HSBC Global Asset Management has entered into a joint venture with Pollination Group, a specialist climate change advisory and investment firm, to establish an asset manager dedicated to natural capital themes.

The aim is for HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management to be the world’s largest natural capital manager.

Christof Kutscher will be named executive chairman of the joint venture, which those involved said was the first large-scale venture to “mainstream natural capital as an asset class”.

The new asset manager will target institutional investors with funds investing in a diverse range of projects that will “preserve, protect and enhance nature over the long-term”.

A first fund, intended to be launched in the middle of next year, would look to raise up to $1bn (€830m) followed by a carbon credit fund at up to $2bn, HSBC GAM said in a statement. HSBC intended to become a cornerstone investor in the first fund, the asset manager said.

It said natural capital investing provided exposure to projects focused on nature, including sustainable forestry, regenerative and sustainable agriculture, water supply, blue carbon (carbon captured by oceans and coastal ecosystems), nature-based bio-fuels, or nature-based projects that generate returns from reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“To reach the goals set in the Paris Agreement we need to originate and fund new approaches that protect nature, at scale,” said Martijn Wilder AM, co-founding partner at Pollination.

Nicolas Moreau, global CEO at HSBC Global Asset Management, added: “Clients are increasingly focused on environmental matters and this initiative is designed to help them achieve a financial return, while at the same time creating a positive impact on the world’s biodiversity which will be felt for generations to come.”

The University of Cambridge’s programme for sustainability leadership has previously described natural capital as “an economic metaphor representing the stock of natural resources from which goods and services upon which human societies depend are derived”.

Biodiversity has been rising up asset managers’ agenda. There is also now a drive to create a Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures, à la Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.