Credit Suisse, in partnership with Rockefeller Asset Management (RAM), has launched the first impact fund to address ocean health in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 – “Life below Water”. The fund has raised USD 212 million.
- Credit Suisse Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Fund is a listed equities (UCITS) fund, providing retail and institutional investors with the opportunity to seek to generate alpha and engage for a sustainable blue economy.
- As investment advisors to the fund, RAM employs a fundamental global equity strategy investing in 30-50 stocks from a customized ocean engagement universe.
- The ability to engage through an active representation of shareholders’ rights is considered throughout the entire investment process, utilizing thematic ocean expertise from The Ocean Foundation.
- One of the innovative features of the fund is the engagement and investment alongside three key ocean themes: Pollution Prevention, Carbon Transition, and Ocean Conservation.
The ocean is a crucial – but often underestimated – component for a healthy planet. Other than creating livelihoods for billions of people and being a source of natural beauty, the ocean serves as a tremendous asset to climate change mitigation, absorbing 93% of climate heat and sequestering 25% of global CO2 emissions. Today human activities such as energy production, deforestation, maritime transport, and intensive livestock farming pose a severe threat to ocean health. Half of the Great Barrier Reef has died since 2016 yet coral reefs are worth $36 billion to the global economy1.
Marisa Drew, Chief Sustainability Officer and Global Head of Sustainability Strategy Advisory and Finance (SSAF) at Credit Suisse, highlighted the expected broad appeal of this fund: “The ocean is amongst some of the least invested topics from the UN Sustainability Goals yet more than a third of institutional investors have expressed their interest in investing in the Blue Economy. We are happy to be leading the way to help investors to have an impact.”
Casey Clark, Rockefeller’s Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investments and Co-Portfolio Manager of the fund, notes: “Constructive shareholder engagement is a longstanding and core part of Rockefeller Asset Management’s investment process in our pursuit to create shareholder value and catalyze positive change. We are excited about the interest in the fund and the opportunity to partner with Credit Suisse on this innovative solution which we hope will encourage others to increase their focus on the Blue Economy.”
Credit Suisse and Rockefeller Asset Management, the investment management division of Rockefeller Capital Management, with input from The Ocean Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to conserving ocean environments around the world, will seek to jointly advise and steer portfolio companies away from ocean-harming practices, through dialogue with their management teams.
The Credit Suisse Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Fund provides a distinct opportunity for investors, with investments as small as USD 100, to steer companies in the portfolio towards improving their ocean harming practices. The fund remains available for investment on a daily basis after the subscription. The objective is to seek higher financial returns while helping companies to, for example, transition away from plastic pollution, mitigate sea level rise, mitigate ocean acidification and help improve sustainable fishing practices.
Investment decisions for the fund will be driven by the belief that the industry is increasingly differentiating between “best-in-class” companies and companies showing the greatest improvements in their overall ESG footprint. In this fund, improvement is in the context of ocean health. “Improvers” tend to be the most undervalued and provide investors with the highest potential to generate alpha. Identifying companies in this space and using shareholder engagement can further catalyze change.
Credit Suisse has been a pioneer in the area of sustainable and impact investing for more than 18 years. The recent creation of the Sustainability, Research & Investment Solutions (SRI), an Executive Board-level function, embeds sustainability at the core of Credit Suisse’s operations and strategy. To this end, the Credit Suisse Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Fund builds on other important sustainability product launches in recent years, including the Responsible Consumer Fund, as well as the Supertrends long-term investment themes which include Millennials’ Values and Climate Change – Decarbonizing the Economy.