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Establishing an ESG Board

To ensure oversight, progress and support towards our ESG objectives, we have established an ESG Board as part of Wellstreet’s governing structure. Take a look at the process and how the first Board meeting transpired.
Published:
March 16, 2023
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Establishing an ESG Board

We at Wellstreet aim to take ESG to the next level by actively working with our portfolio companies and embedding ESG in their DNA to future-proof their businesses. To achieve that aspiration, we must constantly challenge ourselves in our effectiveness in supporting our founders and strengthen our own capabilities as a fund and portfolio manager.

To ensure oversight, progress and support towards our ESG objectives, we have established an ESG Board as part of Wellstreet’s governing structure. 

The ESG board acts also as a guardian of our long term vision. It provides support for the operational team at Wellstreet to navigate an ever-changing landscape and stay the course towards building truly sustainable companies.

Objectives of ESG Board

Wellstreet’s ESG Board serves the following purpose:

  1. Assess Wellstreet’s ESG strategy and performance 
  2. Drive progress on ESG strategy, reporting, and initiatives
  3. Support solving issues and roadblocks
  4. Review and keep track of important external developments in regulation and industry best practice
Wellstreet’s first ESG Board meeting. From left to right: Evelina Anttila, Caroline Farberger, Armando Coppola, Jonathan Milläng and Jessica Rameau.

Structure of ESG Board

Participants in the Board are senior representatives from our areas of operation.. We have also appointed an external member from our strategic cooperation partner Ethos.

On a typical meeting of the Board, we expect, as a minimum, the following topic to be covered by the respective board participants:

  • Fund managers (Jessica and Armando) report on progress of ESG implementation in the funds’ portfolio companies and share an aggregated picture for each fund, as well as latest key learnings observed when implementing the ESG agenda within investment processes and portfolio management activities.
  • Managing partner (Evelina) reports on progress of ESG in Wellstreet as an organisation.
  • External member (Jonathan from Ethos) provides an outside perspective on regulation, and  best practice observed in other sectors and in particular from the regulated financial industry.
  • Chair of ESG Board (Caroline) reflects the work of the ESG Board to the board of Wellstreet.

Rhythm of review

The board meets on a  quarterly basis with the above standardised agenda. Together the board members assess our ambition level and the effectiveness and methods for implementation, considering current market and regulatory developments. 

In addition, the ESG board reviews all Wellstreet board policies relating to ESG on a yearly basis, in particular our Sustainable Investment Policy and our Code of Conduct, which includes our DEI statement.

Finally, the ESG board reviews the regulatory reporting for Wellstreet’s Funds operating under Article 8 of the SFDR

Learnings from the first meeting of the ESG Board

At our first meeting on March 13, our discussion was focused on the progress of our Sustainability  risk assessments that have been carried out across our funds and  our portfolio companies, which commenced at the ESG Training Day in January. In particular, Jonathan from Ethos presented the results of the risk assessment from the funds’ perspectives. Our exposure at fund level was as expected based on the industries we are invested in, and this indicated the type of support we need to provide  our portfolio companies with  at fund level to help mitigate and manage the most salient risks. At our next ESG Board meeting in May, we will discuss key gaps within the portfolio when it comes to both the understanding of ESG risks and also the implementation of risk mitigating strategies and actions and how best to remedy those gaps.

We will also review progress of the data collection to support Article 8 funds’ yearly reporting for the Principal Adverse Impact Indicators, linked to the SFDR regulation. 

We will discuss the Agenda and content for our next ESG Training Day held for our portfolio companies based on the two exercises above. 

We will also review our internal work at Wellstreet with regards to ESG practices, which also includes a  yearly review of our policies relating to the sustainability area.

Summary

Our ESG Board is a key component of our ESG work, and we will continue to develop our ESG management practices and share our learnings as we progress with operationalising ESG.

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