet Fund Management Company, a subsidiary of WWF International, launched The Living Planet Funds in 2003. It was a significant move at the time for an NGO to move into the selling of investment funds where the companies invested in were aligned with the organisation’s conservation mission. The funds, which were run by third-party fund managers but marketed on behalf of WWF, included financial transparency, employment practices, workplace health and safety and the environmental impact of companies and supply chains in its investment selection process. It steered clear of companies in controversial industrial sectors such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, nuclear and fossil fuel and genetic engineering. Instead, the fund favoured well-managed companies in sectors where technology and services could contribute to resolving societal and environmental challenges. RI can reveal that from September 2, The Living Planet Fund Management Company will cease managing the €60m Living Planet Fund – Global Environment.Earlier this year, RI reported that the Living Planet Fund Management Company was merging two sub-funds, the Living Planet Fund – Global Equity and the Living Planet Fund – Global Environment into one fund under the latter name. The merger of the two funds was effective from May 7, 2013. The management of the fund will now be transferred to FundPartner Solutions, a 100% owned Luxembourg-based subsidiary of Swiss funds group, Pictet, with the asset management carried out by Pictet Asset Management and Coninco, the Swiss fund manager. The fund’s name will be changed to the One Sustainable Fund. The Living Planet Fund Management Company, which will now be wound up, had been run from Geneva, Switzerland, by Chiew Chong, Managing Director, a well known figure in RI circles and the instigator of the Living Planet concept. Chong told RI that although WWF has decided to leave the funds business, he was pleased that the Living Planet fund will continue under a new name and new management. He said the fund was expected to reach €100m by the end of next year. Chong is not staying with the new fund set up, but said that he will remain in the sustainable finance field and is currently considering future opportunities.