Sustainability and Responsible Investing

In addition to what it says about us, In Our Nature also says something about our surroundings. We are both in nature and a part of it. We depend on it and it depends on us. Of the many features of forests and farms that make them unique in the investment landscape, perhaps the most significant is that they are alive.

Brian Kernohan, Chief Sustainability Officer



Our Mission

Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), a Manulife Investment Management Company, creates value through the sustainable management of natural resource investments. We manage our assets as good stewards of the land, the environment, and the community on behalf of our investors.

Our Approach

HNRG is a thematic investment manager, focusing on areas where social or environmental goals can offer commercial investment opportunities. We believe that good stewardship is good business, and that forest and farmland assets – when well-managed – directly contribute to global sustainability and responsible investment objectives.

Impact Investing Spectrum

Our Sustainability Platform

Through the five pillars of our Sustainability and Responsible Investing (SRI) platform (Ecosystem Resiliency, Watershed Protection, Climate Stability, People Empowerment, and Community Prosperity), HNRG integrates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors throughout all aspects of its investment decision-making and property management. Learn more about our platform below:

Using Solar Power to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Energy Costs on Farms
Reestablishing the Warm Temperate Rainforest at Mack’s Creek

1/2 Using Solar Power to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Energy Costs on Farms

HNRG has introduced solar energy on several permanent nut crop properties in California. On one client property there are 25 acres (10 hectares) that house a 3.8 megawatt solar project. The ranch utilizes photovoltaic devices (solar cells) to harness the sun’s rays for electricity generation. Solar energy reduces the need for other sources of electricity as well as the emissions of combustion byproducts such as carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter, and heavy metals. Solar arrays provide energy to power well pumps used to irrigate almonds and pistachios. The addition of solar power has reduced the farms’ energy costs by 80 percent, and in 2018, the carbon offset was over 5.2 million pounds of CO2. Currently, construction is near completion on four more similar arrays in Madera and Tulare counties in California.

2/2 Reestablishing the Warm Temperate Rainforest at Mack’s Creek

Mack’s Creek is part of a warm temperate rainforest which is unique to the Strzelecki Ranges in Victoria, Australia, and was in danger of extinction. HNRG, under advice of a leading rainforest ecologist, removed 40 hectares (99 acres) of blackberry, a widespread invasive species that causes deterioration to natural habitats throughout Australia. The weed was removed through incredibly steep and rough terrain, much of which was accessible only via hand-cut foot trails. As a result of this project, over 11,000 rainforest canopy trees were planted to kick-start a rapid regeneration and recovery process and to prevent the invasive species from recolonizing. The plots are monitored to follow the long term recovery of this rarely studied ecosystem and to ensure the project is maintained to a high standard. Any outbreaks are removed periodically. Since 2012, the Grand Strzelecki Track has passed through this site, enabling the public to view the project and learn about the environmental values of Mack’s Creek. It is now a flourishing example of warm temperate rainforest.

Our Impact

HNRG’s impacts in 2020 include managing 100% of our eligible timberland investments to third-party sustainability standards, managing our entire U.S agriculture platform to the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard1, making our operations climate-positive, and adhering to a strict zero-deforestation policy. Over the past five years, our forests and farms have removed an average 3.0 million tons of CO2 annually, and since our founding in 1985 we have planted over 1.2 billion trees. For more information please see In Our Nature our 2020 Report on Sustainability and Responsible investing.

1. As of May 17, 2021. Includes both third-party leased and directly operated assets. HNRG is a founding member of Leading Harvest. In addition, Oliver Williams, Global Head of Agriculture, is current Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Leading Harvest.

Certifications and Memberships

HNRG is a Manulife Investment Management (“MIM”) company. MIM, the global asset management business of Manulife Financial Corporation, is a signatory to the UN PRI.

HNRG adheres to the International Finance Corporation’s Equator Principles in its acquisition processes.

HNRG is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and an active contributor to its Forest Solutions Group and work programs on Scaling Positive Agriculture and Nature Action.

HNRG is a member of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and an contributed to its 2019 Report: “Scaling Impact Investment in Forestry”

HNRG sponsors the Joint Program on the Science & Policy of Global Change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Joint Program is a team of natural and social scientists studying interactions among human and Earth systems to provide a sound foundation of scientific knowledge.

100% of HNRG-managed forests are third-party certified sustainable. We manage over 3.4 million acres of forests in the United States and Canada that are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI).

100% of HNRG-managed forests are third-party certified sustainable. We manage nearly 2.1 million acres of forests in Australia, New Zealand, and Chile that are certified under the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC).

100% of HNRG-managed forests are third-party certified sustainable. We manage nearly 1.9 million acres of forests in Australia and New Zealand that are certified under the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

HNRG currently manages over 300,000 acres of third-party certified sustainable farmland. Certifications include Global GAP (Apples), USDA GAP (Almonds, Pistachios), SAI-FSA (Cranberries), Lodi Rules (Wine grapes), and the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard (almonds, pistachios, apples, and cranberries, walnuts, grapes, corn, soybeans, cotton, potatoes, peanuts, and others). HNRG has partnered with our colleagues throughout the agricultural investment sector to establish Leading Harvest, a non-profit that will own and manage a third-party, performance-based, industry-wide sustainability standard for agriculture.

The logos above are registered trademarks of the respective organizations represented.
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