SYDNEY, Nov. 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Australia’s original responsible investment and super fund manager Australian Ethical has, through its philanthropic entity the Australian Ethical Foundation, awarded $500k to fund Australia’s next climate and tech solutions in its inaugural 2021 Visionary Grants.
The recipient climate and technology projects all leverage unique and novel innovations that will drive significant and sustainable positive impact to combat climate change.
As an example, grant recipient Climate KIC is building the world’s first technology platform to run an Integrated Ocean Energy Marketplace, designed to address the lack of market demand for ocean energy in the ‘Blue Economy’ (coastal businesses, communities, and industries).
Recipient Original Power is improving energy security for First Nations communities in the Northern Territory, by replacing the reliance on expensive and polluting diesel-fired power with a distributed energy micro-grid utilising new solar and battery storage, and wireless distribution of electricity credit to all homes. Key project outcomes include lower-cost and more reliable power, and a blueprint for other communities to roll out their own community solar projects.
Recipient researchers at Central Queensland University will reseed over 20 hectares of seagrass within the Port of Gladstone using UAVs (drones) for targeted seed dispersal, demonstrating a new method of seagrass restoration that is scalable across Australia. UAVs will map the restoration sites using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and multispectral imaging to assess target locations for restoration.
And recipient Seabin Foundation will install the first Seabin 6.0 Data Monitoring Unit (DMU) in Sydney Harbour, to collect marine debris 24/7 and provide important data about ocean pollutants.This new Seabin unit will add real time water quality data through sensors (IoT connectivity) to monitor trends in association with floating plastics and contaminants.
Australian Ethical also recently became a major investor in Main Sequence, the venture capital fund founded by CSIRO, which invests in a wide variety of deep tech or science-based start-ups seeking to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, including decarbonisation.
Australian Ethical’s increasing focus on supporting climate solutions through both investment and grants leverages one of the biggest investment megatrends in human history: aligning capital and impact to solve the climate crisis, which the UN describes as “the biggest threat modern humans have ever faced”.
John McMurdo, CEO and MD of Australian Ethical, said: “With the recent Glasgow Breakthroughs at COP26, nations have come together to make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible, and attractive option in each emitting sector globally before 2030.
“We applaud this commitment, however we also believe that continued public and private collaboration is needed to accelerate the uptake, scale, and impact of these technologies.
“For this reason, our Visionary Grants have largely focused on climate-tech solutions this year, and we could not be more proud of the exciting innovations presented by organisations like CQU, Climate KIC, Original Power, and the Seabin Foundation.”
Every year, Australian Ethical donates 10 percent of its profits (after tax and before bonus) to the Australian Ethical Foundation to create environmental and social impact in Australia and overseas, amounting to over $6 million to date.
The Foundation donates funds through a public grant round, Visionary Grants, and a private invitation round, Strategic Grants.
Complete list of 2021 Visionary Grant recipients and grant size:
- Accounting for Nature ($80,000) will help establish an online environmental accounting technology platform that organisations can use to import remote sensing and field data; create and verify an environmental account; link this account to carbon offsets (e.g. carbon offset unit registries); and once certified by Accounting for Nature Ltd, export this environmental account data into Xero (or other software package) to align financial reporting data with carbon and environmental accounting metrics.
- The Nature Conservancy ($50,000) will establish and pilot a Blue Carbon Covenant Fund to protect, restore and recover coastal blue carbon sinks on private land across South-East Queensland. It will target eligible wetlands, saltmarsh and swamps to deliver aggregate benefits. As an Australian first, the project allows private investors to support wetland restoration and capture blue carbon, through carbon credits, with proceeds provided to the environment.
- Climateworks ($50,000) will establish the Net Zero Infrastructure Alliance (NZIA) to draw government and industry together, creating an influential and collaborative platform with a shared purpose to shape and implement an ambitious infrastructure plan that supports our whole nation’s systems-wide transition to net zero.
- Original Power ($80,000) is improving energy security for First Nations communities in the Northern Territory, by replacing the reliance on expensive and polluting diesel-fired power with a distributed energy micro-grid utilising new solar and battery storage, and wireless distribution of electricity credit to all homes.
- Climate KIC ($80,000) is building the world’s first technology platform to run an Integrated Ocean Energy Marketplace, designed to address the lack of market demand for ocean energy in the ‘Blue Economy’ (coastal businesses, communities, and industries).
- Central Queensland University ($90,000) will reseed over 20 hectares of seagrass within the Port of Gladstone using UAVs (drones) for targeted seed dispersal, demonstrating a new method of seagrass restoration that is scalable across Australia.
- Seabin Foundation ($40,000) will install the first Seabin 6.0 Data Monitoring Unit (DMU) in Sydney Harbour, to collect marine debris 24/7 and provide important data about ocean pollutants.
- Opportunity International Australia ($30,000) will build an evidence base and best practice guidance to enable locally led climate adaptation for some of the most vulnerable and underserved communities, first in Indonesia and then globally. By leveraging Opportunity International Australia’s trusted microfinance network, the project will build a better understanding of client vulnerabilities and needs, enabling improved financial products, additional training and other services to provide a robust pathway out of poverty for over one million families in Indonesia.
Australian Ethical (www.australianethical.com.au) is Australia’s original responsible investment and fastest-growing super fund manager, with a 35-year track record, over $6 billion in Funds Under Management (FUM), and above-market returns in its premium products.
Australian Ethical offers nine managed funds and seven investment options in its superannuation fund. These are managed by an in-house team of investment professionals consisting of sector specialists with an average of over 16 years’ experience, and an internal ethics team with a separate reporting line. Every decision made by both teams is guided by the Australian Ethical Charter and its responsible investment philosophy. The investment team combines the most comprehensive ethical assessment process in the market with fundamental bottom-up stock analysis that goes far deeper than generic ESG investing.
Australian Ethical is rated as one of the top-performing super fund and investment managers by Super Ratings, Chant West, Morningstar, Money Magazine, Rainmaker, Forbes, and Financial Standard.
Recently, Australian Ethical was awarded:
- Money Management Fund Manager of the year 2021
- UN ‘PRI Leaders Group 2020’ for excellence and advanced efforts in climate reporting
- B Corp Best for the World – Customers
- B Corp Best for the World – Government
- Mozo People’s Choice 2021
- RIAA Responsible Investment Leader 2021
- SuperRatings Infinity 2022, Responsible investment leaders++
- 1 of just 6 global leaders for ESG commitment, and the only Australian asset manager, by Morningstar
- Australian Ethical Australian Shares option is 1st over 1 year, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years in the SR50 Australian Shares Index in the SuperRatings Fund Crediting Rate Survey as at 30 June 2021
- Australian Ethical Balanced option is 2nd for 3 years (9.99%) in the SR50 Balanced (60-76) Index, and has outperformed the SR50 Balanced (60-76) Index over the 5 and 7 years in the SuperRatings Fund Crediting Rate Survey as at 30 June 2021
- Emerging Companies Fund (Wholesale) and the Diversified Shares Fund (Wholesale) 5-star rating by Canstar
- Money Magazine Best of the Best Award: ESG Trailblazer
- Finder.com.au Green Superannuation Fund of the Year
- SuperRatings Infinity Award for best sustainable super fund, best performing SR50 Australian shares option over 5 years and Gold for MyChoice Super, MySuper++, and Pension++
- Financial Standard Investment Leadership Award: ESG – Australian Equities