Fund Solutions

This Week’s Fund News: Federated Hermes Partners with UK Museum on Biodiversity

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news about funds designed to meet sustainable investing criteria, including Federated Hermes, SLM Partners, DIF, PGGM, MEAG and Future Planet Capital.  

Global asset manager Federated Hermes has launched a Biodiversity Equity fund, with insights from the UK’s Natural History Museum. Managed by Ingrid Kukuljan, the firm’s Head of Impact and Sustainable Investing, the fund is classified as Article 9 under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). The fund aims to achieve long-term capital appreciation by investing in a concentrated portfolio of companies working to preserve and restore biodiversity. “Together we can bend the curve of biodiversity loss and create a world in which both people and planet can thrive,” said Dr Doug Gurr, the Natural History Museum’s Director. The Biodiversity Equity theme covers six key themes: land pollution, marine pollution and exploitation, unsustainable living, climate change, unsustainable farming, and deforestation. Each theme also considers multiple sub-themes aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will also be informed by the Natural History Museum’s science-led metric, the Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII) to estimate the loss of biodiversity across an area using available land use, ecosystem, species and population data. This would calculate the area’s ‘intactness’, which is the percentage of the area’s natural ecological community that still persists there. “The negative impacts of biodiversity loss pose a systemic risk to the global economy and we must stop taking nature’s permanence for granted,” said Kukuljan. “We believe now is a crucial moment to invest in the companies that help mitigate biodiversity decline. We are gaining critical knowledge by using the [Natural History Museum’s] data.” 

SLM Partners’ Silva Europe fund has completed an investment in a 300-hectare property in Murcia, Span, to plant 130 hectares of new almond and pistachio orchards that will be rainfed and irrigated. SLM Partners is an asset manager which specialises in sustainable land and real assets. The fund acquires or leases land and aims to introduce ecological and organic management practices, in order to develop an overall “climate positive” portfolio of assets delivering on net zero targets. This latest investment partnership will focus on implementing regenerative practices, including planting cover crops between trees rows, minimising tillage and using composts and biological fertilisers. “We hope this farm will become a showcase for regenerative organic production of tree crops in Spain,” said João Roseiro, SLM Partners’ Agronomy Director for Iberia. “We will be measuring the impacts on soil health, carbon sequestration and biodiversity over the next 10 years.” 

Independent fund manager DIF Capital Partners has made an agreement with Dutch pension fund provider PGGM’s infrastructure fund to acquire Fudura, a subsidiary of Enexis Groep. “Fudura’s pioneering role in the energy transition in the Netherlands fits seamlessly with DIF’s ambitions to accelerate these trends even further and to have a CO2-neutral investment portfolio by 2050 the latest,” said Gijs Voskuyl, Head of Infrastructure at DIF. PGGM and DIF will both acquire 50% of the shares, adding the company to their investment portfolios that are contributing to the Dutch energy transition. “Fudura fits perfectly into PGGM’s strategy to make long-term investments for our clients, including Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn, which are not only financially attractive, but also have a positive impact on our society,” said Erik van de Brake, Head of Infrastructure at PGGM. Fudura offers services to companies seeking solutions for energy efficiency, security and CO2 neutrality. 

MEAG, the asset manager of Munich Re and ERGO, has completed the investment phase for its Infrastructure Debt Fund I. In the three years following the final closing, the fund has committed €661 million to investments in European infrastructure debt that have demonstrated a strong risk-return profile. “It is very important to our customers that the money they invest starts generating returns quickly. In order to be able to select the right assets and quickly build a balanced and diversified investment portfolio for them, you need great access to the market,” said Holger Kerzel, Global Head of Illiquid Assets at MEAG.  

Future Planet Capital, an international venture capital and impact investor, has closed a €20 million Blue Ocean mandate. With support from Barclays Private Bank and partnering with the Prince Albert II Monaco Foundation and the Monaco Government, the mandate will invest in a portfolio of ten to 15 high-impact companies’ profitably tackling key issues within the blue economy. It will focus on three areas: preventing pollution, preservation of marine environments and ecosystems, and sustainable marine productivity. “This is a critical task if we are to mitigate the increasing challenge the planet faces today including the climate crisis and biodiversity loss,” said Douglas Hansen-Luke, Executive Chairman at Future Planet Capital.  

The practical information hub for asset owners looking to invest successfully and sustainably for the long term. As best practice evolves, we will share the news, insights and data to guide asset owners on their individual journey to ESG integration.

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