Manulife Financial’s global wealth and asset management business Manulife Investment Management announced today the launch of the Manulife Forest Climate Fund, aimed at providing investors with the opportunity to invest in nature and climate change mitigation, and delivering value through carbon credits.

Manulife stated that the fund, targeted at $500 million in committed capital, will invest in a globally diversified portfolio of sustainably managed forestland assets, where carbon sequestration is prioritized over timber production.

According to the firm, the fund is being launched as investors are looking to help address biodiversity and nature loss through long-term protection and restoration of sensitive habitats, with sustainable investing practices and nature-positive outcomes aimed at meeting client needs to go beyond net neutral strategies.

The new fund will focus on acquiring forests with strong carbon potential and high conservation value, in addition to the implementation of sustainable forest management plans, providing investors with long-term supplies of high-quality carbon credits by pursuing carbon insets through sequestration. The fund aims to generate returns for investors through the use of carbon credits, conservation easements, value-added strategies, and limited timber harvests.

Tom Sarno, Global Head of Timberland Investments at Manulife Investment Management, said:

“We believe high-integrity, verified carbon credits will continue to be viewed as premier decarbonization instruments and that, in time, such carbon markets will eventually come to resemble that of more traditional commodities.”

The Manulife Forest Climate Fund will initially be available to qualified U.S. investors, with the firm stating that it may seek to provide opportunities for professional investors in other jurisdictions, such as the EU to invest in the strategy. To that end, Manulife said that the fund will comply with Article 9 requirements under SFDR.

Eric Cooperström, Managing Director, Impact Investing and Natural Capital Solutions at Manulife Investment Management, said:

 “We are excited to bring a product to investors that we have developed by capitalizing on our decades of experience in sustainable timberland management and on our carbon market expertise.”

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