At the end of 2021 Candriam became a signatory to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. The firm announced a commitment to secure a 50% reduction in emissions across a significant share of its investment portfolios by 2030, and to transition to net zero by 2050 or sooner. Candriam confirmed it would pursue decarbonisation objectives through the integration of climate in Candriam’s ESG process alongside its industry leading engagement and stewardship strategy.
At the corporate level, Candriam is also steadily working on reducing the total footprint of its operational value chain and has ambitious targets to further reduce emissions by 2025.
In addition to the above, the Candriam Institute, too, seeks to support sustainable climate projects.
Candriam began working with Southpole, a Zurich-based company that helps businesses achieve their CO2 reduction goals, in 2019, and invests in a number of projects identified by Southpole that help offset carbon emissions while also benefiting local populations across different countries (see below).
Sustainability projects supported by Candriam Institute in 2022
Vichada Forest Restoration
Situated nearby the Colombia–Venezuela border, the Vichada Climate Reforestation project is in an area that was previously a savannah and lacked investment due to its marginal, hard-to-reach location.
The project combines both reforestation and afforestation activities with biodiversity protection and ecosystem regeneration, ultimately transforming degraded savannah lands into close-to-nature forests that both produce high quality hardwoods and sequester large amounts of carbon. These forests offer a natural habitat for native wildlife, enrich the soil, save and filter water and help mitigate the greenhouse effect by acting as a carbon sink.
It is run by a multicultural team of men and women and educates the community on climate change and the importance of sustainability activities. Community educational opportunities are further improved by capacity building programs in local schools.
Methane emissions transformed into clean electricity in China
This project captures the methane emissions from a landfill and uses it for clean power generation, improving the lives of locals and contributing to sustainable development in China.
In China, more than 80% of total electricity is generated from coal-based power plants. With China’s growing cities and economies, not only is the supply of energy and goods becoming a logistical challenge, but so is its disposal and the implications of growing landfill. One example of this issue is the decomposition of organic materials in landfills, which generates large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times stronger than CO2.
A landfill gas collection system was set up to manage both solid waste disposal and local energy supply in a sustainable way. The landfill is covered, and via wells and pipes the captured methane is then fed into gas processing systems and burnt in four incineration units, each with an installed capacity of 1.25 MW. In the end, the generated electricity is fed into the grid to supply the inhabitants of Suzhou with clean, non-fossil energy.
Beyond contributing to climate action, this has created 20 regular employment positions in the plant operation and during the construction period, up to 54 people were employed. The project owner offers jobs for local people and all workers receive regular training.
Godawari green energy solar thermal power India
India is the world’s second largest country by population. As its developing economy strengthens further and rapid population growth continues, India’s energy needs are rising. While the share of renewables in India’s energy mix is growing, coal still accounts for over half of its electricity production.
Located in Jaisalmer District in North India’s Rajasthan State, this large-scale solar thermal power project helps meet India’s growing energy demands. The 50 MW-capacity solar thermal plant uses parabolic trough technology to generate almost 119,000 MWh of clean energy for the Combined Regional Grid annually, further diversifying India’s electricity mix away from fossil fuels.
On top of supplanting fossil fuels with clean electricity to reduce emissions, the project proponent commits 2% of Carbon Emission Reduction (CER) sales to community welfare and sustainable development projects. The social benefits of this include local employment opportunities that alleviate regional poverty, as well as better roads and improved basic infrastructure. The project also contributes to the transfer of environmentally sound, state-of-the-art thermal solar power generation technology in India, and encourages further investment in the renewables industry.