Investing in SDG’s: tackling Ebola and harnessing geothermal energy

Written by Damien Lardoux on 31st May 2019

The EQ Positive Impact Portfolios invest in funds that are making a positive impact on society and the environment by investing in companies that provide solutions to real world problems. We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a way to map this impact of their products and services.

Our quarterly updates feature examples of these companies and funds; here we will focus on three examples relating to Goals 3: Good health and wellbeing; 7: Affordable and clean energy; and 10: Reduced inequalities.


SDG#3: Preventing and curing major public health threats

Some of the largest public health threats can take the form of diseases caused by exposure to harmful viruses and bacteria. Just these past years, we have witnessed thousands of lives being taken by rapid epidemics of infectious diseases like SARS, Influenza, Ebola and Zika. Both preventative actions (like the development of vaccinations) and effective countermeasures to the infected populations are necessary to control those public health threats at large.

We have already seen great successes, such as the global initiative to eradicate polio, but as new diseases are developing so must the counteractive solutions.


Example Positive Portfolio Holding: Emergent BioSolutions

Emergent BioSolutions is a speciality US biopharmaceutical company focusing on counteractive treatments and preventative measures to some of the most serious public health threats.

The company provides vaccines to infectious diseases like typhoid and cholera, and antidotes to counteract biochemical attacks on soldiers and civilians. The company’s innovative nature has made it a go-to company for urgent vaccine production in case of pandemics, illustrated in its role during the 2015 Ebola crisis.

Reflecting its focus on major public health threats and the current opioid epidemic that is straining the US healthcare system, Emergent has started to commercialise an easy-use, life saving antidote that can be given to individuals who have overdosed on heroin.


Fund in focus: Hermes Impact Opportunities

Emergent BioSolutions has received investments from Hermes Impact Opportunities which favours companies addressing unmet needs in society and making a positive impact on people and the planet.

Other companies within the fund that are leading innovation in healthcare include Illumina (producing gene sequencing technologies) and Syncona (developing immunotherapies for cancer treatment).


SDG7: Utilising energy from the Earth’s core to green the grids

Climate change, and our need to limit our Earth’s warming to 1.5°C in order to prevent the most devastating effects on the planet, drives the demand for the green energy transition. The UK government, for example, plans to have ‘netzero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Some of the most well-known renewable energy technologies convert wind and solar energy into electricity for human use – without carbon emissions. Geothermal energy technologies also harness zero-carbon energy sources: the continuous flow of heat from the Earth’s hot centre to the Earth’s cooler surface.


Example Positive Portfolio Holding: Ormat Technologies

Ormat Technologies is a global renewable energy provider, specialising in developing and managing geothermal energy projects, and selling the green electricity to the grid. As it designs, builds and manages the ‘power plants’ across the geothermal value chain, it holds special expertise in fitting technologies to unique geographical settings.

Ormat Technologies manages about 19 per cent of the global geothermal market, reliably greening the grids across the world from Kenya and Indonesia to Iceland and the US. Geothermal electricity has large growth potential, particularly due to the reliability of its electricity output compared to the more variable output from wind and solar technologies.


Fund in focus: Impax Environmental Markets

Ormat Technologies has received investment from Impax Environmental Markets, which invests in specialised firms solving environmental sustainability challenges. Other companies in the fund that are facilitating the renewable energy transition include Vestas Wind Systems that provides wind turbine parts, and Takmar Group that ensures offshore wind farm connectivity to the grid.


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