New Fund Launched to Drive Responsible Investments in Food, Agriculture, and Forestry Sectors

Grow Asia – a nonprofit established by the World Economic Forum and the ASEAN Secretariat to build partnerships for more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food systems – has launched a US$6.6m multi-donor impact fund to drive more responsible investments in Asia’s food and forestry sector.

The fund, called GrowRight, will support a blend of partner-matching and training programs for investors and policymakers to support the adoption of sustainable finance mechanisms.

Southeast Asia is primed for increased investments in food, agriculture, and forestry, with untapped green investment opportunities equaling US$205 billion per year in these sectors alone. Investing responsibly in agriculture and forestry can help achieve environmental, social, and financial returns, and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The fund is supported by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), and a matching investment from Cargill. Other public sector investors include Switzerland, through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the United Kingdom, through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

A comprehensive suite of farm-to-fork programs will leverage the expertise of all parties and build on Grow Asia’s experience in developing and operationalizing the ASEAN Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry – an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework for investment policy and practice adopted by the ten ASEAN Member States in 2018.

In parallel, Grow Asia has launched complementary multi-donor impact funds that promote agri-food innovation (GrowVentures), women’s economic empowerment (GrowHer), and climate change adaptation and resilience (GrowBeyond), which Cargill’s investment will also support.

Commenting on the fund launch Beverley Postma, Executive Director of Grow Asia said: “Unlike conventional impact funds – which are managed by investment managers who make equity or debt investments with the intent of delivering financial returns alongside social or environmental impact – Grow Asia’s impact funds seek to reach the last mile. The programs supported by the GrowRight Impact Fund will bridge the gap between siloed capital flows from public, private, and philanthropic investors, extend the reach of inclusive and green finance, and improve legal and policy frameworks on responsible investments in our region.”

Ross Hamou-Jennings, Cargill APAC Chair said: “Cargill is honored to support the important work led by Grow Asia, and commit our expertise and investments to the GrowRight Impact Fund. Working with like-minded public and private stakeholders, we have an opportunity to develop more inclusive and sustainable ASEAN value chains through responsible investing, agri-food innovation and climate resilience.”

“Cargill is a global agribusiness that aims to nourish the world in a safe, responsible, and sustainable way, and we believe that investing in and strengthening micro, small and medium agriculture enterprises is key to unlocking the economic potential of the region.”

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