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AXA IM launches AXA WF Planet Bonds to help clients invest in the transition to a low carbon economy

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With just 21 days until the start of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) today announces the launch of the AXA WF Planet Bonds fund, an innovative green bonds fund that aims to support clients’ transition to a low carbon economy by providing investors with access to the growing global green bonds market.

Commenting on the launch, Andrea Rossi, CEO of AXA Investment Managers, said: “AXA IM has been a pioneer of responsible investing for almost 20 years. Meeting our clients’ needs requires continued efforts to understand and anticipate changing factors that impact financial markets as well as the objectives of our clients.  This includes climate change.

“As long term investors we recognise the threat of climate change and the need to mitigate the potential impact on the global economy. Global companies, as influential stakeholders, have a key role to play, being international corporate citizens.  Climate change is just one of the criteria by which we monitor and, if needed, engage with companies. We are also able to support clients’ transition to a low carbon economy, for example, through offering investment in green bonds.  We also help our clients screen and score based on ESG criteria including carbon.

“We believe that being a responsible asset manager is fundamental for sustainable, long term investment success. As an official COP 21 sponsor, the AXA Group has made strong commitments to help mitigate climate change, for instance by tripling its green investments by 2020. AXA IM is fully supportive of these initiatives and is working closely with the AXA Group to achieve these goals.”

The AXA WF Planet Bonds fund invests in both pure green bonds and bond issuers with a high environmental impact with the aim of ensuring sufficient diversification and liquidity. It is run by AXA IM’s Global Rates team in collaboration with the Responsible Investment (RI) team.

Olivier Vietti, Lead Fund Manager of the AXA WF Planet Bonds fund, commented: “We are excited to help clients access the growing opportunity in the green bonds market. We feel the bond market is a natural vehicle to support energy efficiency, renewable energy and other projects related to climate change, as bonds can provide a direct and transparent way for investors to invest in low carbon solutions.

“This fund aims to offer an attractive yield meaning responsible investors do not have to ‘give up’ yield, relative to the wider fixed income universe, when investing to make a positive environmental impact.”

A key attribute of the Fund is its highly robust investment selection process, which is also flexible and unconstrained from a benchmark to avoid any bias from following an index. In the selection process issuers in the eligible investment universe are ranked according to AXA IM’s internal ESG (environment, social and governance) assessment process to determine which issuers have high environmental conviction and therefore present a solid case for green investment. The Fund aims to be well diversified and offer an attractive yield and risk vs return profile by focusing on yield enhancement and investing in investment grade and high yield issuers.

Matt Christensen, Head of Responsible Investment at AXA IM, commented: “AXA IM has many years of experience in responsible investment and today’s launch once again highlights our commitment to green initiatives. We have created a fund for investors to have an alternative to conventional investing that offers the opportunity to make specific environmental investments as climate change becomes a major issue for all of us.

“Additionally, this solution also offers the possibility for investors to be aware of the type of projects that will be financed through their investment, including wind farms, green commercial buildings, public transport solutions and waste water systems.”

Jerome Broustra, Head of Global Rates at AXA IM, added: “AXA IM has been active in the green bonds sector since 2012 and we have already invested EUR 1 billion globally in this market segment. Despite its massive growth over the last year, this market is still relatively small and we want to support its development by using our extensive experience in both fixed income and responsible investment to allow investors to capture the current opportunities in green bonds while at the same time supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.”

AXA IM has been committed to responsible investment since 1997 when the company first won a RI specific mandate. In 2001, the firm set up a dedicated RI business unit and in 2006 a global RI team was established. The strategy for including RI principles as part of a wider range of investment strategies at AXA IM was formalised in 2010 leading to comprehensive ESG integration and large dedicated mandates in this area by 2014.

AXA IM Fixed Income offers a wealth of experience built over various market cycles, with EUR 460 billion of fixed income assets under management. The Fund will draw on AXA IM’s global fixed income process and harness the dedicated investment team of six portfolio managers and RI analysts based in Paris, which is itself supported by fundamental credit researchers, portfolio engineers, economists and strategists, traders and a wider team of 12 RI analysts.

The AXA WF Planet Bonds fund is a Luxembourg-domiciled SICAV. The Fund has both retail and institutional share classes and is registered for distribution in France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK .

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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