BlackRock has launched an impact fund designed to seek alpha through companies focusing on combating the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other major global issues.
According to the fund giant, which came under the spotlight last year over its engagement with climate issues, the high conviction equity strategy gives investors access to businesses that are “helping to address major world challenges”, and that are advancing the UN’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs).
The portfolio focuses on a broad spread of themes including access to quality education and affordable housing, and developing healthcare innovation to help with societal challenges such as the current Covid-19 pandemic which has caused over 130,000 deaths worldwide at the time of writing.
The actively managed fund will also search for growth in firms that are pushing for financial and digital inclusion, preventing climate change, reversing environmental degradation, and increasing efficiencies in water usage and deployment, the US asset manager said in a statement.
According to portfolio manager and head of active equities impact investing, Eric Rice, who joined BlackRock last year, impact investing is becoming more popular as investors "increasingly require their investment targets to advance their sustainability objectives".
“Launching the fund during the Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the important role companies play in society. Covid-19 is one of the greatest societal challenges the world faces right now, and we see impact investing playing a meaningful role in how we overcome it,” he said.
He added that capital from the fund will be invested in companies focused on medical diagnostic tools and vaccines to combat the coronavirus crisis, as well as "crisis mass notification systems" and microloans.
SDGs, a collection of 17 global goals, were set in 2015 by the UN with the intention of creating a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
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