Impact initiative of the year - Asia: Climate Impact Asia Fund

Channels: IMPACT

Companies: Milltrust International, WWF-Hong Kong, Environmental Investment Services Asia Limited

People: Alexander Kalis

The Asia-Pacific region is responsible for almost half of global carbon dioxide emissions and is highly exposed to climate risks. Drastic action and innovative approaches to impact investment are crucial.

The Climate Impact Asia Fund combines the expertise of Milltrust International, a global investment manager with Environmental Investment Services Asia Limited (EISAL), a Hong-Kong based specialist green investment manager and conservation NGO, WWF-Hong Kong. The latter serves as the environmental consultant to the fund and is a key member of the investment advisory committee.

This award acknowledges that, by partnering with a leading NGO and local investment teams, there is an intent by Milltrust to understand the regional environmental and social issues in depth, instead of relying on numerical indicators alone.

A clearly defined, thematic focus also demonstrates a serious commitment to understand the impact such investments can have on the environment.

The fund invests in Asian-listed companies focused on delivering positive climate solutions including lithium-ion battery maker Samsung SDI, electric vehicle and battery manufacturer BYD, environmental protection service provider China Everbright Greentech, wind farm operator China Longyuan, and infrastructure firm Guangdong Investment.

In 2020, the operations of the portfolio's 36 companies are forecast to contribute a positive impact of avoiding 343 million metric tonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide emissions, 5,816MT of clean water distributed, along with 6,382MT of polluted water treated.

The positive climate actions from the fund's underlying investments are also coupled with revenue-based donations to WWF-Hong Kong's regional biodiversity and conservation programmes.

Alexander KalisThe fund's exclusive partnership with WWF-Hong Kong combines a "significant" donation mechanism of the fund's revenues, delivering a tangible, on-the-ground impact, while mobilising private sector capital towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15 – Life Below Water and Life on Land.

As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, the fund has also supported WWF-Hong Kong's actions to mobilise resources to work closely with governments in the Asia Pacific region to eliminate illegal wildlife trade, including the closure of unregulated wildlife markets.

"We are thrilled to have won this prestigious impact award for The Climate Impact Asia Fund, a joint initiative by Milltrust, EISAL and WWF-Hong Kong, uniquely combining strong investment returns with positive climate impact investments, and biodiversity-focused conservation impact led by WWF, one of the world's leading NGOs," says Alexander Kalis, managing partner at Milltrust International and chairman of the Climate Impact Asia Fund Investment Advisory Committee.