Alquity calls on asset managers to join 40-40 Campaign to support EM communities through covid-19

'Covid-19 should act as a watershed moment for investment managers'

Investment manager Alquity is calling on its asset management peers to join its 40-40 Campaign an support communities in the developing world hit by the covid-19 crisis, as we can reveal ESG Clarity will be acting as media partner to the initiative

The group launched the campaign earlier this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic with the aim of delivering social support to 40,000 people in emerging markets that are less well-equipped to deal the devastating impact of covid-19.

Alquity has pledged to donate 40% of its revenues from new investments and is seeking asset management firms to partner with.

The Alquity Transforming Lives Foundation has already committed an initial $40,000 to kick start the 40-40 Campaign and is working with its charity partners to identify specific programmes that can assist at this time of crisis.

Suresh Mistry, co-founder and sales director at Alquity, told ESG Clarity: “As part of the investment management industry, I asked myself what can we do to help in this time of crisis. What can we do that will make a difference in people’s lives? As responsible investors, we have a responsibility to take that action.

“We are good at telling companies how to reduce their negative impact on the planet and how to treat people, but what are we doing as an industry? We need to turn that ESG lens back on us.”

He also echoed the sentiment discussed in ESG Clarity pieces Shining a light on companies helping society move through covid-19 crisis part 1 and part 2, which explored how companies behave in this period will have long-lasting impact, particularly from a reputation perspective.

He added: “The covid-19 pandemic should act as a watershed moment for investment managers to review their business models and see if they are fit for the post-covid world. The huge bail outs planned by governments across the world will lead to a new social contract for businesses and the investment industry will not be excluded from this. As the world focuses on key workers, the doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, it will not be long before it asks what key role investment managers played during this time. How they answer will have a huge bearing on the future of responsible investment.”

Why 40-40 Campaign is crucial at this time

Alquity said those in emerging markets experience a disproportionate impact from covid-19 as due to cramped living conditions they are more likely to catch the virus, they are more likely to have chronic health conditions and therefore are more vulnerable to the virus, they are less able to access healthcare in poorer countries and the financial impact of quarantines on incomes are more profound.

As well as donating to a proportion of its management fees to the Alquity Transforming Lives Foundation, the group is also supporting those more vulnerable in Latin America, Asia and Africa with investments through its Future World Fund.

The management team choose responsible businesses that contribute to long term sustainable growth in their markets and allows them to direct funds to the “most in need” projects. These have so far included Educate! an East African non-profit, which tackles youth unemployment by partnering with schools and governments to reform what schools teach, giving students the skills to start businesses, get jobs and drive development in their communities. Alquuity highlighted, however, Educate! does not have online services and social distancing measures resulting from the pandemic will greatly limit their capabilities to support students so it will be supporting the organisation navigate this crisis so that it can continue its work at a time of greatest need.

Paul Robinson,  chairman at Alquity, commented: “The 40-40 Campaign is our response to the severe economic and social hardship the covid-19 epidemic will cause many people around the world. Alquity has always believed that wherever you are born, you should have an equal opportunity in life and this is even more relevant today. As some of the freedoms and comforts we are used to in developed countries are dramatically reduced, we are getting a glimpse of what daily life is like for a some of the poorest people on the planet. This is our chance to transform investment and create a fairer, more sustainable society.”

Groups or individuals wanting to partner or be involved with the campaign should contact Suresh Mistry on Suresh.Mistry@alquity.com.

Social and Sustainable Capital invests in Baca Charity

Meanwhile, the Social and Sustainable Housing Fund has announced an investment into the Baca Charity, which is young asylum seekers in the UK.

The fund, part of Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC), has made the investment as part of its aim to work with vulnerable people who are hampered by lack of access to safe, stable and appropriate homes.

Loughborough-based Baca Charity is aiding victims of trafficking aged 16-18 by helping them to rebuild their lives, integrating them in to the community and providing them with sustainable housing.

Baca offers a range of rental accommodation including new arrival houses, semi-independent learning houses and post-18 accommodation, and with SASC’s investment, it will be able to purchase the properties it rents as well as three additional one-bed flats, which will enable move-on accommodation to be provided to its beneficiaries for the first time.

Jimmy Zachariah, CEO of Baca, said: “At Baca, we seek to invest in and shape the futures of highly vulnerable unaccompanied young people who are victims of trafficking and seeking refuge. This investment will enable Baca to ensure these young people have a safe home to live in during their stay with us. A safe home to live is a fundamental basic human need. This safe place will provide the much needed foundation for our young people to rebuild their lives and become positive, empowered individuals who can integrate into communities and contribute to society.”

Ben Rick, managing director of SASC, added: “Baca has operated a specialist service for young forced migrants for 10 years and it is a leader in this field. We are delighted to invest in the charity, at a time when demand for their services is growing.

“Property ownership will reduce Baca’s reliance on rental properties, which are often in short supply and at inflated prices due to a large student population in Loughborough. The charity’s housing provision will be become broader and more sustainable, enabling it to increase its impact and help more vulnerable asylum-seeking children settle safely in the UK.”

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Natalie Kenway

Natalie is global head of ESG insight for ESG Clarity and has been an investment journalist for 16 years. She won Editor of the Year at the Aviva Investors Sustainability Media Awards 2021, and was Winner...