Brings investors opportunity to support their climate objectives

BOSTON, Nov. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ - Manulife Investment Management, the world's largest manager of natural capital with nearly $15 billion in assets under management in timberland and agriculture combined, today announced the initial close of Manulife Forest Climate Fund LP1,2 (FCF or the fund). The fund is a closed-end fund providing qualified U.S. investors and certain global institutional investors with the opportunity to promote climate change mitigation through sustainably managed forests where carbon sequestration is prioritized over timber production. Along with its affiliated offshore vehicles, the fund has secured commitments totaling up to $224.5 million towards its $500 million targeted offering.

Manulife Investment Management Logo (CNW Group/Manulife Investment Management)

The investment objective of the strategy is to provide investors with an opportunity to invest in timberlands which will be managed in a way that seeks to create high quality carbon credits through enhanced sustainable forest management practices which purposefully add to the stored carbon in the forest.3 An additional part of this strategy includes establishing new forests through afforestation or reforestation to generate high-quality carbon credits and long-term sustainable timber value. The fund intends to use carbon credits, conservation easements, non-timber income generation strategies, and limited timber harvests to capture potential climate benefits and competitive financial returns for investors.4

"The broad demand for climate change mitigation solutions can't be understated and there is strong investor interest in strategies that may help support carbon emissions reductions and net zero commitments," said Tom Sarno, global head of timberland investments, Manulife Investment Management. "We believe that an investment in Manulife Forest Climate Fund can help support  investors' various climate goals and objectives and that the experience we have in sustainable forest management, as well as our commitment to high-quality  carbon sequestration, brings additional value to the strategy."

Manulife FCF will focus on generating a long-term supply of high-quality carbon credits to be available through direct in-kind transfers for investors' own climate goals or for purposes such as monetizing  in the carbon markets via offset sales to realize financial value.4 As a carbon-focused impact investment strategy, it's the firm's first natural capital fund to be categorized as a product under Article 9 of the European Commission's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

"The Manulife Forest Climate Fund expands on our decades of sustainable timberland management experience and is one of the natural climate solutions we have developed to sequester carbon more intensively and drive broader impact," added Eric Cooperstrom, managing director, impact investing and natural climate solutions, Manulife Investment Management. "Responsible commitments to reducing and removing emissions, inclusive of high-quality forest carbon credits, are extremely important to help investors meet their climate and financial goals."

Manulife Investment Management oversees approximately 5.5 million acres of timberland across the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Chile and 100% of those forests are certified under either the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) or the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). It also manages approximately 400,000 acres of prime farmland in major agricultural regions of the United States and in Canada, Chile, and Australia as part of its comprehensive private markets strategies. Its entire U.S. agriculture platform is certified to the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard demonstrating a commitment to sustainable practices, robust management, and continuous improvement.

1. IPE research as of 2/5/2023. Ranking is based on total Natural Capital AUM, which includes forestry/timberland and agriculture/farmland AUM. Firms were asked to provide AUM and the as of dates vary from 12/31/2021 to 12/31/2022.

2. Manulife Forest Climate Fund is structured as a private offering only for qualified purchasers to be conducted pursuant to Rule 506(c) of Regulation D promulgated under the Securities Act.

3. Manulife Investment Management, through its development and implementation of its Carbon Principles, has made a commitment to sourcing high-quality carbon credits. Generally high-quality carbon credits must be (a) additional, (b) not overestimated, (c) permanent, (d) exclusively claimed (no double counting) and (e) not associated with significant social or environmental harm. For more information on the Carbon Principles please visit our website. In addition, the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Markets (IC-VCM) Core Carbon Principles (CCPs) and Assessment Framework are intended to establish global standards for high-quality voluntary market carbon credits, provide guidance on how to apply the Core Carbon Principles and define which carbon crediting programs and project methodologies are eligible. The MIMTA Carbon Principles are aligned with the ICVCM CCPs.

4. There is no guarantee that this fund will achieve its investment objectives or goals, or generate carbon credits or financial returns.

This press release is targeted to U.S. qualified purchasers. It does not constitute an advertisement or an offer to sell any security or the solicitation of any offer to buy an interest in the fund or any existing or future fund or investment vehicle managed or advised by Manulife Investment Management and/or its affiliates or any other security. Nor shall there be any sales of the fund interests in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sales would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.

The fund interests will be offered only to "qualified purchasers" as defined by Section 2(a)(51) of the Investment Company Act and in reliance on the exemption from registration set forth in Rule 506(c) of Regulation D promulgated under the Securities Act. Under Rule 506(c), general solicitation of offerings is permitted, however, prospective investors in the fund may be asked to provide supporting documentation satisfactory to the general partner of a prospective investor's status as a qualified purchaser. The fund has not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act or the securities laws of any state or other jurisdiction, and may not be offered or sold without registration or an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities or blue sky laws and foreign securities laws.

The fund will be distributed in the United States by John Hancock Investment Management Distributors LLC, member FINRA, a Manulife IM affiliate.

Private market investments are speculative and considered risky, including potential loss of your investment, and may not be appropriate for every investor. Private investments are generally an illiquid asset class; shareholders cannot sell their fund interests when they want to without potentially facing high losses.

About Manulife Investment Management

Manulife Investment Management is the brand for the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation. Our mission is to make decisions easier and lives better by empowering investors for a better tomorrow. Serving more than 17 million individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members, we believe our global reach, complementary businesses, and the strength of our parent company position us to help investors capitalize on today's emerging global trends. We provide our clients access to public and private investment solutions across equities, fixed income, multi-asset, alternative, and sustainability-linked strategies, such as natural capital, to help them make more informed financial decisions and achieve their investment objectives. Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit manulifeim.com.

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