ESG and Sustainability
The rise of ESG factors in investment decision making will have a dramatic impact on returns and opportunities in the 21st century. A recent survey by LGT Capital Partners and Mercer showed that 57% of respondents believe that incorporating ESG standards into investment decisions will raise returns. Just 9% argued they reduce returns on investment.
Cemex Ventures, the venture arm of Mexican cement giant Cemex (NYSE: CX), has taken a notable stride in promoting sustainability in the construction industry through a strategic investment in Vizcab, a French startup at the forefront of revolutionizing carbon footprint considerations in buildings. Founded in Lyon in 2015 by Thomas Jusselme and Guillaume Lafont, Vizcab employs a data-driven approach to calculate the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of buildings.
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More Stories on ESG and Sustainability
Nodal Power, based in Utah, has successfully raised $13 million in a seed funding round for its innovative technology that converts landfill gas into energy to power Bitcoin mining centers. The company aims to reduce methane emissions from landfills by utilizing the gas for mining operations.
Northvolt, while producing its first battery systems at its facility in Poland (Northvolt Dwa), has secured $1.2 billion through a convertible note to support its expansion plans in Europe and North America. This funding is an extension of a previous $1.1 billion convertible note signed in 2022. The financing includes investments from environmentally focused funds in compliance with the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation. Major investors in this round include Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO), BlackRock, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), and OMERS.
UK property data and analytics company, Kamma, has secured a £3.6 million ($4.6 million) investment led by the Clean Growth Fund to further develop its property data engine. The engine utilizes advanced geospatial technology to gather and process property data, enabling the formulation of efficient strategies for achieving Net Zero in the UK property sector, encompassing both residential and commercial properties.
Genesis Digital Assets Limited (GDA), a prominent bitcoin mining company with a substantial hash rate, has announced a further expansion of its mining capabilities in Sweden. The new “sustainable” facility, operational since June 2023, is located in the northern part of the country and is currently equipped with an 8 MW data center.
Scottish startup ENOUGH, a mycoprotein producer, has secured €40 million ($43.5 million) in equity funding to expand its plant-based chicken, mince, and dairy offerings for supermarkets and fast-food chains. ENOUGH utilizes mycoprotein, derived from fungus, as a vegan protein source, intending to sell it to businesses for incorporation into their own meat products including plant-based chicken, mince and dairy. It counts Unilever and Marks & Spencer amongst its partners in food technology.
Venture Capital: Jiangsu Guoqiang Singsun Energy Technology Lands $137.4 Million in Series A+ Funding
Jiangsu Guoqiang Singsun Energy Technology, a specialized Chinese company focused on advanced tracking technology for intelligent solar plant applications, has raised 1 billion yuan ($137.4 million) in a recent funding round.
Alternative Investments/ESG: JPM AM Expands Paris-Aligned ETF Range With Two ‘Research-Enhanced’ Products
JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) has introduced two Paris-Aligned Benchmark (PAB) ETFs – the JPMorgan Global Research Enhanced Index Equity SRI Paris Aligned UCITS ETF (JSEG) and JPMorgan US Research Enhanced Index Equity SRI Paris Aligned UCITS ETF (JSEU).
Venture Capital: Chevron And Equinor-Backed Sapphire Technologies Raises $10M For Gas Turboexpanders
Sapphire Technologies, a company specializing in energy recovery systems for hydrogen and natural gas applications, has successfully raised $10 million in a Series B funding round. The primary investors in this round are Energy Capital Ventures, along with participation from Marathon Petroleum (NYSE: MPC), Chevron Technology Ventures, Equinor Ventures, and Cooper and Company.
Advanced Ionics, a company pioneering innovative hydrogen electrolyzers for green hydrogen production, has successfully concluded a $12.5 million Series A financing round, with prominent support from bp ventures, Clean Energy Ventures, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (TYO: 7011), and GVP Climate.
London-based Jacobi Asset Management has launched today Europe’s first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) on Euronext Amsterdam, ahead of the U.S. The Jacobi FT Wilshire Bitcoin ETF, trading under the ticker BCOIN, charges a 1.5% annual management fee and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. Fidelity Digital Assets serves as custodian, while Flow Traders acts as market maker, with authorized participants including Jane Street and DRW.
d.light, a global provider of affordable household products and financial solutions for low-income households, has successfully secured a $30 million securitization facility from the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank Group (TDB Group), with the potential to acquire up to $125 million of receivable assets.
