Focus

Beyond sustainable investing - Combining green returns with support for marine research

Monday, 06/14/2021

The Mediterranean’s sperm whales and their ecosystem may seem an unlikely investment target. But a new finance model puts the fruits of investments in sustainable assets to work for both clients and protecting the marine environment of some of the world’s busiest and most polluted waters.

Monday, 06/14/2021 - 13:49

The Mediterranean’s sperm whales and their ecosystem may seem an unlikely investment target. But a new finance model puts the fruits of investments in sustainable assets to work for both clients and protecting the marine environment of some of the world’s busiest and most polluted waters.

The Mediterranean carries around 30% of the world’s shipping and yet its surface area covers less than 1% of the globe’s oceans. In addition to shipping, the sea’s 46,000 kilometer coastline, home to 450 million people, hosts an estimated one-third of the world’s tourists.. The pressures created by dense shipping and populations have degraded the Mediterranean basin. Over the past 50 years, the sea has lost 41% of its marine mammals and one-third of its fish. There are now fewer than 1,000 sperm whales left in the western Mediterranean, and both whales and dolphins are too often trapped in fishing nets, killed in collisions with shipping, or disturbed by noise pollution from humans.

Asociacion Tursiops, a Palma de Mallorca-based non-profit group of marine biologists, tracks dolphin and whale populations in the Mediterranean in an effort to provide them with safe zones Working with the University of St. Andrews since 2003, it logs cetaceans’ routes around and through the Mediterranean in an effort to design strategies to provide protected zones to avoid collisions, the number one cause of premature mortality.

Designed by the Syz Group, an investment certificate now connects sustainable asset know-how with the opportunities triggered by the European Union’s 540 billion euro ‘Green Deal’ spending plans.

Syz has experience in designing investment solutions aimed at generating performance and a direct impact. The bank previously partnered with the World Bank to launch the first bonds in Switzerland linking private investors to Sustainable Development Goals. More recently, Syz introduced an investment solution supporting BNP Paribas’ commitment to a reforestation initiative. Building on these positive experiences, Syz is now partnering with Kepler Chevreux to invest in a basket of companies in the renewable energy, circular economy, water and waste, eco-products and services sectors. Three-quarters of this Syz certificate’s investors choose the share class that then distributes some of the certificate’s returns to Asociacion Tursiops.

“This combination of investing in the green economy and supporting ecological research has been hugely popular with our clients,” says Carole Millet, head of sustainable investing at Syz in Geneva. “They are getting promising portfolio yields while sharing the returns in an excellent cause,” she says. “It brings together the benefits of philanthropy and green investing.”

For the marine biologists at Asociacion Tursiops, the pledge to share investment returns over several years offers stability to their research in the Mediterranean.

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