My name is Symon Vegter, I’m a Partner with Advent Partners and I’m also the Co-Lead of Responsible Investing at Advent. I’ve been in the Private Equity industry for 16 years now and for over 22 years, I have been helping and assisting companies throughout their life cycle.
Advent is a Melbourne based mid-market Private Equity firm. We help Australian and New Zealand businesses grow. We differentiate ourselves along three dimensions being: our partnership style; global approach and the insights we can bring to these firms.
We focus on four sectors being: technology, consumer, education and healthcare, and our existence is around working with Founders to help them grow and scale their businesses around the world.
Advent has a goal aligned with the Paris Agreement, which is to be net zero by 2050. At Advent, we’ve always focused on being a responsible investor and being sustainable in our practices. About three years ago, we realized that climate change was going to become a really important part of our investing program and we started looking at what climate initiatives we should be driving at a firm level, and a portfolio company level.
Given the nature of our investors, climate change and ESG are very important to not only their members but their broader communities. Increasingly, we’re being requested, ESG metrics and KPIs, so they can report back at a global level of what they’re planning to do and to drive change at a GP level, and seeing what we can drive, within our portfolio companies to enact change across this particularly important issue.
We’re seeing an increased focus from our investors around ESG metrics, and providing reliable information to them is really important to us. Most recently, the ESG Data Convergence Project, which is aimed at setting ESG metrics, streamlining the approach to reporting, and then ultimately setting benchmarks in relation to those ESG metrics.
Of those ESG metrics, one of the key components is around greenhouse gas emissions, and we’ve used the Pathzero platform to be able to provide the data to that project, to be able to report back to their LP community.
Increasingly, a number of LPs and investors, along with other stakeholders in the Private Equity industry, are requesting more information on ESG metrics. These are different metrics, lack standardization, and are different reporting mechanisms across the different aspects of the industry.
Initially, we started using Excel spreadsheets and online tools to be able to start our program in relation to climate change – that became very difficult and lacked rigor.
Increasingly, LPs are requesting ESG data at a portfolio company level which includes greenhouse gas emissions. Using Pathzero’s data and information we can easily report back to our LPs the information they need and the KPIs they’re looking for, and also supported by the rigor of the Pathzero platform.
Our experience working with Pathzero has been fantastic. They’ve allowed us to streamline the measurement and management of our greenhouse gas emissions for not only at our firm level, but more recently at our portfolio company level.
It’s really important for us to be able to leverage technology to provide a service to our portfolio companies to be able to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions and using Pathzero has allowed us to provide a seamless streamline service to them and allow them to use the technology to provide the data that we need at the portfolio company level.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have a great Client Service Manager in Michelle, who’s really helped project manage and work with our portfolio companies to start their programs. This has been supported by the Sustainability Consultants who worked hand-in-hand with our management teams to be able to collect, manage and then report back into the Pathzero platform. This end-to-end technology and service offering has really been fantastic because it allows us to streamline the process for our portfolio companies.
When we engaged with our portfolio companies for the first time, we worked hand-in-hand with Pathzero around what the program will look like from an end-to-end perspective, what they’ll get as an outcome from the program, but also where they’ll get the data and how they’ll actually develop that information, and so working together with Pathzero allows us to give our portfolio companies the technology and the tools to be able to streamline this process.
By initially measuring greenhouse gas emissions, they can at least understand the baseline of where they’re up to. We’re now going to roll out and think about targets and plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and where greenhouse gas emissions are unavoidable, we look at using carbon offsets. We’re at the starting point with our portfolio companies in terms of the measurement, but we plan to move on to offsets and also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Private Equity industry is in a unique position to be able to influence change in order to reach the net zero target by 2050. Through our investing and sphere of influence over our portfolio companies allows us to drive change, including sustainable practices, thinking more broadly around greenhouse gas emissions and helping these companies to achieve their particular goals as well.
As a Private Equity investor where in a unique position to be able to work collaboratively with our investors and portfolio companies to drive change in order to reach the Net Zero Target by 2050. We can encourage sustainable practices, look at ways to offset greenhouse gas emissions, drive other metrics, to help our portfolio companies achieve their Net Zero Target.
Advent is proud to be one of the first Private Equity firms in Australia to submit and participate in the ESG Data Convergence Project.
We’re proud to say at Advent that we’ve been carbon neutral for the last two years and that has been facilitated largely through Pathzero’s platform not only from a reporting and measurement of our greenhouse gas emissions, but right through to carbon offsets; through projects that have been facilitated through the Pathzero platform.
Becoming a carbon neutral company is really important to Advent because it allows us to show leadership to our key stakeholders, including our investors and portfolio companies, that we are taking climate change seriously, and that it is a key focus area for us as a Private Equity investor.