The corporate push to decarbonise the Australian economy has been given a $50 million boost by Qantas Super through an investment in a new fund being managed by specialist investment group Ellerston Capital.
Qantas Super has joined the federally funded Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) as cornerstone investor in the Ellerston 2050 Fund which has been created to support Australia’s carbon abatement ‘enablers’.
The fund is capitalising on the wave of emerging emissions reduction opportunities, seeking out listed and unlisted companies that are providing carbon footprint reduction technology and services to customers.
The scale of investment by CEFC, which has $10 billion of government capital in its arsenal, has not been disclosed. However, CEFC highlights significant opportunities ahead for the decarbonisation sector as the corporate community takes up the challenge.
“We are seeing significant change across corporate Australia as large companies commit to increasingly ambitious emissions reduction targets,” says Ian Learmonth, the CEO of CEFC.
“As this shift gains momentum, demand for products and services that enable companies to meet these targets will continue to increase and will play an integral role in building carbon reduction across the wider economy.
“The 2050 Fund is about delivering expert capital to these companies to help accelerate their growth as a part of the low emissions economy of the future.”
Qantas Super, one of Australia’s largest corporate super funds with $8.5 billion in assets under management and more than 27,000 members, has ramped up its focus on sustainable investments this year.
Last month, it made a $2 billion commitment in partnership with Calvert Research and Management and Goldman Sachs Asset Management to reduce carbon intensity across its equity portfolios.
“We value the opportunity to provide environmentally aligned capital to support the work of Australia’s carbon abatement enablers,” says Qantas Super CIO Andrew Spence, in reference to the latest investment.
“This approach is consistent with our commitment to deliver great investment performance to our members, while also achieving net zero carbon emissions across our investment portfolio by 2050. We’re excited to be working with the CEFC and Ellerston Capital to help us meet this goal.”.
Ellerston says the 2050 Fund is specifically targeting the increasing number of companies that are helping the economy transition to net zero emissions.
“A growing urgency is required to tackle the causes and consequences of climate change and this is recognised by investors such as CEFC and Qantas Super with whom we are proud to be partnering with to address this clear structural growth opportunity,” says Ellerston Capital executive chairman and CIO Ashok Jacob.
A report prepared by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia revealed that responsible investments grew assets under management by $298 billion to $1.281 trillion in 2020, compared with a drop of $234 billion to $1.918 trillion in the remainder of the market.
The proportion of responsible investment assets under management to total managed funds was 40 per cent in 2020, up from 31 per cent in 2019. Funds using leading responsible investment approaches, such as those proposed by the 2050 Fund, grew at 15 times the rate of the entire investment market.
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