At Speedinvest, we strive to create value for investors and portfolio companies while remaining aware of our responsibility towards both society and the environment. We’re proud of the fact that we consider responsible investing an integral part of our business model and we recognise the ever-increasing importance of environmental, social and governance aspects for our business and the world we in.
While this ESG policy sets out our commitment to responsible investing, we believe strongly in collaboration – and we will pursue a network-based approach to advance and improve our ESG position on an ongoing basis. We are part of the ESG for VC Initiative, which seeks to help funds and their portfolio companies create sustainable value.
Against this background, this policy should be read and understood as an evolving, inclusive and overarching document. In it, we will be setting forth our general ESG commitment, which may be shaped further through dynamic and collaborative processes.
As the policy evolves, we will endeavor to respect the principle of proportionality, i.e. taking due account of the size, nature and scale of our activities, types of funds and stages of our portfolio companies. We will also engage our portfolio companies on a case-by-case basis, as appropriate to the company’s individual situation as well as our own legal, regulatory and tax requirements.
Our full ESG policy is below and can also be downloaded here.
We commit to following this ESG policy within our own organisation, the funds we manage and other partners we cooperate with. At Speedinvest, we have already implemented concrete steps towards more sustainable business operations. For example, we have been carbon-neutral since 2019 and continue to work on capturing, reducing, and offsetting our carbon footprint. We are committed to maintaining these efforts and minimizing Speedinvest’s impact on the environment in other areas going forward.
Since we generally operate as a seed and early-stage investor, the influence we have on portfolio companies through shareholdings of our funds, including influence on sustainability matters, is typically more limited. However, we will make every effort to encourage our portfolio companies to agree with our ESG policy and to commit to pursuing our ESG values. Also, we will strive to work with partners and market participants who implement such values themselves, or who can at least identify with them.
Speedinvest’s aim is to promote sustainable practices throughout our organisation, our funds, and our portfolio companies. To this end, we’re proud to commit to the following values, which will serve as guidelines as we move towards wholly responsible investing and business practices.
How can we become a positive presence in the natural world we live in?
• Minimize environmental impact and encourage environmental consciousness
• Promote the responsible use of resources (e.g., water, energy, natural resources; increase use of remote conferencing to minimize travel; implementation of energy efficient plans, train-first policy)
• Limit consumption of environmentally scarce and non-renewable resources
• Limit production of waste and improve recycling, for example, through active sorting and recycling of office waste
How can we respect the rights, dignity, and well-being of everyone and contribute to a society in which there is equality for all?
• Promote respect of internationally recognized human rights
• Support elimination of child and forced labor
• Promote diversity and equal opportunities
• Zero tolerance against discrimination
• Address customer interests (e.g., health, safety, privacy)
• Respect employees' and contractors’ rights to decent working conditions (e.g., minimum wages, working hours, health and safety and right to collective bargaining)
• Depending on the respective fund’s legal documents, no investments in companies whose business activities consist of certain business practices and sectors, such as illegal economic activities, tobacco, distilled alcohol, weapons and ammunition, casinos, or equivalent enterprises, as well as electronic data programs or solutions that (i) refer to the above activities, internet gambling and online casinos or pornography; or(ii) enable illegal entry into data networks or to download data
• Encourage innovation, promote economic growth and enhance global competitiveness of investee companies
• Encourage portfolio companies to consider their material social issues and respect basic labor rights when conducting their business activities
• Offer regular anti-bias trainings to increase partners’ awareness and sensitivity
How can we operate with integrity and transparency, and remain accountable for our business practices?
• Maintain a strict anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and GDPR policy
• Promote high standards of business ethics
• Provide timely information to limited partners on ESG matters and work to foster transparency regarding their activities
• Create awareness of future regulations in the markets we operate in
Our ESG values are an integral part of each phase of the investment and value creation process, which is why we incorporate them into both the pre-investment and post-investment phases.
In the pre-investment phase, we consider our ESG values as we conduct our due diligence processes. We collect relevant information from potential portfolio companies using a detailed questionnaire and in doing so, we identify and evaluate potential ESG-related value creation opportunities and issues before making an investment decision.
To further assess ESG-related value creation opportunities and issues, and to monitor adherence to our ESG policy, this questionnaire is also issued to portfolio companies during the post-investment phase on an annual basis. This enables us to identify any ESG-related value creation opportunities and issues early and encourage and support actions for improvement. We also apply best efforts when negotiating an investment into a portfolio company, to reach a side letter agreement requiring the portfolio company to notify us on an ad hoc basis if any ESG-related issues become apparent. Furthermore, we organize an onboarding session for each portfolio company during which we discuss with and explain to the management how they could incorporate ESG consideration into their operations.
Specifically addressing social values, we have set up an Equal Opportunity and Inclusion policy, which covers relevant issues both internally and externally with its two pillars: career and investment.Each pillar has two goals, which can be summarized as equal opportunity on the one hand, and health and inclusion on the other. Our aim here is to ensure talented people of all backgrounds have equitable access to career and capital opportunities, and for Speedinvest to achieve its vision of becoming a role model for equal opportunity and inclusion in European venture capital.
We consider ESG factors within our risk management processes prior to and post investment. As required by the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (EU) 2019/2088, we have described and disclosed our processes relating to sustainability risks, as well as adverse impacts on sustainability factors, here.
Our team consists of experienced professionals who are committed to and collectively responsible for our adherence to this ESG policy in all relevant investment decisions and monitoring procedures. Where additional expertise is needed, the team will employ external resources.
Our contact person in responsible investment and ESG-related issues is Cara van Riet. This document was last updated on May 12, 2021.