Al Gore's Generation Investment Management LLP, which buys shares of companies it deems socially responsible, aims to start a $500 million fund to invest in Asia, said two people briefed on the plan.
The fund may start by July, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It will buy shares of Asian companies that adhere to Generation Investment's investment guidelines of focusing on “economic, social and environmental” sustainability, while eschewing “short-term” profit goals.
Generation is looking to invest in countries including China and India as Asia's growth, and the region's demands for natural resources, increasingly affect the world economy. The firm, which targets pension funds and wealthy clients, closed its main global equity fund in 2008 to new money after assets rose to about $5 billion. Mr. Gore, the former U.S. vice president, founded London-based Generation in 2004 with David Blood, who previously headed asset management at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
“I'd be shocked if socially responsible firms weren't expanding their investing into Asia,” said Douglas Elliott, an economics fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution and a former banker at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. “What makes it possible is that Asian firms are moving increasingly towards more traditional western corporate forms with a lot more transparency and access to the capital markets.”
A spokesman for Generation declined to comment.
Generation's Asian fund, like the global equity fund, will only make bets that stocks will rise, according to the people. The fund will be separate from Generation's venture capital business, which provides funding for renewable energy firms and companies that create markets for trading carbon emissions.