Sustainable Investment Awards 2023

ESG engagement initiative of the year, Americas; ESG innovation of the year (funds and portfolios), Americas; ESG innovation of the year (funds and portfolios), Asia: Actis

Actis, a global investor in sustainable infrastructure, has won three awards this year for its innovative work in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

In the 'ESG innovation of the year (funds and portfolios) – Americas award' and 'ESG engagement initiative of the year – Americas' categories, judges acknowledged Actis' focus on a just energy transition in Latin America.

In 2022, Actis exited three buy-and-build renewables ventures in the region: Echoenergia, Atlas and Aela Energia.

The exits represent three of seven renewables platform exits in the Americas, a region in which Actis has built and owned over 7GW of contracted wind and solar capacity, making the company one of the largest private investors in the energy transition of the region.

In April 2022, Actis successfully exited Echoenergia, Brazil's largest independent renewable energy platform. Having established the company in 2017, the company was established with nearly 600MW in operation and now the portfolio is comprised of 1.2GW in operation, as well as a proprietary pipeline of ready-to-build projects representing 1.1GW in capacity.

Under Actis' stewardship, Echoenergia invested $3 million into local community engagement, education, economic well-being, and water access for personal and agricultural use. For example, Echoenergia also invested in the education of local children living near the project sites and the construction of new educational facilities and digital centres.

The second company, Atlas, is one of the region's largest independent renewables businesses, with 3.1GW of capacity contracted in 12 projects in Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil during Actis' ownership.

Following consultation with communities in north-east Brazil and central Mexico, Atlas introduced an inclusion and diversity programme called the Women Workforce Program (WWP).

This aimed to encourage female participation in the renewable energy labour market through increasing training, employment, entrepreneurial opportunities, and leadership positions. Actis said this led to the training of over 1,562 women on technical skills needed for solar panel installation and maintenance during Actis' ownership, including the employment of 925 women within Atlas' construction activities.

Atlas' gender diversity recruitment programme resulted in female representation rising from 11% to 40% at the corporate level since 2017. Female representation at construction sites also increased from 2% to 15% in this period.

"Actis, over 2022 and into this year, has clearly placed a massive impetus on innovation in its desire for a better future. The instability of the energy market as it is, and the rising price of fossil fuels, has rapidly increased the desire for a world where renewable energy plays a bigger role. Through Actis' help, their portfolio companies, such as Echoenergia and Atlas have been able to leverage innovation and drive the move to a greener energy system, which benefits the Americas region on an economic and social level," said Actis in its awards submission.

Also winning the award for 'ESG innovation of the year (funds and portfolios) – Asia', in April 2022 Actis announced the sale of Indian renewables platform Sprng Energy, to Shell in a transaction valued around $1.55 billion.

Sprng was established by Actis in 2017 and has grown to encompass more than 2.9GW of wind and solar assets with a further 7.5GW of renewable energy projects in the pipeline. Actis has since launched BluPine Energy, targeting 4GW capacity of utility-scale solar, wind, and storage projects in India.

Furthermore, in June 2022, Actis announced the launch of a power generation business dedicated to delivering an equitable energy transition in Southeast Asia. Bridgin Power will invest in gas-fired projects and will leverage Actis' proprietary Impact Score and Transition Tool to identify assets that have a clear path to decarbonisation.

Actis is also supporting Vietnam's carbon-neutral commitment through its majority stake in southeast Asia renewables platform Levanta Renewables, an onshore wind farm.

One Sustainable Investment Awards judge called Actis' work in the region "an innovative strategy to support the energy transition in Asia".

Actis' partner and head of energy infrastructure, Lucy Heintz, won Investment Leader of the year in this year's Sustainable Investment Awards.