Green economy in focus: Foresight Group Holdings
When Foresight Group Holdings ("Foresight") listed on London Stock Exchange's Main Market at the start of February, it became only the third fund manager to qualify for the Green Economy Mark at corporate level, alongside Gresham House and Impax Asset Management. We interviewed Jonathon McManus, Head of Corporate Investor Relations at Foresight, to learn more about the company's sustainability credentials.
Can you give us an overview of the business?
Foresight is an infrastructure and private equity investment manager with assets under management of £6.8 billion (as at September 2020). Using ESG-oriented strategies, it specialises in providing investment opportunities in difficult-to-access private markets to both institutional and retail investors. Foresight operates an integrated asset management business with two main operating segments: Foresight Infrastructure, an infrastructure asset management team focused on the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors; and Foresight Private Equity, a private equity and venture and growth capital investment management team focused on investment in UK regional SMEs.
What does receiving the Green Economy Mark mean to your company?
As a global investor that places sustainability at the heart of its investment strategies, this verification of our green credentials is excellent news and builds on the three listed funds under our management that have previously been awarded the Mark. Accreditations like this one help investors to identify those companies and stewards of capital, such as Foresight, that are genuinely green businesses. We welcome the third-party accreditation that the Green Economy Mark provides Foresight Group as we begin a new chapter as a public company.
How have you incorporated sustainability into your business activity?
We made our first environmental investment back in 2007 and a key strength of Foresight's business is the priority given to, and active implementation of, ESG-focused investment strategies. As demand for ESG assets has increased significantly in recent years, particularly among institutional investors, Foresight’s well-established track record has meant that we have been well placed to benefit.
Foresight has a Sustainability and ESG Committee whose influence reaches across the business. Our strategy (which has generated strong returns) is focused on achieving positive social and environmental outcomes through the investments we manage, with a particular focus on a wide range of renewable energy and infrastructure investments through Foresight Infrastructure, and on local economic growth and job creation through Foresight Private Equity.
What key developments in sustainability will impact your industry over the next 5 years?
The speed at which global investors shift towards a more sustainability-focused allocation of capital should only accelerate in the coming years, continuing to support Foresight’s ability to grow its assets under management. In infrastructure and broader real assets, sustainability themes including decarbonisation are increasingly key to investors’ long-term investment programmes. Investments in energy transition are core to this, along with adjacent real asset sectors such as sustainable forestry, regenerative agriculture, or new forms of food production.