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Investment Leaders Group

Investment Leaders Group

June 5: Investor rigour key to green bonds success

Financial Times

A Financial Times letter penned by the Chair of CISL’s Investment Leaders Group, emphasises the critical link between investor rigour and the success of the green bond market. Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova, highlights the need for investors to be rigorous in demanding proof of the environmental benefits of investments. Welcoming the green bond principles, Mr Zaouati argues that engagement by responsible investors will strengthen the integrity of the market and build trust between savers, businesses and financial markets.

Read the full letter here (subscription required).

22 May 2014: ILG Report: The Value of Responsible Investment 

Investors are uniquely placed to support economic activity that enhances the environment, sustains livelihoods and contributes to economic stability. And with thousands of companies signing up to the Principles for Responsible Investment, support for these values has never been stronger. There imperative now is to convert ambition into effective investment practice. 

This report from the ILG sets out the moral, economic and financial case for action, together with a practical agenda for change. It provides a foundation on which further actions by the ILG will be based.

Download the document to read more on the case for responsible investment, with a comprehensive review of the literature and recommendations for research and practical action.

Read the press release.

25–26 February 2014: ILG Working Meeting, Paris

The ILG Working Meeting was hosted by ILG Chair Philippe Zaouati at Natixis Asset Management’s headquarters in Paris. During a series of in-depth workshop sessions, ILG members discussed the outputs of key areas of ILG work such as the State of Practice Review and the two current ILG workstreams. Research findings on valuing responsible investment and reporting investment impact were presented, and members identified next steps for both of these workstreams as well as areas for future action for the group.

8 October 2013: Press Release: Launch of the Investment Leaders Group

Cambridge hosts a new project to advance sustainable investing: The Investment Leaders Group will bring together leading firms in the sector.

A group of leading asset managers and owners have joined forces with the University of Cambridge in a three-year project designed to promote understanding of how investors can realise positive environmental and social outcomes alongside robust, long-term investment returns.

Read the full press release.

8 May 2013: Investment Leaders Group Inaugural Working Meeting

Inaugural Working Meeting, 8 May 2013

On 8 May 2013, ILG members were convened for the first time at a working meeting in London. The meeting focused on identifying key areas of shared interest and opportunities for impact on which the Group would focus its first stage of work.

It was followed by a dinner hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales for leaders of ILG companies to discuss these ideas further and reflect on how the industry as a whole can move towards responsible investment management processes which result in long-term value creation.

Members set the agenda and work plan for the initiative at the inaugural working meeting of the Investment Leaders Group. The inaugural meeting was followed by a dinner with HRH The Prince of Wales on 8 May 2013.

ILG members attending the inaugural ILG Dinner with HRH The Prince of Wales

What is the ILG?

The Investment Leaders Group (ILG) is a three-year project, launched in January 2013. It is designed to drive the investment chain towards responsible, long-term value creation. Jointly conceived* by the University of Cambridge (CISL) and Natixis Asset Management, it is championed by the eleven leaders of a group of influential investment managers and asset owners. Despite their different investment strategies, these leaders share a common ambition to lead by example in the creation of new norms that support the advancement of responsible investment.

Why now?

As owners and managers of financial capital, investors have a crucial role to play in supporting economic activity that enhances rather than damages the environment, and sustains rather than erodes well-being. Responsible investment has grown exponentially in the last decade. Most notably, the Principles for Responsible Investment have garnered over 1,200 signatories, representing US$45 trillion in assets. Nonetheless, to date, there has been little rigorous empirical analysis of sustainable investment, and some key structures and standards needed to drive the industry towards a ‘highest common denominator’ remain to be established.

What sets the ILG apart?

The ILG occupies a unique position at the nexus of the world-class academic research taking place at the University of Cambridge and the cutting-edge corporate leadership at the most senior levels of its member companies.

Our strength lies in the following characteristics:

  • A small committed group ensures a cohesive objective while allowing individual voices to be heard

  • Partnership with the University of Cambridge ensures the academic rigour of reports and models

  • Explicit CEO buy-in and senior level involvement secures key resources from all members equally

  • Workstreams led by 2–3 members allow for shared ideas to be acted upon and tested in a safe space

  • Collaboration with similar organisations contributes to the amplification of impact and an efficient allocation of resources


Our ambition is to undertake a fresh appraisal of investment to develop a vision for responsible investment and a set of actions that takes us there.

*The ILG is convened by CISL and chaired by Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Natixis’ responsible investment subsidiary, Mirova.

ILG: Defining the Vision for Responsible Investment

*feasibility under assessment

The work of the ILG is built on the core belief that there is value in responsible investment, and on the recognition that the link between environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and investment is two-fold: ESG factors affect financial returns, and investments carry ESG impacts for society at large. This is expressed in the two projects that are the backbone of the ILG: its foundational report on the value of responsible investment, and a methodology for quantifying the social and environmental impact of investments.

In order to implement these principles, the investment industry must establish governance for sustainability; this in turn requires a concerted effort to develop mandates that encourage long-termism and to establish a globally shared understanding of fiduciary duty that incorporates ESG.

Building on this base, the ILG’s three other workstreams support the implementation of responsible investment, assessing how environmental risks and regulations affect portfolios and investigating how to scale investment in the low carbon transition.


Allianz Global InvestorsAviva InvestorsFirst State Investments
Loomis SaylesNatixis Asset ManagementNordea Life & Pensions
PensionDanmarkPIMCOStandard Life Investments
TIAA-CREF Asset ManagementZurich Insurance Group
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Philippe Zaouati on the Investment Leaders Group

"Understanding and promoting increased sustainability will be essential for the success of the investment industry, and in fact the whole of society. With Cambridge as a partner we have a real opportunity for thought leadership."   
Philippe Zaouati, Chair of the ILG, CEO of Mirova and Deputy CEO of Natixis Asset Management

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