Australian Unity has launched a new green bond fund backed by cornerstone investments from Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and clients of Crestone Wealth Management.
The Australian Unity Green Bond Fund invests in a combination of green, social and sustainable fixed interest securities with the primary purpose of helping to lower carbon emissions.
The Fund is available to wholesale investors only, and is managed by Australian Unity's in-house cash and fixed interest team, Altius Asset Management (Altius) led by Bill Bovingdon.
Geraldine Barlow, Executive General Manager – Investments, Australian Unity, said Altius were pioneers in sustainable fixed interest investments, having launched Australia's first sustainable fixed interest fund in 2014.
"This initiative continues the expansion of Australian Unity's responsible investment capability following increasing demand from our customers and members. As a mutual and wellbeing organisation, owned by its members, Australian Unity has an important role to play in developing and expanding the range of responsible investments available to Australian investors”, she said.
Bill Bovingdon, Chief Investment Officer for Altius said the catastrophic Australian summer had intensified investor demand for sustainable investment options in the market.
"A devastating bushfire season has brought the climate crisis conversation to the fore as investors seek ways of putting their money to work with investments that can make a positive difference," he said.
"We believe there is a growing interest in what is already a sizeable market. A number of large Australian super funds, implemented asset consultants and general insurers have all expressed interest in green debt markets", Mr Bovingdon said.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said the CEFC was proud to be part of the creation of the first dedicated green bond fund in the Australian market.
"Investment products that provide market returns as well as positive environmental outcomes offer an attractive way for institutional and wholesale investor capital to support Australia's transition to a low emissions economy," Mr Learmonth said.
"There is strong demand for responsible investment products among Australian investors. We are at the cusp of a long-term trend toward sustainable finance and market leaders such as Australian Unity will be a key part of this transition.
By supporting this new offering the CEFC, Crestone and their clients, along with Australian Unity's clients, are providing additional strength to this rapidly growing sector."
Michael Chisholm, Crestone CEO said that this was a first for Australians and something that our clients are excited about.
"We are encouraged and excited to partner with the CEFC and Australian Unity, both renowned leaders in sustainable investing. We are committed to scaling sustainable investing in Australia and providing valued-aligned investment solutions for our clients," he said.
To learn more about the Green Bond Fund click here.