VIA AM Launches Carbon Neutral Share Classes for VIA Smart-Equity Europe fund

VIA AM, a Paris-based systematic investment specialist asset manager, has launched carbon neutral share classes for its flagship European strategy, the VIA Smart-Equity Europe fund.

The VIA Smart-Equity Europe is a UCITS fund domiciled in Luxembourg and invested in European equities through a systematic approach. Its strategy focus on the selection of liquid European companies that demonstrate three main features: high profitability, good potential and outlook, and relatively cheap valuations. The fund is distributed globally by Eric Sturdza Investments.
 
Within the new carbon neutral share classes for this strategy, VIA AM will compensate for greenhouse emissions by companies in the portfolio, relative to the fund’s allocation, through carbon offsetting projects. VIA AM is partnering with Judo Cares, an independent specialist, who will advise VIA AM on selecting the best carbon offsetting programmes.  
 
VIA AM has created these new share classes as part of its wider approach to give investors choice when it comes to investing more sustainably and ethically. The goal is to maximise long-term returns for clients, while contributing to one of the greatest challenges of our time, climate change.
 
Through carbon offset projects, VIA AM will neutralise greenhouse emissions of its portfolio holdings and potentially deliver additional related benefits against wider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria, such as helping to fund projects fighting against poverty or which promote biodiversity. The initiative will be funded by investors paying a slightly increased management fee (by 0.05 per cent), together with VIA AM reducing its margin in line with this increase (by 0.05 per cent or more).
 
Laurent Pla, co-founder of VIA AM and Fund Manager, says: “We have long embraced ESG as part of our wider investment process, but have always had to weigh client returns with good intensions.  As systematic managers who like the truth of numbers, we believe that another way to integrate a strong ESG dimension into our management is by measuring and offsetting companies' Co2 emissions. By giving clients choice to trade via these new share classes, we hope that we and they can play a modest but objective contribution to driving down carbon emissions.”
 
Andy Fish, Managing Director of Eric Sturdza Investments and member of Eric Sturdza Investment’s ESG Committee, adds: “Our goal is to offer clients access to a suite of sustainable investment portfolios which truly align ambitions for investment returns with wider efforts to embed sustainability into business practices. This includes supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the EU's policy to combat climate change. Many of our clients are searching for ways to contribute to climate change action while complimenting their broader approach to ESG investing and driving long-term return across portfolios, and it’s refreshing to see VIA AM develop such an approach for investors wishing to access their European strategy.”