B Corp Q + A
B Corp Q&A with Nikhita Mistry, Sustainability Executive and Steph Wall, Sustainability Director
We’re facing a humanitarian and environmental crisis on planet earth. Businesses can’t just wait for government and policy change; they need to act now and act fast to ensure a sustainable future for the next generation.
B Corporations lead the global movement towards an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy by meeting high social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency standards. We received our B Corp certification last year and are proud to be one of over 6,300 companies going above and beyond to balance purpose and profit.
We spoke to Palatine’s sustainability team, Nikhita Mistry and Steph Wall, to hear all about it:
What does it mean for Palatine to be a B Corp?
Steph: At Palatine, we believe that private equity can be a force for good when you do the right thing with the right people. We call it ‘positive equity’, and it underpins everything we do. It’s a belief that aligns with the B Corp community’s aims, so becoming accredited has been a long-term aspiration for the whole team.
For over a decade, we’ve focused on driving positive outcomes across our portfolio to scale ESG performance of our portfolio companies to achieve positive impacts on society, the environment and the economy alike, so obtaining an externally assessed and approved accolade via the B Lab and joining the B Corp community is another example of how we are remaining at the forefront of sustainable investment across the market.
We’re always looking for new ways to progress our sustainability performance and continually improve our ESG framework. Being part of the B Corp community allows us to learn from and collaborate with other like-minded businesses.
How are B Corps making business a force for good?
Nikhita: To become a B Corp, businesses must achieve a B Impact Assessment score of 80+, verified through the evaluation and verification process. This assessment ensures each B Corp has a high social and environmental performance. Each business must then make the B Impact Assessment report public to ensure complete transparency with its customers. Importantly, every B Corp must also make a legal commitment to consider its impact on all its stakeholders, now and in the future, by binding it into legal documents. For most companies, this involves an amendment to the Articles of Association, for us, we committed to consider our stakeholders in our LLP agreement.
B Corps must also recertify every three years, which ensures each business is committed to continuous improvement. We’re excited to work with the B Corp community and are confident we can achieve an even higher score in three years.
Why should businesses consider becoming a B Corp?
Steph: We encourage all businesses, big or small, to consider becoming a B Corp, and it’s definitely something we are looking at across our portfolio. There are numerous benefits to becoming accredited, including the following:
- Positioning your business as a leader in creating an economic system that benefits all people, communities and the planet
- Attracting and retaining more motivated and diverse talent
- Formalising best practices, breaking down silos and fostering innovation
- Building trust with customers, communities and suppliers
- Ensuring your business has a roadmap for continuous improvement
Since becoming a B Corp, what has Palatine achieved?
Nikhita: Through the certification process, we have made several changes to positively affect social and environmental matters across the business; these include:
- Better employee benefits, such as an electric company car scheme and a birthday benefit.
- A carbon footprint assessment, including scope three, enabling us to offset 150% of our emissions and develop a carbon reduction plan.
- A structured charity-giving process which created a common goal to work towards. All team members helped to decide what charitable activities we engaged in and to whom we donated.
- A formalised sustainable supply chain policy
- The introduction of an Inclusion and Diversity working group that formalised an I&D policy and working strategy.
What areas highlighted in the B Impact Assessment are Palatine hoping to address in the next 12 months?
Nikhita: We don’t rest on our laurels; our plans going forwards are just as ambitious as ever.
We have launched our sustainability strategy, which considers the pillars of B Corp, with three overarching aims supported by challenging targets. This will ensure that we’re able to improve our B Corp score in three years and continue to be pioneers in sustainable investing. We will use our privileged position to influence our portfolio, collaborate with our network and engage with the industry for collective action. A priority for us is emissions reductions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. And through our I&D strategy, we are building on our inclusive culture through enhanced recruitment practices and training, to achieve a more diverse workforce.
We must remember: our greatest impact comes from our work with our portfolio. This year we will continue to support management teams in carbon reduction, enhancing inclusion and diversity and enabling all employees across our funds to flourish.