EQ Investors actively select funds that aim to make a positive impact on society and the environment through The Positive Impact Portfolios provided to their clients. In their latest quarterly update EQ showcases the companies that their funds invest in, and the solutions provided to real world problems.

Since 2017, EQ have been using the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as a way to think about impact. The 17 Goals provide a holistic framework for action around the most critical issues for society and for our planet. Underlying holdings in the portfolios are mapped to these goals, and the update focuses on examples for Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being and Goal 2 – Zero Hunger.

Goal 12 Responsible consumption and production

Electric vehicles promise a ‘zero emissions revolution’ in mobility, but there are there lingering concerns on the sustainability of some of their key components, including lithium-ion batteries. Including significant quantities of heavy and often toxic metals, questions remain on how to best deal with battery disposal, additionally their initial production can cause problems, with many of its metal constituents being naturally limited in supply and/or association with human health or ecosystem damage in their mining and extraction.  

The fund in focus which is mapped to this goal is Impax Environmental Markets which invests in companies providing solutions to help tackle environmental issues globally. Besides providing recycling solutions, the fund’s investee companies also help their clients improve the management of scarce water resources, for example by providing smart water metering technologies.

An example holding within the fund is Umicore which is a materials and recycling business that operates globally.

Goal 3 Good health and well-being

Millions of people are affected by neurological disorders worldwide, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s disease. Globally 2.3million people live with MS, suffering from a variety of symptoms due to central nervous system damage. With an ageing population, the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases is increasing and thus treatments is increasingly required. Most neurological disorders cannot yet be cured, however the quality of life and life expectancy of patients has been increasing due to recent medical breakthroughs and healthcare improvements.

The fund in focus is Polar Capital Biotechnology which focuses on companies developing and selling drugs to treat some of the most prevalent medical conditions. Many investee companies in the fund, like BeiGene and Argenx, develop advance cutting edge cancer treatments.

An example holding within the fun is Biogen which is a medical biotechnology company, focused on neuroscience.

Goal 2 Zero Hunger

Farming food and livestock currently accounts for 70% of human freshwater use. Population growth and development are placing increasing demands on agricultural outputs. The freshwater resources we currently use are not infinite and in many areas are being used unsustainably- indeed water scarcity currently affects about a third of the world’s population for at least one month per year. Climate change is going to exacerbate water stress in many areas where farming is only possible with irrigation, highlighting the urgent need to increase the efficiency in which we use water to grow our food. 

The fund in focus is Sarasin Food and Agriculture Opportunities which favours investments into companies improving the sustainability of our global food system. Companies range from providing resource-efficient farming equipment, like Kubota Corp, to sustainably farmed seafood products like Marine Harvest.

An example holding is Jain. Jain irrigation systems specialises in providing increased efficiency to agricultural irrigation systems.

You can read more about Jain and the other example holdings in the EQ investors Q4 2018 Update for the Positive Impact Portfolios here and you can access more information about the Positive Impact Portfolios on the EQ investors webpage on the DISCUS website.

This article was created for the DISCUS website by Damien Lardoux, Head of Impact Investing at EQ Investors. You can find out more about EQ Investors and their discretionary investment services here ›