The Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund aims to generate positive impact and competitive financial returns from a concentrated portfolio of large, listed companies pioneering the transition to a sustainable society.
Keep in mind that our commentary on the fund, as well as its past performance, is not a guarantee of what will happen in the future. It is also not personal advice, so you should consider financial advice if you’re not sure.
Like all investments, your money is at risk – investments can go down as well as up, currency fluctuations can affect the value of your investment and you may not get back what you put in.
In the first quarter of 2023, the recovery in equity markets continued. This recovery started in the last quarter of 2022 due to falling gas prices, the end of the zero-Covid policy in China, sustained US consumer spending, and a strong labour market. These factors gave investors a better-than-expected macroeconomic picture. Inflation in many developed markets also fell, although core inflation (which excludes the prices of food and energy which can be volatile) remained high.
The sudden stress in the banking sector from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the rescue of Credit Suisse did cause turmoil, but quick action by policymakers calmed investors. Central bankers responded to the turmoil in financial markets with an indication that they would moderate interest rates, which provided reassurance to equity markets and saw valuations recover.
How the fund has performed
The Triodos Global Equities Fund performed well in the first quarter of 2023. It achieved a positive return of 5.79% and outperformed its benchmark.
This was in part because the fund does not invest in the financial and fossil fuel sectors, and so was not affected by the poor performance of those sectors. The financial sector in particular took a hit with the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and an emergency operation to rescue Credit Suisse.
As of 31/03/23
Triodos Global Equities Fund KR-cap
Triodos Global Equities Fund KR-dis
You can find more performance figures, including a cumulative performance chart, on the Global Equities Impact Fund webpage.
Please remember that past performance isn't a guide to future returns.
Stocks in focus
Here we’ve picked out some of the key investments which have made either a positive or negative contribution to the performance of the fund. We’ve also explained some of the ways these organisations are making a positive contribution to a more sustainable and inclusive future.
For a full list of investments, visit the fund’s Look Through webpage.
Investments which contributed to performance
The star performer in the fund is Nvidia with a spectacular return of 88% in the first quarter of 2023.
Nvidia is the world's leading supplier of graphics processing units (GPUs) and related software. As these are very useful in machine learning and artificial intelligence, the company is contributing to advancements in this area, which has a positive effect on areas like healthcare and automotive safety. Its principal goal is to make these processes more energy efficient, which is important given that data centres consume a meaningful portion of the world’s energy.
We believe that connection in this increasingly digital society is key for inclusion and empowerment. As a leading and global telecommunications company, Deutsche Telekom (DT) enables people to connect with each other online, through mobile phones, and on landlines. It also empowers media literacy and safety through workshops and training courses, and is well advanced in reducing its environmental footprint.
This sector has outperformed in 2023, and so DT has contributed to overall performance of the fund. The company’s results look good as do its key measures of performance (KPIs).
RELX delivers positive impact with its distribution of vital research and information. The company manages the largest database in the world for academic research. It collects research, organises the peer review process, and edits and shares the research through its electronic database and printed formats of academic journals. Through these services, the company contributes to society by advancing science and health, protecting people, improving the rule of law, and providing access to justice.
We believe that this is a steady company producing steady results; the financial year sales were up by 9%.
Investments which detracted from performance
Gen Digital (formerly Norton Lifelock)
Gen Digital provides cybersecurity software to protect consumers from cyber criminals, thereby defending the human right to privacy. Norton is a trusted brand and has received several awards for its endpoint security and other products. Through its security software the company helps customers to detect, respond to, and prevent security threats.
Recently the company has been struggling: the results again showed that the company finds it hard to grow, and the customer count and outlook appear underwhelming. However, we argue that this company is now worth more than in the share price and therefore is attractively valued. With good cash generation and an historic 2.8% dividend yield, we see plenty of upsides to these shares. We appreciate, however, that historic yield is not a guarantee of future income or returns.
Elevance Health is one of the largest managed care organisations in the US, and the largest for-profit managed care company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA). Elevance has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of US citizens by providing them with access to healthcare, which is still necessary as there is no universal healthcare coverage in the US.
Ratings from the system used to rank Medicare Centres (known as Medicare Rates or ‘MA’) were actually better than expected for Elevance Health. It also has a strong position from MA Star Ratings in relation to its competitors, as the amount of 4+ star-rated plans in 2023 declined less than those of its peers. This should help Elevance in achieving solid 2024 MA membership growth, and also MA outgrowth compared to the rest of the industry.
Akamai has one simple goal: to make the internet fast, reliable, and secure. The company boasts the world's largest edge platform, which is a decentralised network that provides better performance, lower cost, and stronger security compared to a centralised approach. Akamai's edge platform is also more energy efficient, powered with more than 50% of renewable energy and 100% of e-waste is recycled.
Growth was slowing recently, but this could be in part due to weaker cash flow whilst the company is stepping up investments in its Cloud Business. We think that the valuation of the stock is attractive, while Akamai has a solid balance sheet and hope it will reach the target price we have in mind for it.
Developments within the fund
Investments added to the portfolio
This company produces inverters for solar panels to make solar-generated electricity (DC) suitable for the electricity grid (AC). In doing so, the company is making an important contribution to the transition to a sustainable energy system.
In our increasingly digitised society, where the internet means access to education, healthcare and entertainment, telecoms company AT&T provides digital connectivity to individuals and businesses in the US and Mexico. By contributing to both the accessibility and affordability of online connections, AT&T contributes to social welfare.
Investments removed from the portfolio
The shares in this producer of bio-based ingredients have been completely sold. They constituted less than 1% of the fund and, due to the moderate financial outlook, it was decided not to increase this small position, but to wind it down completely.