It is difficult to avoid news stories that highlight the worsening climate crisis, the impact on the natural world and governments’ perceived inability to act to tackle the problem. At Foresight we are relentless in our pursuit of creating a sustainable legacy for future generations. We play our part in tackling this global crisis by investing into renewable, sustainable projects.
The appetite for sustainable investment opportunities has increased dramatically in recent years and as such, the number of listed investment opportunities labelled as ethical, sustainable or socially responsible has grown by 73% in the space of four years.
Sustainable investment can take many forms but the simple ethos that underpins our business is investing for a smarter future. This could be investing in renewable energy sources to support the UK’s transition away from fossil fuels, supporting businesses that are giving back to their communities or facilitating the growth of innovative companies building the technology of tomorrow. Sustainability should matter to every business aiming to succeed and grow long into the future and Foresight is taking steps to secure this:
Investing in renewable energy sources
At present, just 20% of the energy usage in the UK comes from renewable sources.
The decarbonisation of the energy system is an integral part of developing a sustainable future. To make this happen, a great deal of investment into clean energy and infrastructure is required. This is why our infrastructure team has invested over £2 billion into clean energy projects across the UK and Europe.
In the last two years, we have launched two new Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) with renewable energy assets at their core. Our global fund, FP Foresight Global Real Infrastructure Fund (GRIF), is actively managed and invests in the publicly traded shares of companies that own or operate real infrastructure or renewable energy assets anywhere in the world. Launched in May of this year, GRIF has ESG and sustainability criteria embedded in its investment mandate to guarantee that all investments deliver a net social or environmental benefit.
In addition, FP Foresight UK Infrastructure Income Fund offers investors the opportunity to support the transition to a green economy and provide essential services to communities by investing in investment companies which themselves invest in important infrastructure assets such as solar, wind, hospitals and transport.
Supporting businesses that are giving back to the community
Mowgli is a fast-growing chain of authentic Indian restaurants into which Foresight invested £3.5 million in July 2017. Founder Nisha Katona has always been committed to improving sustainability within her business and described the pursuit as a ‘personal crusade’; the ethos behind the company is to enrich lives in the cities where they operate. One example was successfully lobbying a leading international beer brand to ditch its plastic packaging.
The company has also launched a charity to support communities in the UK and overseas. It sends members of staff every year to work in developing countries to learn about land management and the effects of global warming.
Facilitating the growth of innovative companies building the technology of tomorrow
Methane gas makes a huge impact to global warming - it's around 80 times more harmful than CO2 in that regard. Utonomy is a Foresight portfolio company that has developed a technology to reduce the leakage of methane gas from distribution networks and in doing so, has a demonstrable positive impact on the environment.
Why sustainability must remain at the forefront of business practices
Addressing sustainability appropriately requires dedicated planning and implementation and is necessary for a business to maintain competitiveness both today and into the future. A sustainable approach to business is about creating long-term value and fully assessing a company’s commitment to the ecologic, social and economic environment.
Secondary benefits include attracting and retaining motivated and dedicated employees, reducing waste and energy consumption, positively contributing to the environment and protecting the reputation of the business.
A good place to start is assessing the company’s existing practices against a recognised framework to determine the current situation and areas for improvement. In the investment sector, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) is an independent, globally recognised proponent of responsible investment of which Foresight has been a signatory for over 5 years. Once this has been established, a business can work towards building a thorough and comprehensive sustainability policy and take steps to becoming a truly sustainable business.
Fostering sustainability across all business is a major challenge and will only continue to grow in importance as the world becomes more and more aware of our environmental predicament. Acting fast and dedicating time and resources to advancing your company’s sustainability credentials will only have positive implications for the future.
Foresight continues to source opportunities to invest in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure and continually strives to make a difference through our investments.