$500m for SDGs as hedge fund heavyweight forces climate action: GWM news brief

Written by Lori Campbell on 27th Jan 2020

A new investment platform commits $500 million to help developing nations achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, as the world’s most profitable hedge fund manager forces his portfolio firms into climate action. Meanwhile, a new report reveals British households waste 4.5 million tonnes of food each year, Lloyds Banking Group commits to halving the carbon emissions it finances by 2030, and Greta Thunberg leads a climate strike on the final day of Davos.

 

SDG500: Investors commit $500m to help developing nations achieve SDGs

A new investment platform is to inject $500 million (£381 million) into businesses working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries.

The ‘SDG500’, backed by a coalition of public and private organisations, NGOs and a private equity firm, is the first ever platform dedicated to the SDGs.

The platform’s funds will be used to make debt and equity investments in early stage businesses in “emerging and frontier” markets. The idea is to spur innovation and growth in regions where firms often lack access to follow-on financing.

The platform will focus on supporting firms in agriculture, finance, energy, education and healthcare across Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific regions.

“The launch of SDG500 is a unique milestone for the impact investing industry,” said Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, founder and managing partner at Bamboo Capital Partners, which will manage the six funds on the platform.


How to meet all 17 of the SDGs with your own money


 

World’s most profitable hedge fund manager forces climate action

British billionaire Chris Hohn – who manages $30 billion (£23 billion) in assets – is forcing big businesses to tackle the climate crisis.

Hohn’s TCI Fund Management was the world’s best-performing large hedge last year. Now Hohn is pushing companies in his portfolio to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and disclose their carbon footprint. If they don’t, he says he will oust their boards or dump their shares.

Last year Hohn and his charity donated $260,000 (£200,000) to climate change movement Extinction Rebellion.

Hohn, 53, is calling on investors to fire money managers who don’t press companies to reduce their carbon footprint, and he wants banks to stop lending to companies that ignore climate change.

Meanwhile, £30 billion British pension fund Brunel Pension Partnership has threatened to sack investment managers that do not take action on the climate crisis.

The fund, which manages pension money for nine councils in south-west England as well as for the Environment Agency, said it would review the mandates of asset managers that don’t reduce exposure to climate risk by 2022.

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Brits waste 4.5 million tonnes of food each year

British households waste 4.5 million tonnes of food each year, reveals a new report.

This is down seven per cent over the last three years, but the report by the government’s waste advisory body warns that a lot more must be done.

The volume of food waste generated in the retail supply chain, the hospitality sector, and in homes stood at 9.5 million tonnes in 2018. This is down from 10 million tonnes in 2015 and 11.2 million in 2007, according to the detailed study from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

But the 38-page report reveals that UK households still waste 4.5 million tonnes of food a year that could have been eaten, worth £14 billion. This amounts to £700 for an average family with children.

Household food waste represents 70 per  cent of all food waste after the food has been grown or produced, with potatoes the single most wasted food.


Top 10 ways to cut food waste


Lloyds to halve carbon emissions it finances by 2030

Lloyds Banking Group has pledged to halve the amount of carbon emissions it finances through personal and business loans by 2030.

The commitment comes as lenders face heightened criticism over their role in fuelling the climate crisis by funding projects and companies that rely heavily on fossil fuels.

Lloyds said it will create “green products and services” to make it easier for customers to make lifestyle changes aimed at tackling the climate emergency.

Lloyds, which is the UK’s largest domestic bank with 26 million customers, is designing a green mortgage that will lend money to customers looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and developing a way for customers to compare the carbon impact of vehicles before they buy.


Top 4 responsible mortgage providers


 

Greta leads climate strike on final day of Davos

Greta Thunberg led a climate strike on the last day of Davos, where she continued her push for climate change action.

Thunberg used the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last week to once again call out world and business leaders for their inaction on the issue.

“As long as the science is being ignored, as long as the facts are not being taken into account and as long as the situation is not being treated as a crisis, then world and business leaders can of course continue to ignore the situation,” she said at a news conference.

Several businesses made individual pledges at the conference to eliminate their emissions but the event closed without any fresh global commitments.