EBG Capital, a Swiss environmental investment boutique led by two former Credit Suisse executives, has launched an “information hub” for asset owners and managers that want to invest in farmland responsibly.
Investor demand for farmland has increased over the last few years, as pension funds and other institutions seek alternatives to volatile stocks and low-yielding bonds. The trend has raised fears among NGOs about environmental degradation and a land grab in the developing world that could lead to higher food prices and a worsening of world hunger.
To allay those fears, some of the world’s biggest pension funds – ATP, ABP, AP2 and TIAA-CREF – teamed up in September 2011 to launch the “Principles for Responsible Investment in Farmland” (Farmland Principles).
EBG aims to complement the principles by acting as a “trusted go-to destination for information on responsible private farmland investing, including environmental and social impacts.”
EBG said the hub would benefit investors by enabling them to assess potential and existing performance and benchmark that performance against peers. It added that governments could also make use of the hub in deciding which farmland investments to allow, while NGOs could use it to better understand advocacy needs. In terms of the mechanics, EBG will collect and, for a fee, distribute the information on farmland investing. It is to be advised by a new board whose four to five members are currently being sought.
EBG says the board will be “established and publicized” by the end of March and that the deadline for the first round of reporting will be May 2013 – with results published by the start of June.
EBG managing partner Bernd Schanzenbächer said that while his firm was providing the know-how, manpower and funding to get the project started, “the idea is to have it operate independently of EBG Capital in the long run” … //
… (full text).
GEAB Newsletter N°70 – December 16, 2012, Contents: /the first steps in a chaotic world after, on LEAP2020: The current geopolitical dislocation, largely anticipated by LEAP/E2020 since February of 2009 (GEAB No. 32), has resulted in a global fragmentation than will accelerate over the course of next year, amidst global recession. The end of the leadership of traditional powers will bring about global chaos in 2013, with the “world after” beginning to emerge … (full long text and graphs).
Opposition in Berlin: Cyprus Bailout Could Fail in German Parliament, on Spiegel Online International, Jan 9, 2013;
Romanian tennis legend could become another tax exile in Russia, on Russia Today RT, Jan 10, 2013.