Excellence in ESG
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Excellence in ESG

Recognising outstanding commitment to responsible investment
The importance of ESG and Responsible Investment has never been more relevant for the private equity and venture capital industry. Now in its fifth year, ‘Excellence in ESG’ celebrates firms from across the private capital ecosystem that have made an outstanding commitment to ESG principles. Excellence in ESG aims to recognise the vital work our members are undertaking to embed responsible investment principles and practices, and provides a platform to demonstrate our industry’s commitment to ESG.

Entries opened on 5 April 2024 and closed on 7 June 2024. An independent judging panel will score the submissions and present the awards at the BVCA Summit conference on 12 September 2024.


Categories

For 2024 there are five categories:

  1. GP (above £1bn AUM)
  2. GP (below £1bn AUM)
  3. LPs (all sizes)
  4. Venture Capital (all sizes)
  5. Portfolio company (backed by a BVCA member)

Submission guidance

The judges will be looking for evidence of improved ESG practice, with a focus on using ESG frameworks, as well as specific examples to illustrate the firm’s engagement with portfolio companies. The submission should give details of the development or engagement which has taken place over 2023, covering how and why your firm has acted, and what the outcome has been.

The judges will be looking for a clear explanation of the objectives for your ESG strategy and activity, evidence of your commitment to ESG, linkage to investment strategy, and why the outcome has been positive. Please provide clear examples to evidence your submission. The criteria for each category can be found in the boxes below.

The submission should be 500-750 words and can be made via our online entry form. Your submission may be accompanied by supporting documents, if referred to in the submission. Due to the volume of submissions, the judges only have the capacity to read 3 additional pages of material, so please keep your supporting documents concise. Any attachments that exceed 3 pages total will not be considered.

Please note, due to the high volume of submissions, we will not be able to provide individual feedback.

Entries opened on 5 April 2024 and closed on 7 June 2024. An independent judging panel will score the submissions and present the awards at the BVCA annual flagship Summit conference on 12 September 2024.

Criteria for both GP categories (above and below £1bn)

The judges will be looking for progress made by GPs in ESG integration and engagement in 2023.

Submissions should set out the following:

  • How the firm has enhanced and developed its overall ESG framework, either the first-time adoption of a framework, or the refreshing of an existing framework. This should include why ESG is important to the firm and the commitment demonstrated by senior management.
  • Specific and/or thematic engagement by the GP with one or more portfolio companies to address any ESG risks or opportunities, please provide examples of how your specific involvement/active ownership of portfolio companies made decisive contributions to ESG-led value creation.
  • Evidence of ESG within reporting to LPs / investors or other stakeholders (formal or informal).
  • Support for external initiatives such as the PRI, TCFD, iCI.
  • Examples of value creation at exit / capital distribution due to ESG engagement.
Criteria for LP category (all sizes of LP)

The judges will be looking for progress made in ESG integration and engagement by LPs in 2023.

Submissions should set out the following:

  • How the firm has enhanced and developed its overall ESG framework during the year, either the first-time adoption of a framework, or the refreshing of an existing framework. This should include why ESG is important to the firm and the commitment demonstrated by senior management.
  • How the firm has worked with GPs to integrate ESG within due diligence and reporting.
  • Specific or thematic engagement by the LP with one or more managers to address any ESG risks or opportunities. This can include the regularity and depth of post-acquisition / funding engagement with portfolio companies / GPs on ESG matters.
  • Examples of value creation at exit / capital distribution due to ESG engagement.
  • Support for external initiatives such as the PRI, TCFD, iCI.
Criteria for Venture Capital category

The judges will be looking for progress made in ESG integration and engagement by VCs in 2023.

Submissions should set out the following:

  • How you integrate ESG into your due diligence.
  • How your firm has assisted companies to take their first steps into integrating ESG into their day-to-day business and setting KPIs to make improvements.
  • How you are fostering collaborative relationships with LPs across ESG strategy, reporting, and portfolio management. Utilisation and engagement with initiatives such as ESG_VC, Venture ESG and Impact VC.
  • How you firm is prioritising ESG internally, for example, having an ESG champion and KPIs for the firm’s ESG activity.
Criteria for Portfolio Company category

This category seeks to recognise portfolio companies that have demonstrated good practice in embedding the management of ESG issues in their day-to-day commercial activity and have been supported by their investors to do so. This category is to open to any portfolio company with a UK presence which is currently backed by a BVCA member (or was exited in 2023).

Submissions should set out the following:

  • How ESG is considered within the portfolio company’s day-to-day commercial activities in 2023.
  • Either evidence of the portfolio company seeking to minimise negative ESG impacts or examples of positive impacts on the environment, workplace, marketplace and/or community (or both).
  • How the portfolio company’s approach to ESG has changed or evolved in 2023, as a result of the BVCA member’s investment.
  • Evidence of engagement on ESG with wider stakeholders (including employees, suppliers, customers, and/or local communities).
  • Demonstration of industry engagement or accreditations such as B Corp certification, or work with other industry bodies/standards.
Judges

2024's Excellence in ESG judging panel is comprised of:

  • Eimear Palmer, Partner, Pantheon
  • Denise Odaro, Head of ESG & Sustainability, PAI Partners
  • Henry Philipson, Director of Marketing and Communications, Beringea
Excellence in ESG 2023 - Recognised companies

We were delighted to recognise outstanding contributions to ESG from across private equity and venture capital. The firms recognised were selected by an independent judging panel and presented at the BVCA Summit on 5 October 2023.

