Hancock’s new hire to ‘accelerate impact-first investments’

Eric Cooperström joins from NatureVest and will seek to develop agri and timber investment opportunities that ‘remove carbon from the atmosphere.’

Hancock Natural Resource Group’s new impact investing and natural climate solutions managing director, Eric Cooperström, has been hired with a view to develop the firm’s “impact-first investment” offerings, the company told Agri Investor.

Responding to a question about how Cooperström’s hire impacts Hancock’s plans to offer the agri and timber asset classes “specifically for the purposes of mitigating climate change,” the firm said in a statement: “Eric’s position is intended to accelerate our development of impact-first investments that emphasize timber and agricultures natural ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere.”

Eric Cooperström

Hancock declined to specify any key targets Cooperström has been set with regards to the nascent agricultural carbon credits market but clarified that he and his team “are engaged in monitoring the emerging agricultural carbon markets and collaborating with our value-added services team, which is designed to capture market opportunities for our clients.”

Manulife Investment Management chief sustainability officer Brian Kernohan – of which Hancock is a subsidiary – told Agri Investor in January that the company is at a “very exploratory” stage with regards to a distinct vehicle that would prioritize carbon sequestration over financial returns.

The potential for a vehicle that would take such an “impact-first” approach was included in the inaugural Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures-aligned report, released in late December.

Cooperström joined Hancock from NatureVest, the impact investment arm of The Nature Conservancy, where he was a senior director and was responsible for asset management and for developing the conservation impact investment strategy.

Previously, he was program-related investment lead at the Skoll Foundation. He has also worked at Volta Capital and Capital Dynamics in London as an investment associate and was an analyst at investment bank Houlihan Lokey.

Cooperström will report into Kernohan and will be based in San Francisco.