Environmental Finance's Bond Awards 2023

Impact report of the year (for investors) - Affirmative Investment Management

Impact fixed income fund manager Affirmative Investment Management (AIM) continues to innovate in its annual impact reports.

In 2022, it introduced four new reporting elements. These were:

  • Assessing the 'net-zero alignment' of its funded projects, which involved working in partnership with ISS on a new green and sustainability bond net-zero alignment methodology;
  • The eligibility of its bond portfolio with the EU sustainability taxonomy;
  • Reporting in line with the EU Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation's Principal Adverse Impacts elements, ahead of it becoming a requirement. All of AIM's European vehicles are classified Article 9 funds.
  • A summary of its thematic engagements on net-zero commitments and issuer climate plans.

The net-zero alignment assessment showed that 87% of the projects funded through AIM's portfolio that were eligible for this analysis "are already performing at, or aligned with, net-zero-by-2050 criteria", it said. Ineligible projects are largely projects with insufficient data or social projects, it added. "We will repeat and refine this exercise in our 2023 impact reporting."

The fund manager's annual impact reports consistently cover more than 95% of portfolio holdings, which typically represents over 160 holdings and 2,000 projects, it said. The reports aim to show the environmental and social impact of its portfolio holdings, detailing impact metrics alongside case studies. Key metrics include use-of-proceeds allocation across sectors and geographies, GHG footprint (all 3 Scopes), TCFD-recommended weighted-average carbon intensity, and savings and alignment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

AIM, which is part of MetLife Investment Management since December, was last victorious in the same Bond Awards category in 2021.

Lisa Wong and Katie House, members of the sustainability team at AIM, said in written comments: “We are thrilled to win an award from Environmental Finance once again, in recognition of our continued innovation in impact reporting in a fast-evolving market. The introduction of a new project level green and sustainability bond net-zero alignment assessment is the latest in a series of pioneering tools we’ve used to promote robust impact verification and measurement since our inception in 2014. We continue to enhance our impact reporting capabilities as we advance our mission to mobilise capital in support of the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.”