RATHBONE GREENBANK GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY FUND: Groenfonds is a sustainable investment
It’s only been three years since fund manager David Harrison Rathbone launched Greenbank Global Sustainability and yet attitudes towards sustainable investing have changed in that short time.
The fund was created to find good value companies that operate sustainably and have strong environmental, social and governance policies.
“In the beginning, we had meetings with business leaders who looked blankly at us when we asked about sustainability,” Harrison says. “Today, most companies are talking about it. It’s an incredible transformation.’
Harrison and his team have a global mandate, meaning they can source the best sustainably-focused companies from around the world. They focus on sustainability not only to shape a positive future for the planet and society, but also because they believe that companies that prioritize these values are well positioned to deliver long-term returns for investors.
The result is a portfolio of 44 companies, in sectors from construction to healthcare. More than half are US companies, with the rest spread across Europe, the UK and Asia-Pacific. Since its launch, the fund has turned an investment of £1,000 into £1,633. Global funds have raised an average of £1,405 in that time.
While all companies talk about sustainability, not all are real, Harrison says. “I can get an idea within the first minute of meeting a chief executive whether they are serious about sustainability or whether they are greenwashing,” he says.
An increasingly popular way companies demonstrate their sustainability is by relating their activities to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
These are 17 goals, such as zero hunger and clean water and sanitation, that together could help end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives of everyone, everywhere. Harrison believes that the best sustainable companies are often those that focus on one or two goals that are central to their core business, rather than those that claim to half-heartedly support multiple goals.
‘One company we like is Chr. Hansen, a Danish company engaged in sustainable agriculture,” says Harrison. “It focuses on three of the goals and links them to its plans to be profitable.”
Another favorite is Assa Abloy, a Swedish company that specializes in digital locks. “We believe that hotels of the future won’t need staff to check in guests,” Harrison says. “Instead, they can use a smartphone to check in and open their hotel room door.”
This technology, developed by Assa Abloy, also makes it possible to open doors in other environments when someone is not present to let another person in, and it means there is no need to figure out how to get the keys. can get.
Harrison believes this concept has enormous potential and is more sustainable than traditional entry systems. It is popular in South Korea, where 70 percent of locks are digital, compared to just three percent of locks in the US.
While the fund has already benefited greatly from investing in sustainable companies, Harrison says this is just the beginning.
“Governments are focusing on green infrastructure, which offers huge investment opportunities,” he says. ‘Electrification is also a very powerful investment theme.’
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