“Sustainability and impact are not the same thing. Impact is about additionality, what would happen if your money wasn’t there,” said Allianz’s infrastructure debt portfolio manager Jemima Atkins.
“Impact is providing debt to convert a coal power plant into a natural gas power plant. But the resulting natural gas power plant is clearly not a sustainable asset,” Atkins told delegates at affiliate title Infrastructure Investor’s Global Summit in Berlin.
“But if we just provided refinancing to an existing brownfield operational wind farm, that is clearly not impact because, without your money, the wind farm still exists and you haven’t done anything. However, it is a sustainable investment.
“There’s a lot of misuse of the terminology, particularly with Article 9 of the SFDR, which says that a financial product will invest in sustainable investments – and that’s where you can use the EU taxonomy to work out whether your asset meets the criteria – but an Article 9 fund is not an impact fund.”