Debt & impact firm in $50m agri bet – update

Fixed income impact asset manager Community Capital Management has launched a $50m fund to finance sustainable agriculture projects in the US.

*adds further detail about the initiative.

Fixed income and impact investment manager Community Capital Management is to channel $50 million of debt into sustainable agriculture projects over the next year on behalf of existing institutional and high net worth investor clients.

The firm is pooling capital for these sustainable agri investents from across its range of fixed income products that invest into local government bonds financing state or municipal projects in the US. The firm has already invested $8 million into agri projects to date, according to Barbara VanScoy, founder at CCM.

Investor interest in fulfilling sustainable investment principles in their portfolios was an important factor in establishing the sustainable agriculture initiative, VanScoy told Agri Investor. “We have put together investment opportunities such as this in the past, and our clients have expressed a continued interest in the sustainable investment space,” she said.

The types of agri projects in line for funding range from a small home loan for farm workers, to schools implementing catering programmes featuring healthy, locally sourced food.

CCM expects the $50 million to be fully invested within three to five years. There is no cap on the term of an investment provided it continues to meet CCM’s guidelines. “We would only divest if the investment no longer met our criteria in terms of what it was investing in or credit quality,” said VanScoy.

The firm hopes to tap into burgeoning consumer demand for locally-produced, traceable food. and the need to provide financing to the US agriculture industry, which employs 2 percent of the national workforce.

To coincide with the initiative, the firm has produced a report on investing in sustainable agriculture including a definition of sustainability, the firm’s investment approach and examples.

“The sustainable agriculture movement is growing and as a result, impact investors are increasingly able to add it to a menu of mission choices that align with their social and financial objectives,” said VanScoy, in the statement. “While still relatively new, there are opportunities for market-rate investors to direct capital to opportunities that support and nurture a local, sustainable agricultural economy.”

CCM currently manages around $2 billion of assets and has invested over $6.3 billion in community development initiatives nationwide on behalf of its clients since inception in 1998.