Environmental Finance's Bond Awards 2022

Impact report of the year (for investors): Nuveen

Nuveen's inaugural global fixed income impact report was acclaimed by Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges.

The report provided transparency on Nuveen's impact investments, as well as case studies and measurable impact it expects from issuers.

Amy O'BrienJudges said the 41-page report was "interesting and well-documented". It breaks down impact at a regional level across Europe, Asia and Oceania, Africa and the Middle East, and the Americas.

At the end of 2021, Nuveen managed over $7.8 billion of securities selected using its impact framework. Nuveen said it doesn't rely on labels or index eligibility rules to identify or select impact investments, but its own research and trading teams.

Amy O'Brien, Nuveen’s global head of responsible investing, described current impact investing as at an "inflection point", but highlighted that greenhouse gas (GHG) "data availability remains lacking". O'Brien said: "At present, carbon data is mainly captured at the parent issuer level, not at the project or use of-proceeds level.

"Green projects typically report carbon emissions avoided or reduced, but not emitted — which makes it challenging to fully understand the carbon footprint of an impact portfolio. Using issuer/parent-level data leads to an over-representation of actual GHG emissions associated with green projects and assets, and thus to inaccurate portfolio-level carbon footprint analysis.

Jessica Zaryzycki, portfolio manager on Nuveen’s ESG/impact fixed income team, said: "We are seeking the creation of custom carbon datasets at the security level for project bonds and at the issuer level for general obligation (GO) bonds issued by an entity other than the ultimate parent (a common practice in the utilities industry)."