Since I joined OMERS Private Equity to lead our ESG work in September 2022, I’ve been focused on building on our existing efforts and achievements in this space.
In recent years, we’ve seen ESG considerations become a more integral component of value creation across the industry. Stakeholders, broadly, are also demanding increased transparency and disclosure regarding ESG performance. OMERS Private Equity has long believed that well-run organizations with sound ESG practices will perform better over the long run, hence we have been integrating ESG considerations throughout our investment process – from our pre-investment due diligence through to our exits.
Moving into 2023, we’re focused on continuing to advance ESG performance across our portfolio. Given the breadth of topics that fall under the ESG umbrella, we understand that it is critical to focus on those issues that are most material to a given company, which means taking a nuanced approach for each company. We also understand that each company must own its ESG strategy and that our role is primarily to support our portfolio companies in their efforts.
With that said, we’ve identified some common elements that underpin every successful ESG program, and we are committed to enhancing those elements across our portfolio this year. First is ensuring that material ESG considerations are embedded in strategic discussions with the Board. Second is taking action on key value creation initiatives that will advance a company’s ESG posture. Third is measuring progress against a set of standard ESG KPIs. Fourth is communicating ESG priorities and progress with external stakeholders – this is a great opportunity to earn the trust of stakeholders and differentiate from peers with less developed ESG practices.
Above all, it is important to remember that this is a journey – there is no clearly marked ‘finish line’. However, if we continue to iterate on these four strands, our companies will meaningfully progress their ESG performance during our hold period, and ultimately, they and their stakeholders (including OPE) will be rewarded. In closing, we are excited to serve as a trusted partner along our portfolio companies’ ESG journeys!