The National Pension Service of Korea (NPS) has committed an undisclosed amount of capital to Stafford Capital Partners’ latest global timberland fund.

Stafford said NPS is investing in Stafford International Timberland IX Fund (SIT VIII) to gain exposure to a diverse global timberland portfolio acquired mainly through a secondaries investment strategy.

The London-based real assets and private markets investment firm’s ninth flagship timberland fund will also implement other investment strategies including co-investments and primaries into timberland funds.

SIT IX, launched in August 2019, seeks to raise $750m when it closes in April this year. Stafford held a $532m interim close for the fund in July last year.

The predecessor fund, SIT VIII, raised $612.5m at its final close in May 2018.

Stafford said the ninth fund has already committed $208m into seven investments across the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Stephen Addicott, managing partner of timberland at Stafford Capital Partners, said.

“NPS’ investment into SIT IX comes at an opportune time as we continue to see growing consumer demand for sustainable products.

“With a 17-year track record in timberland management, we are pleased to see that an increasing number of large institutional investors around the world are identifying the attractive combination of financial returns and sustainability benefits that an investment in timberland provides.”

Hyo-Joon Ahn, CIO of NPS, said: “We recognise commercial and environmental benefits of timberland investments in the shift of living environment based on our study of this particular sector for past several years.

“NPS commitment to timberland is well aligned with our strategy to enhance sustainability of our global portfolio. It will also help to diversify alternative investment assets with risk-adjusted return.”

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