MainStreet Partners announces “2021 ESG Champions” including BNP Paribas as best asset manager

by | Feb 15, 2021

MainStreet Partners, the London-based ESG Advisory and Portfolio Analytics firm, founded in 2008 and specialists in Sustainable, ESG and Impact Investments, has today announced which funds and asset managers have won their inaugural “ESG Champions” commendation.

Neill Blanks, Research Director, commented: “For many years MainStreet Partners has implemented a structured process using a robust proprietary methodology to evaluate a fund’s ESG and Sustainability level. This holistic methodology was created to help investors identify real sustainable investments across asset classes and to avoid greenwashing.

In 2021 we have decided to give special recognition to a select number of funds that have excelled in their own category among a total of 350 funds managed by over 60 asset managers which are rated by our team.  Given the development and increasing depth of ESG fund offerings we have named nine broad categories across Equities, Fixed Income, Multi-Asset and Thematic investing together with the best overall Asset Manager as well as the best Boutique. Our investment analysts have based their decisions on MainStreet Partners proprietary models and have selected a winner for each of the categories”.

This year’s winners are as follows:


Category ESG Champions
Best Global Equity Fund Candriam Sustainable Equity World
Best European Equity Fund Echiquier Major SRI Growth Europe
Best Global Fixed Income Fund RobecoSAM Global SDG Credits
Best European Fixed Income Fund DNCA Invest Beyond European Bond Opportunities
Best Green Bond Fund NN Green Bond
Best Multi-Asset Fund Mirova Europe Sustainable Economy
Best Multi-Thematic Fund Federated Hermes Impact Opportunities Equity
Best Environmental Thematic Fund Pictet Clean Energy
Best Social Thematic Fund BNP Smart Food
Best Asset Manager BNP Paribas AM
Best Boutique Sycomore AM

On the methodology, Neill Blanks, said: The new EU regulation requires the identification and disclosure of Sustainability risks which, in our opinion, are beyond the simple average rating of portfolio holdings because they involve the asset manager’s approach to Sustainability, its commitment, its disclosures, how Sustainability principles are incorporated in the investment process and how those may affect financial results. These aspects are crucially influenced by the actions, policies and procedures that the asset managers have to put in place to make informed decisions and construct portfolios. Furthermore, when looking at the portfolio, controversies also need to be taken into consideration since company ratings often do not incorporate them in a timely manner.

Our approach overcomes these issues by considering the asset manager, team and strategy in addition to the portfolio holdings which means the Sustainability rating is more stable and holistic.”


MainStreet Partners methodology has been used for several years and involves a 3-pillar holistic assessment which considers:

  1. The overall asset management firm;
  2. The fund’s strategy;
  3. The individual holdings in the fund.

This enhanced methodology distinguishes them from the major ESG providers which tend to focus only on the underlying holdings or the strategy label. The Sustainability rating ranges from a score of 1 (low) to 5 (high). The final rating is not simply based on the average of the 3 pillars, but each of the 80 indicators has a specific weight and in addition the model includes “bonus/malus” elements depending on the category to which the fund belongs.

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