The private equity industry is undergoing a significant transformation, as the world faces multiple crises such as climate change and social inequality. Private equity firms have an opportunity to play a pivotal role in the global transition towards renewable energy by prioritizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations, which are now a crucial component in achieving superior valuations and driving value creation. However, this shift towards ESG requires a strategic mind-set shift that prioritizes the importance of sustainability and equitable practices.

In this first part of a two-part blog series, we examine the importance of ESG considerations in private equity, best practices for measuring and reporting on ESG performance in private equity, as well as the role of sustainability consulting and the importance of ESG considerations in the industry.

We also take a closer look at Tech Mahindra, a leader in the ESG space, and explore the best practices, offerings, and abilities in driving sustainable, responsible investment in the following part. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting to explore the world of ESG, this blog provides valuable insights and actionable strategies for incorporating ESG into your investment approach.

Importance of ESG Considerations in Private Equity

Private equity firms have a unique opportunity to drive positive change by prioritizing ESG considerations in their investment decisions. In addition to aligning with societal values, integrating ESG into investment strategies has been shown to improve financial performance and mitigate risks. It is also becoming increasingly important for limited partners who invest in private equity funds to ensure that their investments are aligned with ESG principles. Therefore, private equity firms that prioritize ESG considerations can not only generate superior returns for investors but also attract capital from LPs who prioritize responsible investing.

Measurement and Reporting of ESG Performance

 Measuring and reporting on ESG performance is a critical component of effective ESG integration. Private equity firms must have access to reliable and consistent data on ESG factors to make informed investment decisions and effectively manage risks. ESG performance indicators can vary by industry and company, and it is important to develop a comprehensive and tailored approach to measuring ESG performance. Best practices for ESG measurement include aligning with internationally recognized ESG frameworks such as the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), using third-party data providers, and engaging with portfolio companies to collect and report on ESG metrics.

Role of Sustainability Consulting in Private Equity

Sustainability consulting can help private equity firms integrate ESG considerations into their investment strategies and maximize the value of their portfolios. Sustainability consultants can provide expertise on ESG performance measurement, risk mitigation, and strategy development. They can also help private equity firms identify investment opportunities in the growing green tech sector, which involves companies that provide environmentally sustainable products or services. Sustainability consultants can work with portfolio companies to improve ESG performance and develop sustainability strategies that drive value creation. Overall, sustainability consulting is an important tool for private equity firms seeking to integrate ESG considerations into their investment strategies and drive positive change.

ESG considerations have become increasingly important for investors as they look to invest in companies committed to sustainable practices. ESG governance and investment are fundamental to responsible investing in the private equity industry. ESG governance involves developing a comprehensive set of policies and procedures that guide a firm's management and decision-making processes related to environmental, social, and governance factors. This process involves evaluating the risks and opportunities associated with ESG considerations and ensuring that the necessary policies and processes are in place to address them.

At the same time, ESG investment involves the incorporation of ESG considerations into investment decision-making. In recent years, private equity firms have been increasingly integrating ESG governance and investment into their operations to drive responsible and sustainable investments. By combining ESG governance and investment, private equity firms can generate positive outcomes for investors, portfolio companies, and society, creating long-term value.

Integrating ESG considerations into investment decision-making and management practices enables private equity firms to not only mitigate risks but also unlock new opportunities and enhance the overall value of their portfolios. For instance, one of the world's largest private equity firms, has created a dedicated sustainability office to oversee ESG initiatives across its portfolio companies and has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions across its portfolio by 2050. Similarly, Another Major firm has implemented a comprehensive ESG management system covering all stages of the investment lifecycle, and has a team of ESG professionals who collaborate with portfolio companies to identify and address ESG risks and opportunities.

Best Practices for Measuring and Reporting on ESG Performance in Private Equity

ESG investing has gained significant traction among private equity investors who seek to align their investments with their values. However, the credibility of ESG can be undermined by misconceptions and criticism that it is subjective and difficult to measure. Therefore, measuring and reporting on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance has become increasingly important for private equity firms looking to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and responsible investments. In this article, we outline some best practices for measuring and reporting on ESG performance in private equity.

  • Set clear goals and metrics Private equity firms should establish clear ESG goals and metrics that align with their investment strategy and stakeholder expectations. These goals and metrics should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), and should cover all aspects of the company's ESG performance.
  • Use standardized frameworks Private equity firms should use standardized frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) to guide their ESG reporting. These frameworks provide a common language and structure for ESG reporting and enable firms to benchmark their performance against peers.
  • Engage with stakeholders: Private equity firms should engage with stakeholders, including investors, portfolio companies, employees, and communities, to understand their ESG expectations and incorporate their feedback into ESG reporting. Stakeholder engagement can also help firms identify new ESG risks and opportunities.
  • Verify and assure ESG data: Private equity firms should verify and assure their ESG data to ensure its accuracy and reliability. Verification and assurance can be conducted by independent third-party auditors, and can provide assurance to stakeholders that the firm's ESG reporting is accurate and trustworthy.
  • Focus on material ESG factors: Private equity firms should focus on ESG factors that are material to their portfolio companies and their stakeholders. Material ESG factors are those that have a significant impact on the company's financial performance, reputation, and ability to create value over the long term. Private equity firms can identify material ESG factors through a thorough analysis of the company's business model, strategy, and stakeholder expectations.

Ultimately, the integration of ESG considerations into private equity investing can help drive positive change and create long-term value for investors, portfolio companies, and society. By adopting best practices for measuring and reporting on ESG performance, private equity firms can demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and responsible investments and contribute to the global transition towards a more equitable and sustainable future.

This blog is the first part of a two-part series exploring ESG as an evolving paradigm in private equity. In the second part, we delve deeper into the potential of ESG in driving efficiency and cost savings in private equity firms, the opportunities presented by green technology investments, and We also take a closer look at our digital solutions by Tech Mahindra as a leader in the ESG space. Read the second part of our blog series.

About the Author

Mrigank Ranjan
Engagement and Channel Lead, Private Equity

Mrigank works as an Engagement and Channel Lead at Tech Mahindra, where he explores technology led value creation interventions in the Asia markets and beyond. Mrigank is a technologist at heart and believes that a data driven, consultative approach to solving business problems is the key to unlocking value for private equity firms and portfolio companies. Over his career, he has played many roles, including executive management, marketing and business development. Mrigank holds a BSc. in Economics from the University of Iowa and a PGDM-C from MICA Ahmedabad.