Note: Connect the dots: Harvard, which the Guardian reported, in 2011, was investing in African land grabs, has sold off its holdings in the Kaingaroa forest in New Zealand. The Kaingora forest has been at the center of a land dispute between indigenous Maori and the New Zealand government, and much of it is now owned by the government and large private investors. Pension funds and endowments are looking for longer term, more secure investments like agricultural land, forests, and industrial timber plantations. Especially under increasing pressure to divest from the fossil fuel industry, and invest enormous sums of capital into “green” or “socially responsible” funds, it is likely that land grabbing by institutional funds will increase. The neoliberal play book apparently missed the chapter on “ethical investing.”
-The GJEP Team
By Paul McBeth, December 19, 2012. Source: Business Desk
Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board is looking to capitalise on favourable growing conditions and access to Asian markets having taken a 30 percent stake in the central North Island’s Kaingaroa forestry estate.
The Canadian fund sees the 178,000 hectare Kaingaroa estate as an “attractive asset” that has been “very successfully” managed by Timberlands for many years, spokesman Mark Boutet said in an emailed statement.
Among the reasons cited for the investment, Boutet said “there is a strong local domestic softwood processing industry as well as good access to Asian export markets” and that “New Zealand’s central North Island has some of the best growing conditions for softwood plantations.”
PSP Investments, which manages C$64.5 billion pension fund for Canada’s public service, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Reserve Force, bought the stake from Harvard Management Company, which manages Harvard University’s US$30.7 billion endowment fund.