Calvert launches global water fund, issues report on water investment opportunities
On September 30, 2008, Calvert launched its latest sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) mutual fund, part of a new series of investment portfolios known as Calvert Solution Strategies. Calvert Global Water Fund (CFWAX) will be sub-advised by KBC Asset Management International, Ltd., of Dublin, Ireland, which boasts an eight-year track record of strong performance in the global water sector...
• Water seen as key emerging issue for sustainable investors; Newest Calvert "solution" fund added in wake of Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund in 2007
BETHESDA, MD, Oct. 6, 2008 -- On September 30, 2008, Calvert launched its latest sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) mutual fund, part of a new series of investment portfolios known as Calvert Solution™ Strategies. Calvert Global Water Fund (CFWAX) will be sub-advised by KBC Asset Management International, Ltd., of Dublin, Ireland, which boasts an eight-year track record of strong performance in the global water sector. The unveiling of the new Calvert fund comes on the heels of the Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund (CGAEX), which became available in mid-2007.
The Fund invests in utility, infrastructure, and technology companies active in managing water resources.
"We see strong demand for such a fund from individual and institutional investors. We also see a tremendous opportunity to help educate investors on the societal concerns over ensuring equitable access to clean water and enable investors to be part of the solution," said Craig Cloyed, President, Calvert Distributors Inc.
"The precarious global situation today related to the supply and demand for freshwater creates a significant need for substantial investment in sustainable methods of obtaining and delivering water," said Jens Peers, head of ECO Investing at Dublin-based KBC and lead portfolio manager of the Calvert Global Water Fund. "Calvert and KBC have an established relationship and a proven, successful track record in working together to manage the Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund. KBC is a leader in the water investing field. We have been investing in water since 2000 through the KBC Eco Fund Water Strategy. KBC stays on top of the technological issues involved in the water cycle through its outside environmental advisory committee of scientists. We believe that no other water asset management group has set up a comparable committee of unbiased experts."
"Demand for water is rising around the world with both population growth and development. According to Scientific American 'Facing the Freshwater Crisis,' to provide access to water for these growing needs, there will need to be an investment of as much $1 trillion per year through 2030 in water infrastructure and sanitation systems," said Reggie Stanley, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Calvert. "Mutual funds and other investment vehicles are an important way to bring additional capital to the water sector. Currently, world-wide investments in water-related mutual funds and exchange-traded funds are over $13 billion.¹ In the face of this increasing demand for water investment, there is a growing awareness and interest from institutions and individuals in the investment and policy implications. Water is the ultimate natural resource. Some resources have substitutes. There are, however, no alternatives to water."
Calvert Solution™ Strategies consist of portfolios that selectively invest in companies that produce products and services designed to solve some of the most pressing environmental and social challenges. Generally, these strategies will seek to invest in companies that produce or market technologies that enhance the environment, public health and quality of life and in turn contribute positively to addressing U.S. and global sustainability challenges. "As investors, we can apply our capital toward sustainable water-related technologies, services, and solutions," said Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President for Social Research and Policy at Calvert. "Investors can encourage companies to manage their environmental impact responsibly by using less of this scarce resource and ensuring that communities have affordable access to clean water. With Calvert's significant research and analytical capabilities, as well as years of policy and advocacy experience, we are uniquely positioned to tackle the complex and sensitive sustainability concerns over water in a responsible way."
Freeman added that "Calvert understands the global sustainability challenges related to water and is committed to address them responsibly, both through the Fund's investment criteria and our advocacy objectives. As the first investor to join the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, Calvert will place a strong emphasis on promoting disclosure and transparency in conjunction with other Water Mandate signatories. It will also work with the highly regarded Pacific Institute, an organization that aims to help communities become more sustainable by finding solutions to problems like water shortages, habitat destruction, global warming, and environmental injustice."
Calvert also recently released "Unparalleled Challenge and Opportunity in Water," a White Paper that details the key drivers for the needed $1 trillion (USD) in annual investments in water-related infrastructure and services worldwide, and the resulting opportunities for investors. (Unlike some water funds, Calvert Global Water Fund seeks to avoid investing in bottled water because of problematic sustainability issues.)
Highlights of the White Paper
As demand for water grows and the finite supply of this crucial resource dwindles, investors will face tough new questions about sustainability and which companies are best positioned to address the future:
* To provide enough water for all uses through 2030, the world will need to invest as much as $1 trillion a year on applying existing technologies for conserving water, maintaining and replacing water-related infrastructure, and constructing sanitation systems.
* While China has only 8 percent of all the freshwater in the world, it is home to 22 percent of the world's population. Also, analysts expect India's demand for urban water to double by 2025.
* In the U.S., the population is gradually shifting toward warmer, drier regions, such as the Southwest.
* Adding global equity investments in water-related companies may potentially enhance overall portfolio returns while also improving portfolio diversification.
About the Fund
Calvert Global Water Fund will invest in companies whose main businesses are in the water sector or are significantly involved in the water sector. By contrast, some water funds own companies that derive only a small portion of their business from water-related activities.
The Fund is designed to invest in a broad universe of U.S. and non-U.S. stocks of companies whose main business is in the water sector or that are significantly involved in water-related services or technologies. Water-related services companies include those that provide water treatment, filtration equipment, or environmental controls; manufacturers of water-related equipment; engineering, providers of water and wastewater products and services and water utilities. Companies in water-related technologies are involved in water distribution, water infrastructure and equipment, construction and engineering, environmental control and services or technologies that conserve or enable more efficient use of water.
As an all-cap fund, Calvert Global Water Fund may invest in small-, mid- and large-cap global stocks. However, because many water-related resource companies are relatively young, the Fund may contain more small- and mid-cap stocks than large-cap stocks. The Fund will be geographically diversified. It will invest primarily in developed countries, but it may purchase securities in any region, including emerging markets.
Calvert Global Water Fund is subject to the risk that stocks that comprise the water sector may decline in value. The water industry can be significantly affected by common economic trends, such as the availability of water, the level of rainfall and consumption, and other climatic events, in addition to environmental considerations, taxation, and government regulation (including the cost of compliance). The Fund is non-diversified and may invest more of its assets in a smaller number of companies; therefore, gains or losses on a single stock may have greater impact on the Fund. The stock markets in which the Fund invests may also experience periods of volatility and instability. Consequently, the Fund may tend to be more volatile than other mutual funds. Lastly, foreign investments involve greater risks than U.S. investments, including political and economic risks and the risk of currency fluctuations.
For more information on any Calvert fund, please contact your financial advisor or call Calvert at (800) 368-2748 for a free prospectus. An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of an investment carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other information. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.
Calvert mutual funds are underwritten and distributed by Calvert Distributors Inc., member FINRA, a subsidiary of Calvert Group, Ltd. (10/08, 8328)
Contact: Melinda Lovins at (301) 657-7089 or Melinda.Lovins@Calvert.com and Elizabeth LeVaca at (301) 657-7047 or Elizabeth.LeVaca@calvert.com.
1. Based on Calvert Analysis of worldwide water funds done in March 2008 : Source Morningstar Direct.