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.
Farmers Business Network (FBN) is a farmer-to-farmer network launched in 2014 as an information source and for sharing of agronomic precision data. It now has thousands of farmer-members managing millions of acres of land across the world. FBN announced last week its $300 million Series G funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC with participation from LN Mittal Family Office, ADM Ventures Investment Corp., Colle Capital Partners, Walleye Capital, and Tudor Investment Corporation.
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More Stories on ESG and Sustainability
SEC-registered investment advisor, The Future Fund LLC, launched this week The Future Fund Active ETF (FFND) under the stewardship of Gary Black, managing partner, and David Kalis, CFA, partner.
Artificial Intelligence: Margaret Mitchell, Former Head Of Google’s Ethical AI, To Join Hugging Face
Margaret Mitchell, the former head of Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Ethical AI research group, will join AI startup Hugging Face where she will develop tools to help companies eliminate bias from their AI algorithms. Initially suspended in January, Mitchell was fired by Google February ostensibly because of a paper she co-wrote that was critical of the company.
Wildlife rehabilitation centers on the California coast often receive ailing marine birds suffering from domoic acid poisoning, which is caused by harmful algal blooms. The neurological disease afflicts California brown pelicans, red-throated loons, and other species, but the problem remains – how to warn other rehab centers on the coastline of the emergence of the disease? Researchers at UC Davis have now devised an AI system for real-time detection
Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) has agreed to buy all of NN Investment Partners, a Netherlands-based asset manager with $355 billion in assets under management and about $70 billion in assets under advisement. NN Investment Partners is the money management arm of Dutch insurer NN Group NV (AEX: NN) and 75% of its assets under supervision are ESG integrated.
Nexamp, which offers solar and energy storage solutions for a decarbonized future, has raised a $240 million equity investment led by Generate Capital. In March, closed on a $440 million senior secured credit facility for a 380-megawatt portfolio of solar and energy storage assets, the largest debt financing of its kind. The $680 million fundraising will enhance Nexamp’s ability to offer a range of decarbonization options.
UBS has launched four new ETFs that combine equity exposure with a focus on low carbon investing. The four UCITS funds track MSCI equity indices relating to the US, European, eurozone, and Japanese equity markets, and are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and Xetra.
Apeel Sciences, which applies an edible, plant-based coating to fresh produce to extend its life, announced today its Series E raise of $250 million led by returning investor Temasek. “Since 2019, Apeel has prevented 42 million pieces of fruit from going to waste at retail, which has helped avoid 10,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions and conserve nearly 4.7 billion liters of water,” the company claimed in a statement.
RBC iShares expanded its range of ETFs with the launch of four new fixed income ETFs of which two have a sustainability focus. These are the iShares ESG Advanced 1-5 Year Canadian Corporate Bond Index ETF (XSHG) and iShares ESG Advanced Canadian Corporate Bond Index ETF (XCBG), both of which extend sustainable coverage to bonds.
Property technology startup Divvy Homes, which helps people who don’t qualify for a mortgage to own homes, raised $200 million in a round co-led by existing investors Tiger Global Management and Caffeinated Capital. Andreessen Horowitz, Singapore’s GIC, GGV Capital, and Moore Specialty Credit also participated in the round.
Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital announced Thursday (August 12, 2021) that it raised $800 million “in fiat, to keep unf**king the planet.” “There has never been a better time to start a company focused on emissions reduction or actively removing carbon already in the atmosphere,” Sacca wrote in Cash Cools Everything Around Me, a blog announcing the raise. “The total addressable markets are literally the biggest in history and we have no doubt that multitrillion-dollar market caps are just up ahead.”
Fable Food Co offers meat substitute foods made from Shiitake mushrooms having dense, fleshy fibers and umami flavors that are naturally meat-like. The Sydney, Australia-based startup has raised $6.5 million in a round led by Blackbird Ventures with participation from AgFunder, Aera VC and Better Bite Ventures, Ban Choon Marketing Pte Ltd, and Warren Hogarth.
Artificial Intelligence: AI-Powered Home Surveillance Imposed On Call Center Employees Working For US Corporations
An NBC News investigation has revealed that Colombia-based call center employees of Teleperformance (EPA: TEP), which has companies such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Uber (NYSE: UBER) on its client roster, are being asked to sign contracts allowing for the installation of AI-powered cameras at home. NBC News reviewed such a contract, first issued by Teleperformance in March.
Hartford Funds announced the launch of the Hartford Schroders ESG US Equity ETF (CBOE: HEET), which seeks seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing in a diversified portfolio of US equities that are expected to meet environmental, social, and/or governance (ESG) criteria. In addition, it will weigh factors such as value, profitability, momentum, and low volatility.
Extreme precipitation days in the Midwest account for over half of all major US flood disasters. Researchers at Stanford University have developed a machine learning tool that helps them analyze the causes of long-term changes in weather and the mystery of why extreme precipitation days in the Midwest are becoming more frequent.
New York-based fund management company Global X proposes to issue two new ETFs focused on renewable energy. It has filed with the SEC for the launch of the Global X Solar ETF (RAYS) and the Global X Wind Energy ETF (WNDY), the two ETFs adding to its existing range of 84 ETFs.
A survey by SaaS cloud banking platform Mambu found that over half (53%) of young Muslims said they would choose Islamic banking – if barriers to entry were removed, and it became more accessible.
Boeing (NYSE: BA) will spin off its HorizonX venture capital arm into a strategic partnership with private equity firm AE Industrial Partners, the aerospace major announced last week. Founded in 2017, HorizonX has invested in 40 tech companies and startups, and will function as AE’s ventures platform titled AEI HorizonX. AE will manage the fund, which will receive capital from Boeing, AE and others.
Invesco’s new Solar Energy UCITS ETF invests in the solar industry including solar power equipment producers, solar energy storage companies, raw materials suppliers and solar power system installers. These companies are global leaders in their functional areas of solar energy technology.
Hoow Foods, a Singapore-based startup, has incorporated Hegg Foods, a plant-based subsidiary that will develop innovative and sustainable products using RE-GENESYS, Hoow Foods’ proprietary food & ingredient Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform.
Refurbed, a Vienna-based startup that sells refurbished electronics on its platform, has raised $54 million a Series B round led by Evli Growth Partners and Almaz Capital. Existing investors including Speedinvest, Bonsai Partners, and All Iron Ventures, all participated. New investors Hermes GPE, C4 Ventures, SevenVentures, Alpha Associates, Monkfish Equity, Kreos, Isomer Capital, and Creas Impact Fund also came on board.
Agtech startup Beewise warns of an immediate and serious threat to the global food supply from the 35% global annual decline in bee colonies. Keeping bee colonies safe, well and preventing them from collapsing would allow for more pollination, as well as increased production of honey. Beewise has reinvented the traditional beehive, dating from 150 years back, and its Beehomes are solar-powered, AI-enabled, and armed with robotics to keep the bees safe, healthy, and productive.
Duff & Phelps Investment Management Co. and Virtus ETF Solutions launched Wednesday the Virtus Duff & Phelps Clean Energy ETF (NYSE: VCLN). The actively-managed ETF seeks returns by investing globally in a portfolio of clean, renewable, and sustainable companies and technologies that will power the energy needs of the future.
BlackRock has launched the iShares MSCI EMU Paris-Aligned Climate UCITS ETF (EMPA) and the iShares MSCI Europe Paris Aligned UCITS ETF (EUPB) both of which are Paris-aligned climate ETFs. These ETFs are listed on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange effective July 29.