Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) issues and sustainability are core to the Cibus Fund investment philosophy. The evaluation of ESG factors is an integral part of deal analysis and due diligence. Post investment our portfolio companies measure and report on a range of company specific ESG KPIs based on our own ESG metrics and the eight sustainability criteria identified by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The Cibus Fund acknowledges the significant impact the food and agriculture industries have on the environment and seeks to ensure that portfolio companies take a proactive approach to protecting, and where possible, improving the environment in which they operate. In addition, the Cibus Fund seeks to align its portfolio companies with best practice social criteria, ensuring workers are well treated, there is gender balance among employees and local communities are taken into consideration. The Cibus Fund also looks at governance issues, examining board composition, transparency, and remuneration levels throughout the organisation. The Cibus Team negatively screens companies that cannot or will not comply with the Cibus Fund’s ESG and Sustainability Policy.
We will track our portfolio companies against our own ESG criteria and the eight IFC Performance Standards.
Companies are strongly encouraged to focus on decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions wherever possible. They are expected to measure energy use and look to increase energy efficiency through optimisation and implementation of a range of technologies. Companies will be encouraged to increase their use of renewable energies, through installations or by changing energy providers.
The Cibus Fund portfolio companies are encouraged to adopt the latest technologies to reduce the use of water, chemicals, fertiliser, as well as GHG emissions and pollution. Portfolio companies must ensure chemicals and oils are properly stored and policies are in place to manage chemicals. The Cibus Team will promote the use of technologies and support investment projects that increase energy efficiency and mitigate pollution. Portfolio companies will be encouraged to move towards renewable energies and energy efficient vehicles. The Cibus Team work with portfolio company management to reduce the use of plastic and increase recyclability of consumer facing products.
The Cibus Fund team looks for companies to reduce water use by adopting more efficient systems such as drip irrigation and a range of technologies including moisture probes and dendrometers. Companies with reservoirs will be encouraged to examine opportunities to reduce evaporation. The Cibus Team will ensure that production-based portfolio companies are using appropriate volumes of inputs to reduce runoff and the potential for associated water contamination. Portfolio companies producing waste water will ensure it is treated to the highest standards before being released into the environment. Portfolio companies will be encouraged to harvest as much surface water as possible in their activities, aiming to avoid groundwater use.
The Cibus Fund and its portfolio companies understand the vital role healthy soils play in creating strong roots and plants. Soil health is vital for productivity and sustainability of production companies and is of particular importance in light of the significant top soil loss in recent decades which resulted from excessive chemical use and intensive farming. Portfolio companies will strive to increase soil health through industry best practices such as tailored fertiliser regimes, adding soil amendments such as mycorrhiza and, in general, using the least noxious chemicals possible.
The Cibus Team is conscious of the effects agriculture can have on biodiversity, especially on insects like bees. The Fund will support technologies that provide alternatives to traditional pest management treatments and ask portfolio companies to investigate opportunities to use crop treatments that are less harmful to surrounding biodiversity. Portfolio companies will be encouraged to examine opportunities to provide habitats for insects and endangered animals where possible. This can be beneficial to production by encouraging the presence of natural predators, which may reduce the need for certain crop treatments.
The Cibus Fund seeks to invest in sustainable aquaculture solutions to help relieve pressure on natural fish reserves. The Cibus Team recognises that the health of marine life and marine ecosystems are vital to global ecosystems. As such, the Fund seeks to reduce overfishing, including reducing reliance on fishmeal through the use of alternative proteins, increasing efficient conversion in aquaculture production models and exploring technologies and techniques that help reduce chemicals that will end up in the oceans.
The Cibus Fund and our portfolio investee companies focus on eight core sustainability criteria identified by the IFC. Using sustainability experts our investments develop and execute best practice sustainability plans to manage risk and ensure responsible environmental stewardship.
The notion of a circular economy is at the core of what the Cibus Fund’s aims to achieve: more food with fewer resources with less waste.
The Cibus Team works with portfolio companies to examine ways to reduce input use, increase efficiency and reduce waste. The Cibus Fund seeks to invest in companies that develop innovative solutions to resource dependency and waste, including through technology services, new products such as protein sources, agricultural practices and indoor farming.
Innovation with a focus on the circular economy can help protect soils, waterways and reduce pollution; simultaneously improving the global environment and its inhabitants.