WHEB Commentary

Seb Beloe

Performance Through Positive Impact

Seb Beloe, Head of Research, sees positive impact investment attracting increased interest from investors, with some $100-$150 billion of assets under management and this doubling every couple of years[1]

The increased scale of impact investing is enormously encouraging moving the practice definitively beyond a niche reserved for foundations and philanthropists, to a broader range of asset classes and to a much wider group of investors.

Our experience is that investors of all types are increasingly interested in the purpose of their investments, and want to understand the impact of their savings and investments on the wider world.

Much of the research and development work at WHEB has been to integrate the financial analysis of positive impact into the investment process. In this way we can better asses, measure and report on the extent to which the financial performance of companies and their positive social, environmental and economic outcomes move in lock step with each other.

As many of our investors know, the FP WHEB Sustainability Fund is solely invested in companies providing solutions to sustainability challenges. This third Impact Report builds on our leadership in measuring and communicating the extent of this positive impact.

As a specialist investor, we aim to capture the financial opportunities in listed equities associated with the global transition to more sustainable, resource efficient and energy efficient economies. Just as importantly, we recognise that for many investors we are one element in a broader strategy to progressively decarbonise their entire investment portfolio.

In our report, we are able to demonstrate that investing £1 million in the Fund FP WHEB Sustainability Fund in 2016 generated the following impacts:

  • 1,200 MWh of renewable energy was generated;
  • 1,600 tonnes of CO2e was avoided;
  • 1.6m litres of waste water was treated;
  • 30m litres of drinking water was provided; and,
  • 140 tonnes of waste material was recycled or recovered.

We believe that one of the key challenges for investors is identifying frameworks that stop measuring risk relative to backwards-looking benchmarks and instead build portfolios based on forward-looking scenarios.

The recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) led by Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), provide this type of underpinning for longer term decision making.

Our report details how all of the Fund’s investments directly support the attainment of seven UN SDGs, and we are pleased to say that WHEB is one of the world’s first investors to report against the framework suggested by the TCFD.

For more information our Impact Report can be found at www.whebgroup.com


[1] Special Report ESG: Investing for Impact’, Investment and Pensions Europe, May 2017