Scots firms lend weight to sustainability trust

The UN has a set of sustainable development goals. Picture: UN/Twitter.
The UN has a set of sustainable development goals. Picture: UN/Twitter.
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The button is being pressed on a new sustainable investment trust that hopes to plug a “significant financing gap”.

The Global Sustainability Community Interest Company has been established to develop the launch of the Global Sustainability Trust (GST), which aims to deliver “strong risk adjusted investment returns to savers”. The initiative is looking to tap investments that will help deliver on the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) – a universal set of targets and indicators that UN member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the coming years.

Currently, those SDGs face a significant financing gap. The backers of the new trust are looking to help public and private financing access opportunities to deliver the goals, as well as widen access to these investments, particularly for individual investors.

The initiative is said to have received the support of a wide range of private and public organisations in Scotland and the Community Interest Company recently organised a forum in Edinburgh to discuss the proposals with interested parties, including wealth managers, university endowments, local authority pension funds and charities.

Andrew Dykes, founder of the GST initiative, said: “The UN and the sustainability ecosystem are very interested in how the permanent capital structure of investment trusts can help to finance the SDGs.

“Scotland has a long history of socially useful financial innovation, and with its depth of financial expertise is very well placed to take the lead on this SDG-finance initiative.”

Douglas Armstrong, a partner at legal firm Dickson Minto, which is a founding supporter of the initiative, added: “Investment trusts, with permanent capital and an independent board, offer the ideal structure for investment of patient capital towards achieving the sustainable development goals whilst also offering investors an attractive and diversified return.”

The recent forum was supported by Dickson Minto, the Ardoch Foundation, Dunelm Energy, Gloag Foundation, Hampden & Co, Hottinger Group, Green Investment Group, NCM Fund Services, Scott-Moncrieff and Turcan Connell.

Keynote speaker Inger Andersen, director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, said: “The trust initiative is an important innovation in the bid to mobilise the levels of finance we urgently need if we are to meet the world’s ambitious sustainability targets.”