Press release of June 23, 2023
10th ESG Best Practices Honours by SWEN
Over 200 European asset management companies surveyed on their approach to responsible investment
On 22 June 2023, SWEN Capital Partners [SWEN CP] organised the 10th ESG Best Practices Honours, dedicated to the alliance of science and finance to design concrete solutions for re-generating our ecosystems. At this event, which brings together more than 450 professionals from the realm of unlisted assets each year, three asset management companies received awards for their commitment to ESG: Asper Investment Management (Infrastructure prize), the Revaia investment fund (Private Equity prize) and Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity (Special Jury prize).
Approach & methodology
The jury, comprising more than a dozen French and international experts, drew on results from the ESG data collection that SWEN CP has conducted annually for the past 10 years. This survey has become a benchmark campaign in France and Europe for asset management companies operating on the private equity, private debt and infrastructure segments.
This year, as in previous iterations, the questionnaires were updated to include the indicators required by European regulations (SFDR, Article 29 of the Energy-Climate Act, etc.). To select the 14 nominees in the three award categories, SWEN CP teamed up with strategy consultancy INDEFI.
The three winners
Three management companies were awarded prizes by the jury for the quality of their ESG initiatives following a multistage process, with 45 management companies identified in the preselection phase, and 14 companies nominated.
- The infrastructure prize went to Asper IM, a UK-based asset management company specialising in financing the energy transition and green energy production. The jury was particularly keen to recognise an asset management company that is actively involved in climate issues at all levels of its strategy. Despite its relatively modest size (21 employees), Asper has implemented a robust and sustainable investment approach. This is demonstrated by the Article 9 classification of its funds, the inclusion of sustainability issues throughout the value chain, and the design of a methodology for measuring the positive externalities and impact of the firm’s investments.
- Revaia, which finances technology companies, took home the Private Equity prize. Members of the jury praised the management company, founded by two women, for its strong and tangible commitment to integrating sustainability factors. Revaia takes a fresh look at tech companies, which many people view as less exposed to material sustainability issues and applies an ESG analysis and rating approach as far upstream as possible. The management company also actively supports its portfolio companies in decarbonising their activities. Revaia also stands out for the resources it devotes to the topic, with 2 of its 11 employees dedicated to ESG.
- The Jury Prize was awarded to Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity. Special commendation went to the company’s various investment platforms and strategies specialising in soil decontamination and reuse of materials (Ginkgo), as well as financing for energy transition and environmental protection (Pearl Infrastructure). The jury also singled out Moringa's strategy of financing the agro-environmental transition in Africa via development of agro-forestry plantations and support for family farms. The same was true of Amethis, which specialises in financing and developing SMEs and ETIs, many of them family-run, in Africa.
The main trends observed this year
Launched 10 years ago, the Best Practices Honours are at the heart of SWEN CP's Responsible Investment approach. Historically a tool for decision-making, the data collection campaign that precedes this annual ceremony also makes it possible to track the sector and companies’ progress in terms of sustainability and ESG performance.
The results of the 2023 survey show that attention to biodiversity is still in its infancy compared with climate change, and that the two issues are not yet treated together as a unit. Of the 144 management companies responding, only 12% had implemented a biodiversity strategy, compared with 51% that had a climate strategy. A full 69% had developed indicators to measure their carbon footprint, versus a mere 11% able to boast a biodiversity footprint.
For this 10th anniversary event, SWEN CP tackled current financial and scientific realities, bringing in leading scientists, including glaciologist Jean-Baptiste Bosson, independent 'Science and Research Expert’ Richard Vevers, Founder & CEO of the Ocean Agency, and Timothée Parrique, an economist and author of a dissertation on the topic of degrowth.
‘This initiative attests our determination to listen carefully to our ecosystem and to weak signals from the market, in view to helping all our stakeholders move forward. It is vital that we surround ourselves with scientific experts to design with concrete, lasting solutions for truly sustainable finance,’ says Jérôme Delmas, Chief Executive Officer of SWEN CP.
‘After more than 10 years of commitment to ESG, we have witnessed a veritable Copernican revolution on the part of non-listed companies. We have now seen a sharp acceleration spanning several campaigns. The current challenge is to harmonise the many approaches to make ESG even more credible in our sector,’ comments Isabelle Combarel, Deputy CEO in charge of Development and Sustainable Finance at SWEN CP.
About SWEN Capital Partners
SWEN Capital Partners is a leading player in sustainable investment in private equity, infrastructure and mezzanine debt, with more than €7.7 billion (amount of accumulated liabilities) in assets under management and advisory, and now has nearly 100 employees. The management company, owned by the Ofi Invest group (whose main shareholder are entities of the Aéma group: Macif, Abeille Assurances holding, Aésio Mutuelle) and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, as well as its team, has always placed the ESG & impact approach at the heart of its approach and offers its clients innovative and sustainable investment solutions. SWEN CP supports entrepreneurs and its partners in their efforts to address social, societal and/or environmental issues and to create sustainable value, which it believes is essential for useful financing.
Since January 2022, SWEN Capital Partners is co-shareholder of the NEC Initiative, a company with an independent mission and developer of a methodology allowing socio-economic actors to measure their contribution to the ecological transition towards a common goal: the construction of a responsible and sustainable economy.