Tembusu Partners and Eco-Business launches the Sustainable Future Fund

The new fund will invest in innovative technologies that solve urgent sustainable development challenges and tap into the trillion-dollar opportunity across Asia

Manila climate protest
There is “No Planet B” banner drop with Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines for the climate strike global day of action in Manila last year. World leaders are set to meet in Glasgow next week for COP26, regarded as the most crucial meeting for climate change since 2015 when the Paris agreement was adopted by the vast majority of countries. Image: 350.org

Ahead of the COP26 climate change negotiations taking place in Glasgow next week, a new Singapore-based fund has been launched to deploy impact-driven capital into solving the most urgent sustainable development challenges across Asia.

Launched by Tembusu Partners in collaboration with Eco-Business, the Sustainable Future Fund will pursue growth stage opportunities across the region that focuses on addressing the climate crisis and reducing social inequalities. 

With the climate talks hosted by the UK government set to commence imminently, global policy and corporate leaders have stressed that more ambition is needed with respect to climate mitigation, adaptation, and finance. 

In the Asia Pacific region, sea levels are rising faster than elsewhere, and it is also home to the world’s most rapidly developing markets with huge infrastructural needs. 

While the region was not on track to meet any of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) according to a recent report by UN ESCAP, the SDGs remain a trillion-dollar opportunity for the region to address economic uncertainty, increase competitiveness and achieve its climate targets. 

The targeted USD 100 million fund will focus on five high opportunity areas it has identified: energy transition, climate action, sustainable cities and circular economy, sustainable food and agriculture, and inclusion.

It has also created a proprietary framework for ESG assessment that will ensure its portfolio companies deliver not just financial returns but demonstrable impact.

Among its first investors are Horizon Family Partners, a UK and Singapore-based entity who have committed to raise up to US$20 million from a number of prominent international family offices.  

In addition, the family office Rumah Group and its philanthropic arm Rumah Foundation led by established philanthropist Stanley Tan has committed to investing S$5 million. 

The Fund features General Partners Andy Lim, Jessica Cheam and Brandon Courban; and a seasoned investment team comprising Jonathan Ang, Jen Loong and impact venture partners Tharani Prakash and Junice Yeo. 

“The themes we are focusing on in this fund target founders and companies which solve some of the biggest issues of our era. Together with Eco-Business, we aim to support the scaling up of new and growing impact-driven businesses in Asia, towards building a sustainable future. We are also delighted that KPMG will be supporting the Fund by providing insights on ESG developments,” said Andy Lim, chairman of Tembusu Partners.

Mr Ong Pang Thye, Managing Partner, KPMG in Singapore said it “welcomes working alongside Tembusu Partners to make sustainability a reality, as we provide insights on ESG trends that impact the near and longer-term of Asia’s future, while encouraging companies to consider ESG transformation efforts that can make that difference for environment, economy and enterprise growth.”

In a press release issued on Thursday, the fund also unveiled an international advisory board, comprising Georg Kell, founding executive director of the United Nations Global Compact and chairman of Arabesque; Michael Meehan, chairman of the UK Sustainable Investment & Finance Association (UKSIF) and former CEO of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI); Nicholas Parker, impact entrepreneur, founder of The Cleantech Group and chaired by Lim Hwee Hua, Former Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Singapore and Second Minister for Finance and Transport.

Kell is also an advisory board member of Eco-Business.

Lim Hwee Hua, advisory chair, observed: “The urgency of the climate crisis is finally becoming the mainstream concern that it should be. The good news is that ESG and finance are becoming more closely intertwined – and there is growing evidence today to show that investors can see better, more sustainable returns through ESG investing.”

The Sustainable Future Fund said it has a robust pipeline of quality deals and has already invested in an Indonesian start-up in the financial inclusion space and is investing into solutions in mental health, energy transition and sustainable cities.

“This unique fund will be well-positioned to tap the growth of the ESG and impact investing space in Asia. By helping to facilitate capital into the most promising companies in the region, we will be able to further scale our sustainable development impact,” said Cheam, managing partner of the fund and founder of Eco-Business.

At its flagship forum on sustainable finance Unlocking capital for sustainability last month, Eco-Business also launched a new global sustainability innovation platform called The SDG Co.

This tech-driven platform connects start-ups, corporates, governments and investors working on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide a global community space where people and businesses across the globe can network, learn, meet experts, partner and share innovations.

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