What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
A strategic project to strengthen our investment process, which will improve how we evaluate and quantify the sustainability impact of potential Verdane companies prior to investing – things like improved health outcomes for employees, reduced or avoided emissions, and the like.
Where do you see Verdane’s biggest potential for improvement in terms of sustainability impact? And what are we doing about that?
I’d say benchmarking and sharing learnings in an effective and scalable way. There’s significant sharing going on already, but fully harnessing the sustainability data in our portfolio companies to create a structured, holistic approach to scale sustainability learnings across the entire portfolio. That is something the Elevate Analytics team and I are working on.
And what would you say are Verdane’s sustainability strengths?
Sustainability is deeply ingrained in the culture of the organisation, so if a good idea and execution plan related to sustainability is presented, there’s buy-in. That’s great for moving things forward at a quick pace.
What are the most common obstacles you see companies face regarding sustainability?
Not knowing where to start, or how to define sustainability work in a way that is appropriate to the organisation or business model and relevant to one’s own stakeholders.
Where are the CEOs who are most advanced in their thinking focusing their efforts right now?
On integrating sustainability into their core value proposition – thinking long-term to make the right investments today, and partnering up with other players in their own value chain to contribute positively. Sustainability beginners mostly see it as a cost, whereas advanced players have found ways to make sustainability generate commercial opportunities for the business – like in BEWI – or create a market position that generates stickier customers, like momox.
What advice do you most often find yourself giving management teams?
Make a current situation analysis, establish where you can generate the most impact, and use that to define where you want to end up. Then make an actionable plan to get there – remember to use sustainability to generate business upside to the greatest extent possible.