EDAC Labs, an innovator in electrochemistry, has secured $3 million in seed funding to expand its distinctive carbon removal technology. The funding round was spearheaded by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, renowned for investing in early-stage climate-related innovations, and supported by notable angel investors.
The US Commodity Fund (USCF) has introduced the USCF Sustainable Commodity Strategy Fund (ZSC), an actively managed exchange-traded fund (ETF). This fund aims to achieve overall returns by providing broad exposure to commodities in three sustainability-focused areas: agriculture, renewable energy, and electrification.
Dutch food tech company Meatable has secured $35 million in new funding, bringing its total funding to $95 million. The investment was led by Agronomics and joined by Dutch impact fund Invest-NL along with existing investors, such as BlueYard, Bridford, MilkyWay, DSM Venturing and Taavet Hinrikus.
Bitfarms Ltd. (NASDAQ: BITF), a global Bitcoin mining company, has begun the first development phase for its 150 MW hydropower contracts in Paraguay. The company is building a 50 MW mining farm in Paso Pe, Paraguay, near its Villarrica facility. The new farm, set to be commissioned in Q1 2024, includes a 30 MW air-cooled warehouse and 20 MW of hydro-cooled miners in containers, obtained with vendor credits to reduce cash outlay.
Academy Asset Management introduced the Academy Veteran Impact ETF (NYSE Arca: VETZ) on the New York Stock Exchange during the week. VETZ’s primary objective is to generate income by investing in loans for U.S. service members, military veterans, their survivors, and businesses owned by veterans. The main purpose of this fund is to facilitate the flow of capital to veterans, resulting in lowered borrowing costs for both veterans and their families.
KPMG, a major accounting firm, analyzed Bitcoin’s alignment with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, highlighting its potential contributions to sustainability. The report focuses on four carbon-reduction techniques used by bitcoin mining firms.
BlackRock has expanded its sustainable investing offerings with the iShares EURO STOXX 50 ESG UCITS ETF (ES50), a eurozone equity ETF listed on the Deutsche Boerse with a TER of 0.10%. The ETF tracks the EURO STOXX 50 index, including 50 large European companies that meet STOXX’s ESG criteria.
DIF Capital Partners, through its DIF Infrastructure VII fund, is investing £200 million in Field, a London-based battery energy storage systems developer and operator. The investment seeks to expedite Field’s expansion and construction of a 4.5 GWh pipeline of large-scale battery energy storage projects in the UK and Western Europe, thereby bolstering the area’s renewable energy infrastructure and supporting its Net Zero objectives.
Brevel, a microalgae-based alternative protein company, has secured $18.5 million in seed funding to develop a neutral-tasting, sustainable, and affordable protein for the mainstream food industry. The company’s technology combines sugar-based fermentation of microalgae with high light concentrations at an industrial scale, resulting in a protein that can be used in various plant-based products.
Dioxycle, a French-U.S. climate tech start-up, has secured $17 million in funding to support the development of sustainable ethylene produced from recycled carbon emissions. The investment comes as investors increasingly seek opportunities to support environmentally-friendly solutions in high-emitting industries, which are crucial for achieving global climate goals but have historically received less funding.
Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency project founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, has launched its core offering called World ID. The World ID is described as a “digital passport” that proves the holder is a real human, not an AI bot. To obtain a World ID, customers must undergo an in-person iris scan using Worldcoin’s ‘orb,’ a silver ball approximately the size of a bowling ball. The project has already amassed 2 million users during its beta phase.
FLORA Ventures has launched an $80 million fund to invest in sustainable agrifood tech start-ups in Israel and Europe. It is the largest Israeli-based agrifood venture capital firm and the biggest new VC fund in Israel for 2023. The fund focuses on early-stage start-ups that aim to create a healthier, more sustainable, and resilient agrifood system and supports their global scaling efforts.
DWS has introduced a series of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that offer an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) version of its global equity factor ETFs range. These ETFs, listed on the Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange, have a total expense ratio of 0.25%. The funds track MSCI indices and focus on low carbon metrics and socially responsible investing, targeting large and mid-cap companies from developed countries.