The winners of the ESG in fund management categories in the New Private Markets Awards 2023 are as follows:

Multi-strategy Firm of the Year (ESG): EQT

Stockholm-listed EQT has consistently taken measures to use sustainability as a differentiator. Having notably been the first firm to have its decarbonisation plans validated by the Science Based Targets initiative back in 2021, the firm has supported 26 investments in setting SBTs, representing circa 45 percent of its invested equity, and is understood to have many more in the pipeline. Related to this, the firm published its Net Zero Guidelines in 2023, which go further than SBTi and NZAM requirements. Ninety-five percent of its portfolio boards feature a sustainability champion, and 37 percent of board members appointed by EQT are of the underrepresented gender, the firm has said.

  • Runner up: Ares Management

Large-Cap Private Equity Firm of the Year (ESG): EQT

The ESG-forward firm made demonstrable progress across its private equity business in 2023. It had raised more than €2.7 billion for its “impact-driven” Future Fund, making it the largest generalist private equity pool of impact-driven capital in the market. The firm exited Schülke, an infection prevention and treatment business, for an enterprise value of €1.4 billion and 5x return, according to affiliate title PE Hub. Schülke had undergone a sustainability transformation involving a substantial transition to renewable energy, launching sustainability-driven products and being awarded a gold medal by EcoVadis. EQT also participated in the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Private Equity Task Force on biodiversity, featuring two portfolio companies as case studies in the report Nature Positive: The Next Horizon for Investors.

  • Runner up: PAI Partners

Mid-Cap Private Equity Firm of the Year (ESG): Bregal Investments

Bregal Investments demonstrated ESG leadership within its own organisation, its portfolio and the wider private equity industry in 2023. The firm added a sixth strategy to its platform last year in the form of impact unit Bregal Sphere. Sphere inked its first investment: nature-based solutions project developer PUR. Bregal Investment’s carbon reduction targets cover 80 percent of its investment and lending activities, including the target that 100 percent of its portfolio companies must have science-based targets by 2030. Sixty-nine percent of the firm’s direct investee companies report KPIs in line with the ESG Data Convergence Initiative and the firm has a €50 million fund that provides loans to portcos to undertake sustainability projects.

  • Runner up: InvestIndustrial

Private Debt Firm of the Year (ESG): Apollo Global Management

As inaugural chair of the ESG Integrated Disclosure Project – established in late 2022 – Apollo Global Management has taken a leadership role in convening managers, industry associations and ratings agencies to standardise ESG disclosures. In May 2023, the firm published an extensive ESG Credit white paper, detailing its sector-specific risk rating framework; its ESG due diligence memo, how it tracks ESG engagement with issuers; how it assesses facilities with a sustainability-linked element; and how it screens and assesses impact. The firm, which has a stated aim of deploying $50 billion into climate and energy transition-related investments by 2027, launched ACT Capital during 2023, a hybrid debt-equity strategy established to support corporates finance their transition to clean energy.

  • Runner up: ADM Capital

Infrastructure Firm of the Year (ESG): Ardian

Multi-strategy firm Ardian has added several ESG professionals to its ESG team in the last year including specialists to support its infrastructure activity in the areas of climate, agro-engineering, biodiversity and compliance with ESG regulations. The firm has led the way in profit sharing across its infrastructure and private equity. It was the first European firm to join Ownership Works, a non-profit that aims to push employee ownership schemes, and – at the end of 2022 – 65 percent of its buyout, expansion and infrastructure portfolios had profit sharing programmes in place and 29 percent had employee shareholding schemes. Aside from being a heavyweight investor in renewable energy generation, Ardian’s infrastructure platform in 2023 launched a natural capital programme with a commitment to invest €1.5 billion into restoration projects.

  • Runner up: Actis

Real Estate Firm of the Year (ESG): LaSalle Investment Management

LaSalle Investment Management completed 73 net zero carbon audits across its European portfolio in 2023, the firm has said, bringing the total to 177 out of 308 assets. The firm created and filled two new positions to assist its net-zero carbon audit programme and, for 2023, every employee in Europe had ESG performance targets baked into their roles, with 119 employees undertaking bespoke decarbonisation-centred training. In September, LaSalle incorporated the risk of extreme heat into its annual European Cities Growth Index for the first time in the index’s 23-year history, putting environmental considerations firmly into how it assesses occupier demand in cities across Europe.

  • Joint runners up: Fiera Real Estate and Harrison Street

Venture Capital Firm of the Year (ESG): Energy Impact Partners

Energy Impact Partners’ investment strategy centres on helping organisations achieve net zero; however, it is also taking a lead on measuring and reporting its own impact. In April, the firm became a founding member of the Venture Climate Alliance (VCA) – an organisation looking to build a robust movement within the venture industry to combat climate change. It also calculated its Scope 3 emissions in 2023, and reported that its investments enabled annual carbon savings of more than 6x its own footprint. The firm is now participating in the ESG Data Convergence Initiative and has assembled an ESG advisory board that includes sustainability-minded investors such as Nysno, Microsoft and APG.

  • Runner up: Climate Investment