Fund Solutions

This Week’s Fund News: Church Commissioners Back Sustainable Infrastructure

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news about funds designed to meet sustainable investing criteria, including Church Commissioners for England, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Newday, Gresham House, and T Rowe Price.

The Church Commissioners for England have committed €30 million to investing in European sustainable infrastructure through investment manager Pioneer Point Partners’ maiden institutional fund. The Pioneer Infrastructure Partners fund has closed at €575 million and will target climate infrastructure investments that support Europe’s energy transition and circular economy over the next ten years. The fund has completed two acquisitions to date – Altano Energy, a diversified renewables platform in Spain, and Stream Bioenergy, a biogas developer and operator in Ireland. Other investors include Texas Municipal Retirement Systems and the European Investment Fund. “We look forward to working with Pioneer’s experienced team, who have a proven track record of successful deal-by-deal transactions within the sustainable infrastructure space,” said Chris West, Head of Timberland, Infrastructure and Indirect Property at the Church Commissioners. As a member of the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, the investment commitment is part of the Church Commissioners’ commitment to meeting its portfolio’s interim decarbonisation targets on the way to reaching net zero by 2050. “This investment marks the Church Commissioners’ continued diversification into climate infrastructure projects across western Europe, and consolidates our commitment to environmental stewardship by providing a platform to support European net zero targets through investing in sustainable energy production,” said West.  

Following its acquisition by Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM), Calvert Research and Management has launched a suite of European responsible investing strategies that qualify as Article 9 under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). The suite of six funds offers investors access to companies with strong ESG characteristics that will deliver strong long-term financial returns while ensuring positive global impact. The six funds include the Sustainable Developed Europe Equity Select, Sustainable Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Sustainable Climate Aligned funds. “Investors are increasingly focused on sustainability, and the launch of these new funds demonstrates our focus on delivering our clients best-in-class and market-leading products and solutions that align investor values with financial outcomes,” said Jacques Chappuis, Global Head of Distribution and Co-Head of the Solutions and Multi-Asset Group at MSIM. “European investors have a sophisticated understanding of how sustainability factors can lead to business success and Calvert has been honing this process for 40 years.” 

Newday Impact, a San Francisco-based asset management firm, has launched the Newday Ocean Health Portfolio ETF. The firm’s first ETF will invest in protecting and restoring healthy marine ecosystems, targeting companies that are tackling ocean plastic waste, supporting sustainable fisheries or combatting ocean acidification. The portfolio also aims to contribute to a number of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as clean water and sanitation, sustainable use of marine resources, and climate action. “Our Ocean Health ETF portfolio is 100% focused on companies with effective, legitimate green agendas, based on the knowledge and relationships we’ve built in our five years of impact investing,” said Doug Heske, Newday Impact CEO. “We believe that affecting positive change can also drive positive financial returns, and this fund is an opportunity for socially conscious investors to make a difference in both areas.” 

Alternative asset manager Gresham House has acquired a 25% stake in a New Zealand forest carbon portfolio focused on carbon sequestration and forest regeneration. The investment comprises of eight different forests totalling 12,000 hectares across New Zealand. The forests are expected to generate nine million verified carbon credits over the next 25 years, with the sites maintained to ensure the local ecosystems are protected. Gresham House aims to support efforts to enhance indigenous vegetation over the long-term. “To be able to meet the Paris Agreement commitments and net-zero ambitions, emission reduction targets are likely to become more stringent over time. This will create increasing demand for both mandatory and voluntary carbon credit schemes. The Gresham House carbon forestry strategy aims to capitalise on the growth of this market to provide attractive investment returns as well as making a positive contribution to tackling climate change,” said David Gardner, CIO of Forestry at Gresham House.

Global asset manager T Rowe Price Group has joined the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM). As a member of the initiative, the Baltimore-based firm commits to supporting the goal of net zero GHG emissions by 2050, through adherence to its 10 core principles, including the setting of interim 2030 targets consistent with “a fair share” of the 50% global reduction in CO2. NZAM had 236 signatories with a collective US$57.5 trillion AUM as of December 2021. “A growing number of our clients are setting net zero targets and require products that meet their needs,” said Rob Sharps, CEO and president of T Rowe Price. “Joining the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative enables us to help our clients meet their net zero ambitions in a manner compatible with our fiduciary duty to our clients.”

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