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ESG Phenomenon: UBS Drives Mangrove Conservation

Editorial Staff

16 November 2021

UBS donates $2 million towards protecting ancient mangroves
As a lead partner at this year’s Philanthropy Asia Summit, has donated $2 million towards launching the Mangrove 40 (M40) initiative.

Funding will go towards designing nature-based resilience projects to help conserve and restore mangrove forests across 40 locations worldwide. Contributions from UBS will come via its Optimus Foundation philanthropy arm and its Singapore wealth management franchise. The Temasek Foundation is another founding member of the alliance.

“Our goal is to develop a global investment pipeline for the M40 Fund, with revenue streams including blue carbon projects for trading carbon offsets,” UBS country head for Singapore August Hatecke, said.

With their capacity for sequestering four times the amount of carbon as land-based forests, mangroves play a critical role in addressing climate change. They have been under threat across Asia from palm plantations and other encroachments. Following mixed reviews of the political resolve shown at last week's Glasgow climate summit, financial institutions and the private sector are pressing on with their own solutions for tackling emissions. Scientists have suggested that nature-based solutions could account for over a third of the reductions needed to meet Paris targets by 2030.

“In Asia, 70 per cent of our clients are entrepreneurs, who have found that sustainable investments can generate equal or superior returns compared to traditional instruments. Investors have realised that it is possible to do well and do good at the same time,” UBS Optimus Foundation chair in Singapore, Desmond Kuek, said.

As a headline partner, UBS has pledged to co-invest an additional 10 per cent in matching contributions to any donors joining the M40 alliance.

More generally, the Swiss manager has set a target of raising $1 billion in donations between now and 2025 to reach those in need through community investment and philanthropy.