Home News Blogs Blog | Accelerating ESG and impact improvements through active engagement

Blog | Accelerating ESG and impact improvements through active engagement

September 29, 2022

In 2021, we talked to 95% of our investments about ESG and impact. We did this for two reasons; to emphasize the importance of these topics and to share suggestions for improvements. Where necessary and possible, we use our network, VP Capital Team or consultants to accelerate improvements in the field of ESG and impact. As an active owner, we want to discuss impact reporting, ESG themes, the carbon footprint and all kinds of policies and employee engagement actively with our investments. By sharing our knowledge and bringing the investment world and companies together, we hope to be able to learn from each other in order to turn the tide against climate change and social inequality faster.

Active engagement

At VP Capital we believe it is important to take an active role in our investments. Too many shareholders invest from a distance. By 'actively involved' we mean that we participate in boards of directors, supervisory boards, advisory boards and investment committees and we actively put sustainability and impact on the agenda for our investments

We make suggestions on possible next steps and we focus on capacity building in our investments in order to realise more Sustainable Progress together. To contribute to the opportunities for improvement, we help them with carbon calculation and specialised sustainability communication, or facilitate expertise on specific topics, e.g. fair wear or regenerative farming.

Inspiring our investments

For 2022, we have once again drawn up performance ladders and targets for all our investments. Through active shareholdership, the VP Capital team will monitor and help achieve these targets. We look at how we can do more for smaller funds and younger companies, and how we will organise our organisation in the future. We want to inspire, guide and help our investments to remain frontrunners in the field of ethical leadership and new business models. We want to show them how they can become sustainable and social solution-based companies and how they can strengthen their communication on sustainability, both internally and externally.

Therefore, we also take initiatives, such as Sustainability Day, to bring companies together – at an inspiring venue for an interesting programme - so that they can learn from each other. Although most companies come from different sectors, the shared knowledge can help them move forward.

In 2022, we have organised an Impact Fund Meeting for the first time with the impact funds in which we invest as VP Capital. Many of them run into the same challenges, such as raising capital, scaling up, a good impact methodology and impact measurement or the new European legislation. VP Capital wanted to bring them together to share insights, lessons, experiences and dilemmas in order to take steps forward. We will share our insights from our own due diligence screening process and our own experiences in creating impact.

Sharing knowledge

At VP Capital we do not always find it easy to be vocal about our knowledge and opinions and we feel a bit reluctant to share views or visions that go beyond our investment portfolio. Yet we know that there is a need for it.

We are  regularly being asked to help think about certain themes and issues. So far, we have rarely taken a role in a public debate or forum but we now feel that time has come. In this way, we can contribute to making the investment world and certainly family offices more sustainable. We want to help a wider audience to really get started with ESG and impact and be a source of inspiration for starting impact investors.

Engaging our network

Other families and family offices are increasingly asking us for advice. We have consulted with several of them, for example, to help them start a sustainability journey or to provide support for the first due diligence screenings of impact investments. We have also visited some foreign families who showed interest in our journey and in the results of our ESG and impact screenings.

Bringing competitors together will, of course, be quite a challenge, but we believe that everyone within the impact world will keep the bigger picture in mind. Partly as a result of these efforts, this year we have discussed ESG and impact with 95% of our entire portfolio, where we had set the target for 2023 at 90%.

As key social and planetary needs continue to grow, we realise that we need to act faster and take bigger steps to turn the tide. We - that is VP Capital, but also other family offices, the business world, politicians and citizens - must all do more in the coming years to avoid even more human and planetary suffering. By working together we can make the world a better place!