Last updated: 08:28 / Thursday, 17 December 2015
Interview

Clemens Klein (Erste AM): “We Can See Potential Especially in Renewable Energies”

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Clemens Klein (Erste AM): “We Can See Potential Especially in Renewable Energies”
  • "Our goal was to take into account the effects of global mega-trends such as population growth, urbanisation, and the growing middle class in growing regions such as Asia and Africa"
  • Companies involved in nuclear power, the oil, coal, gas, or mining industry, or the automotive and aviation industry are not investable

The Erste WWF Stock Environment Fund invests globally in companies in the environmental sector. It was first launched in 2001 as Stock Umwelt. Clemens Klein is fund manager with Erste Asset Management.

Mr. Klein, what was the goal in setting up Erste WWF Stock Environment Fund?

The basic idea is to invest in companies that contribute to environmental protection with their products or services. Our goal was to take into account the effects of global mega-trends such as population growth, urbanisation, and the growing middle class in growing regions such as Asia and Africa.

What are the effects of these trends?

These trends lead to an increase in energy demand and demand for scarce resources, higher emissions of greenhouse gases, and an increase in the volume of waste. With our topics “renewable energy”, “energy efficiency”, “water”, “mobility”, and “recycling”, we focus on those areas where solutions for these developments are available.

What strategy do you pursue in these funds?

We are strongly focused on small and medium-sized companies with interesting products or technologies. We hold them over extended periods of time in order to benefit from long-term trends. One example is Shimano, a producer of bicycle components, which we first bought for our fund in 2003. To date the company has recorded a price increase of the factor of ten.

Can you invest in any sector?

No, the fund invests only in companies whose products and services come with a benefit for the environment. Companies involved in nuclear power, the oil, coal, gas, or mining industry, or the automotive and aviation industry are not investable.

Are there certain topics in your investable universe that are promising?

We can see potential especially in renewable energies. Although clean forms of energy are crucial for climate protection, wind and solar power currently make up less than 2% of global power generation. This share will be growing to 30%-50% by 2050. We also regard companies as attractive that operate in energy storage and energy efficiency. Energy that you don’t consume doesn’t have to be produced at a high financial and environmental cost. The relevance of alternative propulsion systems such as electric or hydrogen-powered cars will drastically increase as well.

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