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Rest a big step closer to hitting impact investment target

Patrick Buncsi13 February 2024
Rest impact investment Cibus

Rest has announced a major investment in the Cibus Fund II, an agriculture-focused sustainable food production fund, bringing the superannuation fund, Australia’s third-largest by membership, a significant step closer to reaching its overall impact investment target.

Rest’s head of responsible investment and sustainability, Leilani Weier, welcomed the firm’s third major ‘impact investment’, noting that the Cibus Fund II would likely realise “profit generating potential” for the super fund whilst delivering on a key sustainable investment commitment.

This, she added, would bring a “diversity of benefits” to Rest’s alternatives portfolio, “while delivering long-term value for our members”. The total investment figure was undisclosed.

Weier said the allocation provides exposure to initiatives “at the forefront of modern agriculture and opportunities that address the growing need for environmental plantings and natural assets”.

For instance, Rest noted Cibus Fund II’s investment in a major producer and supplier of vegetable seedlings to growers across Eastern Australia. The producer is currently pursuing plans to create more efficient and sustainable water and waste management practices through automation and robotics.

The investment in Cibus Fund II comes after the Rest’s capital commitments last June to the fellow ‘impact’ funds the Palisade Impact Fund, which focuses on unlisted “next-generation” and socially and environmentally conscious infrastructure investments, and specialist private equity firm ARCHIMED, focused on sustainable development of healthcare industries.

It is also Rest’s first impact investment within its alternative asset class.

Rest boasts that its impact investments aim to “generate strong financial returns alongside measurable social and/or environmental benefits and contribute to solutions”.

The Cibus fund, advised by the London-based Cibus Capital LLP which specialises in investments in food and agriculture companies, focuses on delivering strong returns through investment opportunities related to the food value chain.

Through the investment, Weier said Rest is closer to achieving its one per cent target allocation to impact investments across its total portfolio by 2026.

She added that sustainable food production and agriculture practices offer significant value potential to Rest members, and will support the global transition to net zero.

“Through our investment in Cibus Fund II, Rest is growing its exposure to the dynamic and sustainable future of agriculture,” she said.

“As a super fund representing one in five young Australians, we believe impact investing represents a powerful opportunity for us to grow our members’ super, while helping to build a more sustainable future.”

Cibus has so far raised more than US$1 billion to invest in two strategies: mid-market growth/buyout investments in food production and processing businesses, and late-stage agrifood technology companies.


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