As a response to growing demand to find investments that meet criteria of vegan investors, US Vegan Climate ETF (VEGN) is set to hit the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on September 10th. It will be the first-ever fund of its kind in the world. Created by vegan investing platform Beyond Investing, the fund will track the US Vegan Climate Index (VEGN), which was launched by Beyond Investing last year.
The Index is currently home to 276 stocks with an average market value of $221 billion.
The index screens and removes companies whose business models rely on animal exploitation, first and foremost, but it also has quite a few other targets, including fossil fuel and environmental threats such as plastic and agrochemicals--all of which are harmful to wild animals.
Claire Smith, Beyond Investing’s CEO said that the aim is to help vegans and animal activists take the pain out of their portfolios will exclude stocks among the 500 largest US companies that “rely on animal exploitation,” which means tossing out some 43% of them.
“So many compassionate people go to great efforts to avoid buying products that contain animal ingredients… but when it comes to their investment options, they’re actively, albeit often unwittingly, supporting companies and industries that exploit and torture animals,” she said.
The EFTs top four holdings will be Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Mastercard.
Related: Will The Stock Market Really Crash If Trump Isn’t Re-Elected? The fund was originally expected to start trading in January but was delayed because of issues relating to advisor registration. Currently, it is available in the US and most other countries, except Europe, due to regulations.
This is the era of conscience investing, after all, and there are hundreds of funds popping up that now factor in ESG--environmental, social or governance--considerations. But the Vegan Fund is the first to specifically target animal cruelty-free companies with a wide net.
According to the 2018 U.S. Sustainable and Responsible Investment Foundation’s (SIF) report, Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing (SRI) assets account $12 trillion of the $46.6 trillion in total assets under professional management in the U.S.--as of early 2018. That’s a 40-percent increase from 2016.
It won’t stop there, either.
Research from last year conducted by Campden Wealth in the Global Family Office Report showed that more than one in three family offices engaged in sustainable investing. The same report found that nearly half planned to increase their sustainable investments over the next 12 months.
And when it comes to vegan options, that trend, too, is on the rise. In the U.S., the vegan population grew 600 percent from around 4 million in 2014 to 19.6 million in 2017.
TheEconomist has in fact declared 2019 as “the year veganism goes mainstream.”
Last year, many retailers forecast plant-based items to be among the top five food trends in 2019. Plant Based Foods Association found that sales of plant-based meat in the United States had grown at a fast clip-- by 24 percent--over the previous year.
Some of the world’s largest meat and dairy producers and retailers are changing their businesses to keep up with this generation’s demand for plant-based products.
By Josh Owens for Safehaven.com
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