The sustainability challenge demands constant innovation
We have developed our approach to sustainability and responsible investment year by year so that today it feeds into every area of our work.
We advanced our work on sustainability during 2019, making fresh commitments to fulfil our social responsibilities as a company and improving our monitoring of the sustainability and impact of our investments.
Diversity & equal opportunities
Ardian is helping to address critical issues in our industry by joining 13 other major North American and European institutions in the Investor Leadership Network (ILN). The ILN was formed following Canada’s 2018 presidency of the G7 to address issues of sustainability and long-term growth. We are contributing to its diversity work stream, focusing for the moment on gender balance. We monitor gender diversity within Ardian, including representation of women in leadership and risk-taking positions, and collaborate in developing best practices to promote diversity internally and within portfolio companies.
We have also joined the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) program, which is the leading certification system globally to promote gender equality in career opportunities.
In addition we have signed the diversity charter of the French private equity association, France Invest. In house, we will further track diversity KPIs in our portfolio companies and our Fund of Funds portfolio and will work closely with our colleagues in HR to promote greater gender diversity, building on the mentoring and networking activities of Ardian’s Women’s Club.
Our major initiative last year was a project to measure the carbon footprint of our infrastructure portfolio and model its projected growth against the performance needed to restrict the global temperature increase to 2 degrees centigrade. Together with the CEOs of our infrastructure companies, we set a target of reducing their companies’ direct emissions by 20% by 2030.
We also analyzed the carbon footprint of the Expansion portfolio, identifying material issues for each company and assessing the physical and transition risks that climate change poses for them.
Ardian continues to play an active role at the industry level, and hosted the “Get up to speed on climate change” workshop during the PRI in Person event in September 2019. Candice Brenet, Head of Sustainability, joined the Commission for Climate and Sustainable Finance, hosted by the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), France’s regulatory body. This brings together expert members to help create regulatory policy that is ambitious and relevant for businesses.
“Our new impact measurement framework shows our commitment to stay at the forefront of the industry’s thinking on sustainability.”
We have been working for some time to move beyond simple monitoring of Environmental, Social and Governance indicators and develop a tool to measure and improve the impact of Ardian’s portfolio companies on our communities and stakeholders. During 2019, we developed a new measurement methodology drawing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the international Impact Management Project. Our new framework analyzes the entire value chain of each company, rather than simply its internal processes and operations, and provides a range of steps to improve its impact.
Since we produced our first profit sharing charter in 2008, we have distributed €57 million of capital gains on exit to more than 23,200 employees of 31 portfolio companies. Our general approach is to distribute a uniform sum representing between one and four months’ salary to every employee. In some companies, this bonus can represent up to six months’ salary for certain employees. Profit sharing on exit has become an increasingly common practice across our portfolio companies – some 30% of the total amount we have shared to date was distributed during 2019.
• Responsible purchasing. A new policy targeted health and safety, quality and environmental criteria. As a result, 22 of the company’s top 25 suppliers are now ISO 9001 certified for quality management and 19 are ISO 14001 certified for environmental management.
• Eco-design. In 2018, Gantner redesigned one of its main products to use 66% less plastic, 54% less power and remove the need for an integrated battery.
• Operational improvements. The company introduced an ISO 14001:2015-certified environmental management system and appointed a staff member to focus on environmental issues.
• Energy efficiency. Gantner moved into new energy-efficient premises that use groundwater for heating and cooling and generate clean electricity through solar panels.