Looking to develop debt capital markets with responsible fixed income investing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) partnered with Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) to try and build a sustainable environmental, social and governance (ESG) ecosystem in emerging markets in Asia.
The result was the AIIB Asia ESG Enhanced Credit Managed Portfolio, which ASI claim is the first ESG-driven credit mandate in Asia. The $500 million corporate bond portfolio aims to build capacity for financing Asia’s infrastructure needs sustainably by catalysing more ESG investment in the region.
It is “one of the strongest in Asia,” congratulated one Environmental Finance Bond Awards judge, who also noted that it was a “tough market to be operating in.”
In addition to investing in ESG bonds, more than 37% of the portfolio is invested in sustainability or green bonds, the AIIB and ASI partnership has approached companies to engage with ESG discussions. They have found this productive with Asian corporates being receptive to constructive engagement and seeing ESG scores improve across the portfolio since its inception. Both ASI and AIIB commented that they have seen signs that further positive movement is likely to continue in 2021 and beyond.
“We are honoured to be recognised as a leading responsible bond investor. This is a testament to our partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as we jointly aim to drive for positive changes in Asia’s debt capital markets,” said Paul Lukaszewski, head of corporate debt, Asia Pacific at ASI.