Private equity

There are several reasons for the recent momentum in responsible investment within private equity. Firstly, Limited Partners (LPs) are asking General Partners (GPs) to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Secondly, due to regulatory changes, the economic downturn and public scrutiny, the industry is under pressure to demonstrate that it is a responsible member of society in order to gain access to capital markets. Thirdly, there is a renewed focus on adding value to portfolio companies and ESG integration is a key way to do this.

Private equity is highly conducive to responsible investment because of its relatively long-term horizon; the typical holding period for a portfolio company is 3-7 years. In principal, private equity firms have influence over company management and are therefore able to promote ESG initiatives at the company level.

While there is momentum for responsible investment in private equity, LPs and GPs face a number of issues and challenges.  How can LPs and GPs effectively engage with one another? How do you develop processes for ESG integration into the investment analysis and decision-making and ownership activities?  What is the value of ESG integration?

About the work stream

The work stream was launched in 2008 with a handful of General Partners (GPs) and Fund of Funds (FoFs) and today is one of the PRI’s most mature, with over 130 GPs and FoFs and more than 130 Limited Partners (LPs) as members. The work stream brings together leaders and those new to the industry to collaborate, engage in debate and develop resources to support private equity investors wanting to implement responsible investment practices.

Get involved

The work stream is governed by a Steering Committee. Three current members will be stepping down at the end of 2014, creating three opportunities for signatories who would like to join the committee. For more information, click here. The submission deadline is 31 October 2014.