Lardoux has three investment themes that particularly interest him at present. The first is ‘sustainable transport.’ He commented that biofuel busses represent an area of opportunity right now.
He said, ‘Stagecoach is one of the largest bus companies in the UK serving over 3 million passengers every day on 2,200 routes. As part of its plans to continue to reduce its carbon emissions (and building on a 30 per cent reduction in carbon intensity, Stagecoach has introduced biofuel buses in Kilmarnock, Scotland.’
Lardoux continued, ‘Containing two fuel tanks, these buses are turned on with diesel
before switching to fuel produced from used cooking oil and running on this fuel for the rest of the day. As a result CO2 emissions from the buses have been reduced by 80 per cent and 70 tonnes of cooking oil recycled. This oil would otherwise have been disposed of in landfill (or dumped in sewage systems). Local residents have also been able to trade their own used cooking oil for reduced tickets as part of the BioBus scheme.’
The fund manager then turned his thoughts to house investors can profit from this theme. He said, ‘Stagecoach received investments from the Rathbone Ethical Bond fund which invest in companies or institutions helping to tackle social and environmental issues mainly in the UK. Sustainable transport alongside renewable energy projects either owned or financed help solving the “Affordable and Clean Energy” Sustainable Development Goal. ‘
The second theme highlighted by the investor is healthcare.
He said, ‘Cancer is the leading cause of death in the UK, with almost 163,000 people dying from it every year.6 980 cases of cancer are diagnosed every day, and there are currently 2.5 million people in the UK living with cancer. Of these, about 50 per cent will recover and live more than ten years.
Leeds Cancer Centre is one of the largest specialist cancer treatment centres in the UK and treats patients from all across the north of England. In addition to offering normal cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the Leeds Centre is also leading the way in a number of pioneering and additional treatments. These include advanced surgery, complementary natural healing methods, hair loss support groups and workshops in meditation and relaxation. For example, recent investment has allowed an aging Linac machine – which delivers external beam radiation treatments – to be replaced with a new state-of-the-art model.9 The new technology contained within the machine means the radiation is able to target the cancerous tumours whilst sparing the surrounding healthy tissue and thereby causing less harm to the patient.’
The fund in which he is invested to profit from this theme is Royal London Sustainable Managed Income.
He commented, ‘Royal London Sustainable Managed Income Leeds Cancer Centre received investments from the Royal London Sustainable Managed Income Trust which invest in companies or institutions helping to tackle social and environmental issues mainly in the UK.’
The final theme he highlighted is organic food production.
He commented, ‘With the mechanisation of agriculture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century the methods, yields and products produced for human consumption underwent a radical evolution.10 The use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers dramatically increased crop yields whilst intensive rearing techniques of animals meant many more could be reared for slaughter at a much faster rate. However, these improvements were not without issues with debates now raging around the potential dangers of pesticides – with conflicting studies debating whether they are carcinogenic– an increased public awareness of animal welfare standards and a desire to be able to trace the source of the food we consume.12 The new technology of GMO (genetic modification) has also caused anxiety over the possibility that GMO seeds could ‘escape’ into the wild and ‘infect’ wild varieties, damaging ecosystems and native plant varieties.
Wessanen sells organic, Fair Trade and nonGMO products in the European Market. Whilst not without critics,14 organic food helps to combat soil degradation through practices such as crop rotation or intercropping and also avoids the as yet unproven risks and/or benefits of GMO food. With 97 per cent of products classified as vegetarian, Wessanen aims to reduce the over-consumption of meat (which generates issues such as methane production by cows) by providing people with healthier alternatives.15 In addition to selling these products, the company also does its best to link people to the source of their food through campaigns; its partnership with the Youth Food Movement Academy saw it seek to educate young people about the food production system in order to better appreciate the effort it takes to produce their food.’
The fund he likes for investing in this theme is Liontrust Sustainable Future European Growth.
He said, ‘Liontrust Sustainable Future European Growth Wessanen received investments from the Liontrust Sustainable Future European Growth fund which supports European companies that are making our environment and society more sustainable and resilient. Organic food is a relatively small allocation to the fund but achieving the Sustainable Development Goal number 12 called “Responsible Consumption and Production” is a common objective for many of the companies held within the fund.’