May 29, 2018 / 11:02 PM / 21 days ago

Norway tops new sustainable farm investor index

LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Norwegian companies topped an investor group’s new sustainable food producers’ index, which is based on criteria such as use of antibiotics, animal welfare and food safety.

Fish farmers Marine Harvest and Leroy Seafood Group led the first Coller FAIRR Protein Producer index, which was launched on Wednesday and measures 60 global intensive farming companies against eight criteria.

“Investors need ESG [environmental, social and governance] data and transparency to make better investment decisions, yet this information is lacking in the meat, fish and dairy sector,” said Jeremy Coller, chief investment officer of Coller Capital.

“As megatrends like climate change, antibiotic resistance and food technology radically reshape the way we produce and consume meat, fish and dairy, the Coller FAIRR index will help institutional capital identify both best in class companies and potential stranded assets in the food sector.”

Investors are increasingly judging companies according to ethical, sustainable and governance criteria, which they say are important factors in company performance.

The FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) group is backed by $5.6 trillion in investment assets.

Abigail Herron, global head of responsible investment at Aviva Investors, said the index would help it in its company analysis and encourage good practice among food companies.

The league table approach “drives the race to the top and makes sustainability a bit of a competitive sport,” she said.

“It’s amazing how quickly being in the bottom quartile escalates to a board level conversation.” (Reporting by Carolyn Cohn, editing by Louise Heavens and Alexander Smith)

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