Asian family office RS Group outlines how it integrated climate change in its portfolio

In a case-study published by the Alliance Magazine, Katy Yung from RS Group and Ivo Knoepfel from onValues describe their work in helping RS Group incorporate climate change considerations in its entire investment portfolio. onValues has been supporting RS Group for years in further developing its sustainable investment strategy and moving its assets from traditional to ESG-inclusive strategies. The case-study shows how climate change risk and opportunity considerations have been integrated in different asset classes ranging from fixed income, to listed equity, private equity and alternative investments.

RS Group’s strategy rests on three pillars: Support (invest in climate change solutions); Avoid (divest from fossil fuel-intense industries); Engage (engage with investment holdings and share experiences with the broader community).


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«Alliance Magazine - Stewarding wealth» 

New opportunities in impact investing

In a recently published article by Investment & Pensions Europe, Ivo Knoepfel shares onValues' assessment of investment opportunities in the growing impact investment market. Based on its research, onValues estimates that there is USD 70-90bn invested via impact strategies globally, of which about $15bn is microfinance and other themes in developing countries. Community and social investments in developed countries, mainly in the US, make up almost half of the total. A further $20-30bn is accounted for by parts of cleantech, infrastructure and other real assets that are classified as impact investments.  Through its proprietary research and databases, onValues helps clients assess the many managers active in the space. The article also includes interesting insights from leading organisations such as GIIN, Bridges Ventures and Social Finance.

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«IPE Article - Beyond microfinance» 

Positioning Switzerland as a leading sustainable finance hub

onValues contributed to the recently released white paper "Path to the Sustainable Financial Centre Switzerland" that contains a range of recommendations aimed at strengthening Switzerland's position as a leading global hub for sustainable finance. The paper was co-sponsored by Sustainable Finance Geneva (SFG) and The Sustainability Forum Zürich (TSF) and is based on extensive research and dialogue with over 50 key stakeholders. Among other inputs, onValues contributed a detailed benchmarking study comparing the relative strength of financial marketplaces such as London, New York, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich in the broad sustainable finance space.

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«Path to the Sustainable Financial Centre Switzerland» 

The link between family wealth and global resource constraints

Peter Zollinger, member of the onValues advisory board and a partner at Globalance Bank, recently co-authored "The Ecological Debt Trap: Why Understanding Global Resource Constraints Helps Protect Families' Wealth" in Family Office Global magazine. In the article, Zollinger and David Hertig cite the fact that humanity currently uses 50% more resources than our planet can provide. They argue that understanding this growing "resource gap" will be key to preserving wealth over the coming 15, 20 or 30 years.

The authors describe how resource scarcity affects all asset classes. Given current market demands for uncorrelated real returns and cash generation, plus the accelerating political and technological reaction to resource scarcity, Zollinger and Hertig conclude that "sustainable real assets marry both aspects and are poised to deliver great results to long-term investors." They offer two showcase investment examples: waste-to-energy biogas in Western Europe and sustainable agriculture in Australia, each with projected 15% real returns per annum and cash flow generation starting in 2-3 years.

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«The Ecological Debt Trap» 

Mapping sustainable finance in Switzerland

A new report by onValues provides an overview of the organizations and associations active in sustainable finance in Switzerland. The report, entitled "Mapping Sustainable Finance in Switzerland", builds on previous work by onValues benchmarking international financial centres on sustainability. It presents descriptive statistics on 220 individual actors in all segments of the financial sector, including asset management, banking, research, pensions, insurance, academia, government and the voluntary sector. The report also lists 26 associations and platforms that coordinate activities among sustainable finance actors in Switzerland.

This research confirms that Switzerland enjoys a strong ecosystem of sustainable finance organizations with a high degree of interconnection. onValues hopes that this preliminary mapping exercise will be a first step toward enhanced coordination and will support the strategic positioning of sustainability within the broader Swiss financial sector.

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«Mapping Sustainable Finance in Switzerland» 

European foundations mark the trail for mission investing

For the second year running, European foundations and foundation association representatives gathered to share their experience on "mission investing", an umbrella term that refers to the conscious consideration of mission in endowment investment decisions. The meeting was organised by onValues and co-hosted by the Mistra Foundation, EFC and SwissFoundations. Nearly 30 participants from nine European countries met in Zurich to share experiences, discuss challenges and look for practical actions to advance mission investing in the foundation sector.

The meeting report, "Putting mission investing to work", highlights a range of recommended actions for foundations, foundation associations and foundation advisors aimed at accelerating the uptake of mission investing in Europe. It summarises meeting insights on critical topics ranging from the strategic framing of mission investing as part of a foundation's post-financial crisis strategy, to advice on sourcing and implementing impact investments directly linked to a foundation's goals. The report also includes a section drawn from research on the rapidly evolving European landscape of mission investing and a section on current thinking on fiduciary duty in relation to foundation mission investment.

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«Putting mission investing to work» 

onValues calls attention to investment gold

Over the past five years, the gold price has risen by almost 20% annually. Investors account for 40% of total gold demand and have been integral in driving gold prices to their current levels. In an article in the September 2012 issue of Investments & Pensions Europe, onValues Managing Director Ivo Knoepfel calls on investors to understand the role they play and the responsibility they bear in supporting the extraction of the precious metal. "Their perception is that they are a negligible player in gold and unlike the jewellery sector, industries and central banks do not carry any major responsibility," says Knoepfel. With contributions from the World Gold Council, pension funds and asset managers, the article discusses the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in gold production and introduces actions that investors can take to ensure an environmentally-friendly, conflict-free, socially sustainable supply of gold.

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«Extracting the true cost of gold - I&PE September 2012» 

Impact investing for foundations – Swiss Foundations Report 2012

The annual reference document of the Swiss foundation sector (Schweizer Stiftungsreport) this year includes a guest article by onValues MD Ivo Knoepfel on ways in which foundations can better align their investments to their mission. The article discusses the spectrum of options available to foundations ranging from program related investments to venture philanthropy, impact investments, and sustainable and responsible investments. It recognises the challenges that implementing such investments can pose to smaller foundations with limited resources and proposes more collaboration between foundations to overcome this, e.g. in the context of a newly formed working group of the SwissFoundations association.

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«Swiss Foundations Report 2012» (available in German and French only)

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