Although Mirova, the sustainable investment arm of Natixis Investment Managers, missed out on the top prize, judges highly commended its sustainable oceans strategy.
The strategy, launched in 2018, includes the creation of a new investment fund dedicated to making pioneering impact investments into marine and coastal projects.
Investments made through the fund aim to create investor value and social impact by providing growth capital to companies that harness the ocean's natural capital. Mirova's ambition is to deploy at least $100m across a portfolio of investments into sustainable marine activities in developing countries globally.
The strategy includes investing in scalable, impact-aligned models that generate real assets, build resilience in coastal ecosystems and create sustainable economic growth and livelihoods. It seeks to generate returns through originating, structuring, and providing transitional finance via targeted project lending into sustainable seafood production, seafood supply chains and coastal development projects.
These projects support a transition to environmental and social sustainability and underpin 'the Blue Economy'. Through the sustainable oceans strategy, institutional investors can help improve sea health and create marine-focused jobs while earning market-based investment returns.
At launch, the fund attracted investment from the European Investment Bank, Axa Investment Managers and Dutch development bank FMO, among others.
Judges commended the innovative aspect of the fund in the currently hot topic of sustainability investing. Although it is not specifically geared towards insurers' investments, judges said they were looking forward to seeing how the fund would perform in coming years.