Press release of September 6, 2021
SWEN Capital Partners collaborates with scientific partner Ifremer to commit to the preservation and regeneration of the ocean through the new European investment fund ‘Blue Ocean’
SWEN Capital Partners, a leading provider of unlisted sustainable investment solutions, announces the launch of its second European impact fund, Blue Ocean, at the IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Conservation Congress in Marseille. The fund's ambition is to raise €120m to finance innovative start-ups dedicated to ocean regeneration. Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) will be the fund's scientific partner.
For this launch, SWEN CP achieved a first closing of €52 million, supported by its long-term partners Macif and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, as well as by both French and foreign investors, including a major American family office recognised in spheres specialising in the international oceanic ecosystem.
A treasure trove of biodiversity, the ocean is one of the lungs of our planet producing 50% of the oxygen present on Earth and playing a crucial role in climate regulation. In particular, it helps to mitigate climate change, having already absorbed 93% of the excess heat produced by human activities. Without urgent measures to restore the severely threatened marine ecosystem, the very basis of life on Earth is at risk. In addition, losses to the global economy due to seafood shortages and rising sea levels are estimated at $400 billion per year by 2050 (SystemIQ research study for SWEN Capital Partners - “Investing in regeneration of ocean health - Strategic review” April 2021).
In light of this, SWEN CP has set up a new investment team of 4 employees, led by Olivier Raybaud and Christian Lim, which funds approximately twenty-five start-ups, mainly in Europe, with proven technology and market traction.
Blue Ocean, which will be classified as Article 9 compliant under the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation or SFDR, has one clear objective which is to generate both systemic impact - in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 - and competitive returns on investment. With regards to the strategy, it will focus on solutions that address the major threats to the ocean (overfishing, ocean pollution and climate change), to transform high-growth, job-creating markets such as aquaculture and marine energy.
The investment team is supported on a daily basis by SWEN CP's ESG department, which now has 7 employees, including 3 dedicated to impact management. SWEN CP will therefore apply its impact doctrine based on transparent, enforceable impact measurement methodologies specific to Blue Ocean's objectives.
SWEN CP has also established a partnership with the leading institute in marine science and technology, Ifremer, which provides its scientific expertise to support the study of investment opportunities based on robust scientific and technical criteria.
SYSTEMIQ, a consulting and investment firm focused on systems change in sustainable energy, circular materials, and ocean and land use, will also provide expertise on a number of projects, including measuring the impact of the fund. It has also assisted the Ocean Panel (High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy), notably in the drafting of its reference report on the future of the oceans.
The Blue Ocean Fund is consistent with the strategy of SWEN CP, a pioneer in ESG and impact investing for nearly 10 years. After creating its first impact strategy in 2019 with the SWEN Impact Fund for Transition (SWIFT), dedicated to renewable gases (anaerobic digestion, hydrogen), SWEN CP intends to diversify its service platform by proposing complementary unlisted investment offers, from multi-strategy to direct investment, notably meeting the needs of institutional investors.
"We are very pleased to join forces with SWEN Capital Partners and its new team to further the protection of the ocean. This multicultural team, with a vast network in the global ocean ecosystem, has all the assets to take up the challenge of this new fund", states Sabine Castellan Poquet, Investment Director of Macif Aéma Groupe.
"We are very pleased to support the SWEN Capital Partners teams in launching the Blue Ocean impact fund. This commitment by Crédit Mutuel Arkéa is perfectly in line with the group's ambition to strengthen the integration of environmental and social issues in its investment and financing activities, for a sustainable and responsible finance, at the service of territories and their stakeholders. As a committed player in the maritime sector, we are particularly sensitive to the need to preserve the oceans," added Hélène Bernicot, Chief Executive Officer of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa.
"Ifremer is proud to accompany SWEN CP in this key project and to make use of its scientific expertise on the oceans, their resources and their uses. We have found trustworthy partners with whom we share our passion for supporting innovation and proposing solutions for the preservation and regeneration of the Ocean", highlights François Houllier, President and CEO of Ifremer. "Through our involvement in Blue Ocean, we want to encourage the emergence of start-ups in the field of marine science and technology, increase our research partnerships with innovative SMEs and ultimately make the preservation of the ocean a lever for creating value for society.”
“The global trajectory of both the Earth’s average temperature and greenhouse gas emissions remains unchanged. We are entering a new UN Decade for the Ocean. The ocean is being destabilised by pollution, melting ice caps, resulting in a major tipping point for the climate. The health of the ocean is on the agenda at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, while France has just joined the Ocean Panel *… There is a real awareness at both a national and international level; the launch of the Blue Ocean Fund is at the heart of this dynamic and contributes to meeting these crucial challenges for the planet, a first at a worldwide level", concludes Jérôme Delmas, Managing Director of SWEN Capital Partners.
The first investment, in a European company, is underway and will be announced shortly.
The partner service providers on this operation: Fund depositary - Société Générale Securities Services (SGSS), Allen & Overy (Antoine Sarailler, Partner / Benjamin Lacourt, Senior Associate)
Recognised worldwide as one of the leading institutes in marine science and technology, Ifremer is committed to sustainable development and open science. It conducts research, innovates, and produces expertise to protect and restore the ocean, exploit its resources responsibly, and share marine knowledge and data to create new opportunities for economic growth that respects the marine environment. Present on all the French and overseas seaboards, its laboratories are located on some twenty sites in the three major oceans: the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic and the Pacific. It operates the French Oceanographic Fleet on behalf of the State and its 1500 researchers, engineers and technicians are advancing knowledge on one of the last unexplored frontiers of our planet - www.ifremer.fr