Alliance Trust Investments, Impax Asset Management and Triodos Bank were among the winners at the Environment, Ethical, Social & Governance (ESG) Investment Awards on Tuesday.
Now in its fifth year, the event – hosted by Investment Week in London – honours investment funds with an ethical, environmental, social or sustainability focus.
Chair of the judging panel Deborah Benn commented that fund performance was a “welcome factor” across the 2013 shortlist, saying that the financial returns from many entrant funds had matched or bettered the mainstream.
This chimes well with research published in August by Moneyfacts.co.uk, which found that ethical and sustainable investment funds had generally outperformed conventional ones in the past 12 months.
Benn added, “It not only showcases the investment potential of the sector, but firmly puts environmental, ethical and social investment funds in the mainstream.”
Among the winners on the night was Alliance Trust Investments, which won Best New Entrant after acquiring Aviva Investors’ sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) team at the beginning of the year.
“We are delighted to be recognised at our new home, Alliance Trust Investments, and to be able to continue managing the Sustainable Future funds in the same way that we have been doing so for over a decade”, said SRI analyst Mike Appleby.
“There is tough competition in this growing and innovative area of investing, so full credit goes to Alliance Trust Investments for seeing the value in sustainable investing and in keeping the Sustainable Future funds alive so we are able to continue to attract more investments from clients with similar values to our own.”
Sustainable bank Triodos won Best Social Impact Investor, after having launched a series of successful bonds for charities and socially-focused businesses in the past 12 months. These include a £5m bond for nursing and dementia and a £5m bond to boost London’s Olympic legacy through the development of sport and leisure facilities.
Also honoured was Impax Asset Management, whose Environmental Markets fund took home the gong in the Best Environmental Fund category.
Impax’s head of distribution Ominder Dhillon said, “With around 1,400 companies in the universe, we have been able to demonstrate that a well-diversified global portfolio of companies focused on resource efficiency managed by a specialist team can generate returns that are attractive to all investors.
“We are currently positive on many of the 23 sectors in which the fund invests although water and energy efficiency remain the largest exposures. Over the year to date, the fund has outperformed global indices and returned 30.7%. Investors are increasingly recognising the long-term growth potential of the strategy as well as the opportune timing to hedge environmental or climate related risks.”
The Peterborough social impact bond – set up in 2010 to provide support to short-term prisoners in Peterborough – and the Carbon Tracker Initiative – whose research into stranded assets has underpinned the fossil fuel divestment movement – also took home awards.
A full list of winners can be found below.
Best Water, Food, Agriculture & Forestry Fund
Pictet Water – Winner
Robeco SAM Sustainable Water Fund – Highly Commended
Best Clean Energy Fund
Vontobel Fund – New Power – Winner
Pictet Clean Energy – Highly Commended
Best Ethical Investment Fund
Kames Ethical Equity Fund – Winner
Ecclesiastical Amity UK Fund – Highly Commended
Best Environmental Fund
Impax Environmental Markets – Winner
IM WHEB Sustainability Fund – Highly Commended
Best Environmental Fund Management Group
Pictet Asset Management – Winner
Vontobel Asset Management – Highly Commended
Best Social Impact Bond
Peterborough SIB (Criminal Justice) – Winner
Scope SIB (Disability) – Highly Commended
Best Social Impact Investor
Triodos Bank – Winner
Big Society Capital – Highly Commended
Award for Innovation
Carbon Tracker (Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets report) – Winner
Active Earth Systematic Quality Investment (SQI) Process – Highly Commended
Best Investment Project
The IFC China Utility-based Energy Efficiency Finance (CHUEE) Programme – Winner
Purification in Africa – Highly Commended
Best New Entrant
Alliance Trust Investments (new team) – Winner
BNP Paribas L1 Aqua (new fund) – Highly Commended