Some of the best and brightest leaders in Australia’s impact investment sector were honoured at the annual Australian Impact Investment Awards last night. A collaboration between the Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific and the Impact Investing Hub, the awards recognise outstanding activity and individuals in the Australian impact investing ecosystem.
This year’s awards were judged by a panel of experts comprised of Teena Blewitt (Group Manager, Communities Group, Department of Social Services), Abhilash Mudaliar, (Impact Investing & Social Ventures, Paul Ramsay Foundation) and Rosemary Addis (Executive Director, Impact Strategist).
The Summit Dinner and Awards were sponsored by the Department of Social Services and the awards were presented by Teena Blewitt on behalf of the Department.
“We were so thrilled with the number of nominations for the Awards, which demonstrates how much the impact investing ecosystem is continuing to develop and how many remarkable people and organisations are contributing to the future of a transformed economy,” said Jessica Roth on behalf of the Impact Investing Hub.
“The Summit Dinner and Awards are a celebration of the Australian impact investing ecosystem and the innovators who contribute to its significant growth. The Awards finalists and winners – as well as all 350+ attendees at this year’s Summit – are united by our work in deploying capital as a force for good” said Melanie Greblo, the Director of Program and Experience for the Impact Investment Summit Asia Pacific.
The four categories of the Awards mirror the categories of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen and we thank the GSG for sharing their process.
The winners of the awards are:
Impact Asset Owner of the Year: HESTA reaffirmed its commitment to growing the Australian impact investment market by allocating a further $40 million to fund investments across health, housing and community services through its Social Impact Investment Trust. HESTA’s institutional impact investment mandate with Social Ventures Australia was the first-of-its-kind in Australia and has paved the way for other super funds to look at making an allocation towards impact investing.
Impact Asset Manager of the Year: Kilter Rural is a specialist manager, dedicated to investment in Australian real assets of farmland, water and ecosystem services managing a portfolio of more than $440 million. In 2019, they launched the Australian Farmlands Fund where returns are provided through the regeneration of underutilised irrigation farming operations to deliver high value organic and conventional crops, sustained by ecosystem protection to deliver long-term returns to investors.
Impact Market Builder of the Year: Pacific Trade Invest Australia facilitates connections that supports private sector growth in the Pacific Islands, building recognition of impact investment as a sector and introducing impact investors. In the last year, PTI Australia facilitated an impact investment in Vanuatu and another in Samoa, as well as facilitating a partnership with Kiva to enable their first loan in Papua New Guinea.
Impact Entrepreneur of the Year: GOTERRA & Nightingale Housing.
GOTERRA targets the problems of food waste, methane emissions, and provides sustainable and stable livestock feed for farmers turning the insects into high protein insect meal and valuable, nutritious soil conditioner. Since its Series A investment round, GOTERRA has diverted more than 19 tonnes of food waste from landfill, thereby avoiding approximately 41 tonnes carbon emissions.
Nightingale Housing contributes to improved housing affordability by delivering more functional units and communal facilities at a lower price than the market would set whilst maintaining high quality design. Its triple-bottom-line housing model delivers apartments below cost for women, people with a disability and works with partners to create resilient and inclusive neighbourhoods.
When assessing the nominations, there were four individuals who stood out to the judges going above and beyond, at times coming with professional sacrifices to provide significant contributions to the impact investment ecosystem.
These individuals, who were each presented with an Award for Outstanding Achievement, are Lane Crockett (Head of Renewable Infrastructure, Impact Investment Group), Sandy Blackburn-Wright (Founder & Managing Director, Social Outcomes), Elyse Sainty (Director of Impact Investing, Social Ventures Australia)and Lisa Siganto, (Chairman, ImpaQt Queensland).
Download the full media release here.