2018 Sustainability and Operational Excellence Challenge Winner and Finalists

The EMPEA Institute is proud to announce our 2018 Sustainability and Operational Excellence Challenge Winner and Finalists, who presented at the EMPEA Sustainable Investing in Emerging Markets Summit on 23 October 2018 in London.

2018 Challenge Winner:

  • Aavishkaar was voted the Winner by securing the most votes from the 250+ audience of global investors at the EMPEA Summit for its investment in Nepra Resource Management Pvt. Ltd., which diverts waste away from landfills by focusing on dry waste (recyclables such as plastics, glass and paper), while positively  impacting the livelihoods of waste pickers in India—who are typically poor, illiterate and unskilled—by providing them with fair prices, transparent service, immediate cash payments and higher incomes. Learn more about Nepra – watch the video »

2018 Challenge Finalists:

  • Denham Capital was selected as a Finalist by the Challenge’s panel of judges for its investment in Rio Energy, a developer, owner and operator of renewable energy projects in Brazil, which operates in accordance with international standards and works
    closely with local communities on social and environmental projects. Learn more about Rio Energy – watch the video »
  • IFC and IFC Asset Management Company (AMC) were selected as Finalists by the Challenge’s panel of judges for its investment in Bandhan Bank Limited, a microfinance-focused full commercial bank that reaches some of the country’s most rural and remote areas, while helping India’s lowest income populations gain financial literacy and supporting women’s entrepreneurship across the country. Learn more about Bandhan Bank – watch the video »

The audience members voted for the fund manager who they believed exemplified the best case study of outstanding sustainable impact from an operational, environmental, social and governance perspective.

The finalists were chosen out of global submissions from the emerging markets fund manager community, and
they represented the firms receiving the highest marks across the various categories of selection criteria from an
independent panel of judges. This year’s judges included Natasha Buckley, Senior Manager, Private Equity
Program at UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI); Shawn Cole, John G. McLean Professor of Business
Administration, Finance Unit at Harvard Business School; and, Gayle Peterson, Associate Fellow, Said Business
School, Oxford University and Director, Oxford Impact Investing and Social Finance Programs. Emerging market
fund managers and global institutional investors attending this week’s summit made the final selection of the
winner after hearing presentations highlighting key impact and operational metrics.

Ajay Maniar, Partner, Aavishkaar, fund manager winner and presenter, remarked after receiving the most
audience votes, “We are honored to receive this award. Aavishkaar had identified waste management as an
investment opportunity that could create both impact for marginalized communities and commercial value for
its funds while addressing a pressing environmental issue. We backed the young team at Nepra in 2013 to take
on this challenge. It has been immensely satisfying journey for us to see Nepra completely transform its
operations and processes by leveraging the power of technology to achieve rapid scale. Nepra is an
endorsement of our investment philosophy that scale, sustainability and impact can go hand in hand. ”

Sandeep Patel, Co-Founder & CEO, Nepra, portfolio company winner and presenter, added, “We are extremely
excited and encouraged to receive this award. For an early stage entrepreneur getting the right investor is
important. We have been fortunate to have an investor like Aavishkaar who empowered us not only with
capital, but with a great deal of support in transforming our vision into a scalable business.”


Read the full press release here