First vegan investment fund coming to NYSE

22 August 2019 | Business

Sebastien Malo – An investment fund designed for animal rights advocates and environmentalists, the first of its kind according to financial experts, is set to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) next month.

VEGN, as it will show on the NYSE's floor, enters the fray of hundreds of funds that consider environmental, social or governance (ESG) factors in their investment decisions but will be unique in going animal cruelty-free, experts said.

US assets under management that follow ESG principles have been surging, representing one in four US dollars last year, up from one in five in 2016, according to The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, a Washington-based non-profit.

Holding such investments is a way to pressure companies to change their behaviour in order not to miss investors, said Tensie Whelan, who heads the New York University's Centre for Sustainable Business.

‘Interesting offering’

"It's an interesting offering because it's the only one of its kind," she said in a telephone interview.

VEGN, the ticker symbol for the exchange-traded fund (ETF), whose full name is US Vegan Climate Exchange Traded ETF, will exclude stocks among the 500 largest US companies that "rely on animal exploitation", said its creator Beyond Investing.

Selecting companies whose businesses do not test products on animals, or use animal-derived products, fossil fuels, plastic or agrochemicals, has meant tossing out 43% of the top 500 companies, said Claire Smith, the Switzerland based chief executive of Beyond Investing.

The fund's portfolio guidelines mean it doesn't include many pharmaceuticals, materials and consumer-sector stocks, said Smith. – Nampa/Reuters

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