Impact investing firm Aavishkaar wins sustainability and operational excellence challenge


Impact investing firm Aavishkaar bagged the EMPEA Institute's third ‘Annual Sustainability and Operational Excellence Challenge’ award for its sustainable impact from an operational, environmental, social and governance perspective.

The award recognised the impact investing firm’s role in Nepra Resource Management that works in improving the livelihoods of waste pickers in India and is driving waste away from landfills by recycling dry waste.

Representatives from Aavishkaar at the award ceremony

Held in London, the event saw 250 emerging market private capital investors voting for the three finalists. The voting was a live procedure following presentations from each highlighting their key impact and operational metrics. Aavishkaar secured 71 percent votes.

The other two participants were Denham Capital for its investment in Rio Energy, and IFC and IFC Asset Management Company (AMC) for their investment in Bandhan Bank Limited.

The finalists were chosen out of global submissions from the emerging markets fund manager community. They represented firms receiving the highest marks across the various categories of selection criteria set by 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, Oxford University and Director, Oxford Impact Investing and Social Finance Programs.

Nepra Resource Management was founded by Sandeep Patel, Dhrumin Patel and Ravi Patel in 2011. The social enterprise brings transparency and scalability in the highly unorganised Indian waste management sector by improving resource efficiency and promoting a ‘Circular Economy Model’.

Sandeep Patel, Co-Founder and CEO, said,

We are extremely excited and encouraged by 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.

In a conversation with Yourstory, Ajay Maniar, Partner, Aavishkaar, fund manager said,

In 2013, when we backed NEPRA, we were looking at creating both impact for marginalised communities and commercial value for its funds while addressing a pressing environmental issue. In India, the issue of waste is not addressed. Most often, moving the problem from public eye sight to another place, a landfill is a force-fed solution. They have successfully built an ecosystem for waste pickers, waste generators and municipal corporations.

He added, “Aavishkaar had identified waste management as an investment opportunity. 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. It is an endorsement of our investment philosophy that scale, sustainability and impact can go hand in hand. "

Also readHere's what happened when 300 impact investors from 50 countries got together in India

The organiser of the ceremony, EMPEA is a global industry association for private capital in emerging markets. An independent, non-profit organisation, the association brings together 300+ firms-including institutional investors, fund managers and industry advisors who manage more than $5 trillion in assets across 130 countries.