Mirova’s Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund raises additional USD50m

Mirova Natural Capital wholly owned by sustainable investment manager Mirova, an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, has held the second close of the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund (SOF), a fund dedicated to making pioneering impact investments into marine and coastal projects and enterprises that can deliver sustainable economic returns in fisheries, aquaculture, associated seafood supply chains, ocean waste & recycling and marine conservation.

The fund’s total commitments are now more than USD92 million.
The fund invests in scalable, impact-aligned businesses that harness the ocean’s natural capital with the objective to generate real assets, build resilience in coastal ecosystems and create sustainable economic growth and livelihoods in the blue economy.
The new additional commitments come from leading European institutional investors and include the German Development Bank KFW, along with French insurers BNP Paribas Cardif and Garance. The fund is open to the end of this year and the target final close is expected to be more than $100m of total commitments. 
“We are delighted to announce the second close for the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund and welcome the support from our new investors. This fund allows us to direct meaningful investments at scale to support sustainable business models and enterprises in the blue economy within developing countries and small island states while also addressing the most pressing issues in ocean conservation and resilience,” says Simon Dent, SOF Principal.
Target impacts include improved food and climate security, stabilisation or increased fish stocks, improved livelihoods and economic value for local stakeholders, prevention of marine waste and plastic pollution, as well as ecological biodiversity and conservation gains in ocean and coastal ecosystems.
Collectively, the global ocean covers 70 per cent of our planet, and over one billion people depend on fish for their primary source of protein, with more than 350 million jobs linked to the ocean through fishing, aquaculture, coastal and marine tourism. Ninety per cent of the people who derive their livelihoods from fishing live in developing countries. The UN estimate that a healthy ocean, supporting fisheries and aquaculture, energy production, trade and tourism contributes around USD3 trillion to the global market economy annually.
As a result of expanding coastal population centres and climate change, the ocean has also seen a decline of habitats with 35 per cent of global mangrove, 30 per cent of sea grass beds and 50 per cent of coral reefs destroyed. Further 80 per cent of all marine pollution comes from land-based sources and some eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year.
Meeting these challenges will require significant new private investment. SOF aims to deliver this to projects and companies where we believe a compelling business and impact case can be made. The fund has already made investments into aquiculture in Mexico and into a company developing technology to reduce by catch in global fisheries.
The fund benefits from a partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and has executed a risk sharing guarantee through USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) that will provide loan guarantees directly to portfolio investments made by the SOF. In addition, Conservation International as well as the Environmental Defense Fund are engaged as strategic partners for SOF. This collaboration with leading environmental organisations ensures that the fund upholds the highest environmental standards and allow for collaboration with local stakeholders, including communities and governments.