Recognised firms:

  • GPs (below £1bn AUM): Palatine
  • GPs (above £1bn AUM): Ares Management
  • Venture Capital (all sizes): Albion Capital
  • LPs (all sizes): HarbourVest Partners
  • Portfolio company (backed by a BVCA member): Hawksmoor (nominated by Graphite Capital)

Special recognitions:

  • GP (below £1bn AUM): NorthEdge, Piper PE LLP, and Freshstream Investment Partners LLP
  • GP (above £1bn AUM): Graphite Capital, ICG plc, and PAI Partners
  • LP (all sizes): Adams Street Partners UK LLP
  • Portfolio Company (backed by BVCA member): Material Exchange (nominated by Molten Ventures)

Read the judges' comments

Excellence in ESG 2022 - Recognised companies

At the 2022 BVCA Summit, we recognised members that had demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ESG principles into the investment cycle over the past year without our ‘Excellence in ESG’ initiative, produced in association with Ramboll and Kroll. Learn more about these firms below.

Recognition when to the following firms:

  • GPs with AUM above £1bn: Permira
  • GPs with AUM below £1bn: ETF Partners
  • LPs of all sizes: Neuberger Berman Private Markets
  • Any portfolio company backed by a BVCA member: Reconomy Group

The judges also wish to award special recognitions across all four categories. These were:

  • GPs with AUM above £1bn: Ares Management and EMK Capital
  • GPs with AUM above £1bn: Ares Management and EMK Capital
  • LPs of all sizes: Church Commissioners for England and Universities Superannuation Scheme#
  • Any portfolio company backed by a BVCA member: Findel Education, Bright Data and Williams Advanced Engineering

Read the judges' comments

Excellence in ESG 2021 - Recognised companies

At the BVCA Summit on 7 October 2021, we recognised those members that had demonstrated an outstanding commitment to embedding ESG principles over the past year with our ‘Excellence in ESG’ initiative, produced in association with Ramboll.

Recognition went to:

GP category (AUM of less than £1bn): Beringea

For driving industry collaboration through its ESG_VC benchmarking initiative and its commitment to bringing more firms onboard.

GP category (AUM of more than £1bn): EMK Capital

For an impressive response to the pandemic from across its portfolio, as well as strong evidence for each portfolio company regarding their ESG targets and achievements.

Special commendation: Palatine and Permira


LP category: Church Commissioners for England

For having outstanding ESG measurement systems in place across their portfolio, alongside ethical investment standards, set at Board level, that all its fund managers are assessed against.


Portfolio company categoruy: Weener Plastics (Backed by 3i)

For demonstrating excellent innovation and a clear focus on moving towards more recyclable and reusable products.

Special commendation: Oddbox

Read the judges' comments

Excellence in ESG 2020 - Recognised companies

At the BVCA Summit on 8 October 2020, we recognised those members that had demonstrated an outstanding commitment to embedding ESG principles over the past year with our ‘Excellence in ESG’ initiative, produced in association with Ramboll.

Recognition went to:

GP category: Tikehau Capital

The judges said ESG was clearly a part of Tikehau’s DNA. Special praise went to their sustainability-themed investing, and their comprehensive reporting, which sets out what they are doing with the companies they invest in. They have clearly demonstrated that ESG is an important point through all their workstreams. Hugely impressive.


LP category: HarbourVest

The judges commended HarbourVest’s demonstration of how they are driving improvements with their GPs, using strong, evidence-based results. One particular highlight was the creation of scorecards, stretching back over 10 years, looking at fund managers’ overall ESG performance. They already have an excellent standard, but demonstrated they have invested and improved over the course of this year.


Portfolio company category: TTC Group, backed by Palatine

The judges applauded TTC’s commitment to utilising Palatine’s six sustainability pillars. They have adopted a holistic approach to ESG, and it is clear that Palatine has had, and is continuing to have, a very positive influence over the direction of the business.


Due to the strength of the nominations in 2020, we also made two special commendations:

Special commendation – GP category: Oxford Capital

The judges said Oxford Capital demonstrated very effectively how they are embracing ESG, and deserve special recognition for showing that it does not matter how big you are, any firm can make a difference.

Special commendation – LP category: Coller Capital

The judges were impressed by how Coller demonstrated their engagement with GPs and pushing them to become better. Coller have a long and strong history of ESG commitment, and their consistent high-level of performance should be commended.

Meet the Judges

Eimear Palmer Pantheon
Denise Odaro PAI Partners
Henry Philipson Beringea

Past insights

Further information

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT THE BVCA

 +44 (0)20 7492 0400

 bvca@bvca.co.uk