Credit Suisse and Lombard Odier have joined forces to launch a responsible consumer fund. The fund provides investors with the opportunity to invest in businesses that stand to benefit from the changes triggered by a world transitioning to a more sustainable economy.
Consumer behavior is changing, with people – in particular Millennials – increasingly questioning how we make, use and dispose of goods and services. This has an impact on business models as well as business ecosystems and supply chains and with this disruption comes opportunity for investors.
The Credit Suisse Responsible Consumer Fund will invest in businesses with purpose that are responsive to this paradigm shift in consumer behavior and preferences and thus have the potential to outperform in the long-run. The creation of this fund follows the recent publication of the bank’s ‘The Responsible Consumer’ report in October and is an investible opportunity that plays into the trends and insights that the report highlights. This is another step in the bank’s efforts to expand its product offering in the values-driven sustainable investment arena.
Marisa Drew, CEO of Credit Suisse’s Impact Advisory and Finance (IAF) Department, highlighted the expected broad appeal of this fund which, she says, “Is targeted at investors who are keen to align their investing with the topics they are passionate about and which they may already be supporting today with their consumer wallet”. She also remarked, “This fund should have equal appeal to those investors who see true value creation in backing those companies that are likely to gain market share by being attuned to the shift in consumer sentiment”.
The fund seeks to support the visible shift in consumer and producer behavior by investing in business models that contribute and enable the generation of sustainable products and services. It also comes at a time when there is a clear investment case because of the private sector’s desire to direct capital for good as well as government and regulatory support for sustainability, for example, Canada’s move to ban single-use plastic by 2021.
Following an extensive due diligence of more than a dozen providers, Lombard Odier was chosen as advisor due to their expertise in both thematic and sustainable investments.
Didier Rabattu, Global Head of Equities at Lombard Odier Investment Managers notes: “Sustainability is a critical issue which will determine the long-term future success of companies and presents a real opportunity for investors. We are delighted to partner with Credit Suisse on this project to give investors exposure to companies that are either transitioning towards a more sustainable business model, and/or provide a solution to a particular sustainability challenge. We think this will help drive future investment returns.”
The fund will invest in listed companies across Sustainable Food, Urban Systems, Supply Chains and Sustainable Lifestyles, and addresses the topic across the whole value chain by targeting companies throughout the product lifecycle, ultimately providing investors with diversified sector risk.
Investment decisions for the fund will be driven by the UN’s 12th Sustainable Development Goal: “responsible consumption and production”, as it addresses the entire scope of the thematic investment thesis. The fund’s reporting will go beyond return metrics and will include sophisticated Environmental, Social and Governance indicators, such as carbon dioxide and water intensity, as well as provide monthly sustainability highlights. In addition, the fund is also developing an engagement strategy to help accelerate corporate transformation towards sustainable consumption and production practices.
A Senior Advisory Board consisting of senior internal and external experts, in sustainability as well as ESG and wealth management, will feed into how the fund is shaped and positioned. It will also ensure that it remains at the forefront of developments in this thematic.
The UCITS fund will be launched on November 25th with a three-week subscription period which started on November 4th. The fund is available in US Dollars, Euros, Swiss Francs, and British Pounds; it also offers institutional, retail, and seeding share classes.