Sustainable funds, which integrate environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their asset allocation process, have grown rapidly in number, variety and size. UNCTAD estimates that, today, there are nearly 4,000 such funds, with assets under management of over USD 1.7 trillion. These sustainability‐oriented funds have become important instruments for institutional investors to invest in sustainable development, channeling billions of dollars into key sectors that are critical for achieving the SDGs.
Despite their rapid growth, the total assets of sustainable funds account for 3.2% of the entire fund universe, and most of them are domiciled and invested in developed economies. Meanwhile, a lack of transparency and inconsistency of standards around sustainability labelling have given rise to credibility issues and “ESG washing” concerns.
To encourage the development of high‐quality, high‐impact sustainable funds, and in particular those investing in SDG‐related sectors and in developing countries, the UNCTAD sustainable fund awards recognize outstanding funds that demonstrate the highest standards of sustainability and impact, while outperforming their respective financial performance benchmarks.
The 2021 UNCTAD Sustainable Global Fund Award is dedicated to sustainable equity funds, which represent the largest share of the sustainable fund universe by both number of funds and assets under management. Four winners were awarded:
The 2021 UNCTAD Sustainable Emerging Market Fund Award recognizes the achievements and impact of sustainable equity funds that invest (solely or mainly) in emerging markets. Two winners were awarded: