Belfius and Candriam launch Belfius Equities CLIMATE, a thematic sustainable fund specialising in the fight against climate change. This is a sub-fund of Belfius Equities, a Sicav under Belgian law managed by Belfius Investment Partners S.A.
The recent report by the IPCC is very clear, as is the call of millions of citizens around the world: there is no planet B, and urgent action is needed if we are to keep global warming below 2°C and leave a sustainable world for future generations. To enable its customers to participate in this essential transition and to contribute, through their investments, towards supporting companies directly involved in the fight against climate change, that Belfius Bank is launching Belfius Equities CLIMATE, a new sub-fund of the Sicav Belfius Equities in Belgium, acting as a distributor and in collaboration with Belfius Investment Partners, manager of the sub-fund, and Candriam, Investment Manager.
To enable its clients to support this essential ecological transition through their investments, Belfius Bank is launching the Belfius Equities CLIMATE sub-fund as distributor, in collaboration with Belfius Investment Partners, manager of the sub-fund, and Candriam, Investment Manager.
Belfius Equities CLIMATE is a sub-fund of Belfius Equities, a Sicav established under Belgian law, that acts as a feeder fund* for the sub-fund of the Sicav Candriam SRI Equity Climate Action, established under Luxembourg law (master fund, not registered in Belgium). Its aim is to replicate the investment strategy of the master fund. Through the master fund, Belfius Equities CLIMATE is a sub-fund of the Sicav Belfius Equities, investing exclusively in innovative and leading companies which provide long-term solutions to the major challenges of climate change (energy efficiency, renewable energy, storage, recycling, waste treatment and water management - more information on the sub-fund in the attached media release). Belfius Equities CLIMATE is aimed at both private individuals an professional customers.
Through the master fund, Belfius Equities Climate is a sustainable fund, with the management team making investment choices based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria, using an analysis developed by the management company**. The selection of equities is based on economic/financial analyses, as well as on ESG considerations, with both indicating the long-term risks and opportunities. The ESG criteria are analysed through a methodology developed by the management company** and evaluated by it**.
The eligibility of companies is based on their contribution either to the fight against climate change or to facilitating adjustment to that change. To do this, a specific methodology has been developed by the management company** aimed at identifying companies which, based on their turnover, are the most advanced on issues linked to climate change, such as the production of renewable energy, the insulation of buildings, recycling and water treatment.
In addition to their contribution to the fight against climate change, these companies are also screened to ensure that they do not present an elevated risk of controversy. This test selects companies that comply with the principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and the fight against corruption. The test is accompanied by an analysis of the exposure of companies to weapons and repressive regimes.
The strategy excludes companies that:
When doing their selection work, our analysts draw on their knowledge of sectors helping in the fight against climate change. They also use some of the most respected external data sources available on the market. This combination enables the analysis to focus on aspects associated with the actual businesses conducted by the companies, while benefiting from a broad range of quantitative data derived from these external providers. This process of analysis and selection is accompanied by active participation as a shareholder (such as entering into dialogue with the companies, voting at general meetings, etc.) aimed at guiding companies in the development of their sustainable solutions.
Even companies active in the fight against climate change inevitably produce CO2 , Belfius and Candriam apply a two-pronged "green" approach: the carbon footprint of the fund is neutral while it invests in solutions which contribute to the renewable energy transition.
Candriam and Belfius aim to neutralise the fund's emissions by financing climate protection projects. Within this context, Candriam and Belfius have chosen to work with South Pole (https://www.southpole.com), globally recognised provider of sustainability solutions and an award-winning emission reduction project developer, offering a wide range of high-quality carbon offset projects around the world.
Three projects selected by South Pole and meeting stringent Gold Standard criteria will be supported: the construction of five solar thermal power plants in India, a country where coal still plays too important a role, the capture of methane emissions from a landfill site in China, to transform them into clean electricity and the reforestation of tropical land in Panama. The Gold Standard is one of the most rigorous certification standard globally for carbon offset projects.
Filip De Nil, Head of Private Banking & Investments, Belfius: "Green is the new way of investing. Through the launch of Belfius Equities CLIMATE, Belfius aims to give its customers the opportunity also to have a positive impact on society through their investments, by supporting innovative companies which play a leading role in the fight against climate change."
Vincent Hamelink, Investment Director, Candriam: "Sustainable investment has been at the heart of our business for many years and we are proud today in Belgium and with Belfius to launch the Belfius Equities CLIMATE fund. Managing the risks associated with climate change will become essential in coming years and this fund is designed to address such a challenge. CANDRIAM is well positioned given its history in ESG. The close cooperation and complementarity of our fundamental and ESG analysis teams enables us to offer an integrated and rigorous analytical approach and to build a concentrated portfolio based on sound convictions."
Bethan Halls, Key Account Manager & Financial Industry expert, South Pole: "With this innovative climate neutral fund, Candriam and Belfius are making tangible steps in shifting capital and demonstrating the crucial actions financial institutions can take in driving the decarbonisation of our economy. At South Pole we help drive this action, reducing carbon impact and climate risk, supporting clients in their climate leadership journey. We are so pleased to support this high-impact, climate neutral fund with our emission reduction projects."
*A feeder fund is a fund that invests virtually all of its assets in another fund, called a master fund.
** The management company of the master fund: Candriam.