Fund Solutions

This Week’s Fund News: Robeco Introduces SDG-Aligned Indices

ESG Investor’s weekly round-up of news about funds designed to meet sustainable investing criteria, including Robeco, Brunel, Jupiter, Mirova, ECBF, EQT, Actis and AlbaCore. 

Dutch asset manager Robeco’s new Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Low-Carbon Indices aim to invest in companies making a positive contribution to the SDGs. The solution combines index investing and sustainable investing as an alternative to passive market cap indices, while ensuring maximum transparency for clients, the firm said. “By using input from the SDG Framework, the indices differentiate between climate laggards and climate leaders,” said Lucian Peppelenbos, Climate Strategist at Robeco. “Climate leaders are companies that might have a relatively high carbon footprint based on their current and past emissions, but are driving green innovations and are therefore essential in the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Robeco’s SDG Framework, which identifies companies positively contributing to people’s wellbeing and environmental sustainability, has been used in the firm’s management of fixed income and equity strategies since 2018. “We expect this to grow further as the world moves towards positive impact and the sustainable indices are an innovative investment solution for those investors looking to make this move,” said Jan Anton van Zanten, SDG Strategist at Robeco. 

UK local government pension scheme Brunel Pension Partnership has appointed asset managers Jupiter and Mirova as additional co-managers on its Sustainable Equities portfolio. “It is clear to us that capital allocation has the potential to play an impactful role in addressing urgent environmental and social systemic challenges, and we look forward to working together with Brunel to achieve positive stakeholder outcomes,” said Abbie Llewellyn-Waters, Head of Sustainable Investing at Jupiter. Launched in 2020 and focused on listed equities, the portfolio has amassed £2.5 billion in AUM and aims to place ESG considerations at the forefront of the investment process. “At Mirova, we recognise that investors are aligning their beliefs with their investment outcomes, allocating capital to sustainable investment solutions,” said Jens Peers, CEO and CIO at Mirova US. 

The European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) has raised €300 million in investments. Initially targeting €250 million, the fund has seen investments from Allianz France, Bellevue Investments and more. Classified as Article 9 under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR), the fund will invest in companies with high economic potential in the bioeconomy and bio-based circular economy sectors. All potential investments will be screen for ESG criteria. “We are very pleased to have been an anchor investor of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, which provides crucial financing for innovators in the bioeconomy sector,” said Christian Kettel Thomsen, Vice President of the European Investment Bank. “From water stress management solutions, to insect-based ingredients or the valorisation of orange peels that would otherwise go to waste, the first investments made by the fund show the potential of the bioeconomy sector to help address the environmental challenges of our time and contribute to the European Union’s transition to a carbon-neutral and circular economy.”

Sweden-based private equity firm EQT’s Infrastructure V fund has acquired InstaVolt, a UK-based operator and owner of electric vehicle (EV) charge points, from Zouk Capital. Current InstaVolt partners include McDonald’s and Costa Coffee. The fund will invest capital to accelerate InstaVolt’s expansion of charge points across the UK, supporting its mission to roll out 10,000 rapid EV chargers by 2032. Zouk Capital, as the founding investor, is now exiting following its establishment of the company’s management team in 2016. “InstaVolt is essential to the roll-out of EV charging infrastructure across the UK, a prerequisite for enabling mass adoption of EVs,” said Anna Sundell, Head of EQT Infrastructure’s UK advisory team. 

Global sustainable infrastructure investor Actis has secured an impact-linked revolving subscription credit facility for its Actis Energy 5 fund. It features a hybrid format combining both eligibility criteria for projects that can be funded by the facility, overcoming the limitations of existing impact-linked structures by directing loan proceeds to projects delivering social and environmental improvement. Outcomes will be assessed using the Actis Impact Score methodology. The fund recently closed with US$6 billion of investable capital. “This new credit facility represents the latest in the evolution of sustainability-linked financing, charting a new course when it comes to financing private market investments in the energy sector,” said Shami Nissan, Head of Sustainability at Actis. “It will mean our latest energy fund is fully incentivised to invest in a just and equitable energy transition, and that these investments deliver meaningful positive impact for the environment and society, and further support our mission of transforming infrastructure for a better tomorrow.” 

AlbaCore Capital Group, a European credit specialist, has launched a new Carbon Conscious Investing (CCI) solution that will provide greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting for its corporate credit portfolio. Developed in-house, the model and methodology aim to reflect the portfolio’s emissions across all scenarios, including when public data is not available, and is integrated into the firm’s risk system. “Our aim is to engage more investors on the GHG footprint of their investments, and to consider their portfolios’ carbon-adjusted returns as part of their overall analysis,” said Matthew Courey, AlbaCore COO. The CCI solution will provide externally verified quarterly reporting on the portfolio’s emissions. 

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