Over the last 2.5 years the Panarchy Team have shared with you how we review a company’s approach to stakeholders as highlighted in their sustainability disclosures. In the interest of transparency, I believe it’s important to share how we as Panarchy Partners, a company operate as a stakeholder focused business as well.
We expect our portfolio companies to meet the highest standards of stewardship of financial, human, social and environmental capital, and from day one we have also held those standards for ourselves. While we are not perfect, and we are still learning, we are proud of walking the talk. In this month’s ARCUS our Partnership and Stewardship Panvestor, Davina Ho, provides a summary of our efforts and impact in the last 18 months which is highlighted in our Stewardship and Sustainability report.
Our First Home
It’s been 3 years since we as a team sat together for our first stakeholder engagement in 2018, when we were in the nascent stages of setting up Panarchy Partners. So much has changed since we began. From moving offices to expanding the team, but one thing has not changed and that is our commitment to our mission, ‘Be The Change You Want To Create.’
Being implies an embodiment of something and for us that is PURPOSE.
“Together With Capital Owners and Users
We Aim For A Better Future For The World.”
Our entire team embodies this purpose through everything we do on a daily basis.
The most surprising result of our stakeholder engagement that we conducted in early 2021 was the lack of awareness about our Foundation which is why I’m sharing it first and foremost. It is the glue that holds the team together and keeps us committed to our purpose. The Panarchy Foundation was established on day one, funded by 50% of our net performance fees from the fund to support what we deem ‘the voiceless’ – causes supporting Children, Animals and Earth. While small in its impact now, it is a huge motivating factor for the team who each year propose charitable causes to the Panarchy Foundation’s board. In 2020 we are pleased to have supported The Orangutan Foundation in Indonesia.
Another way we embody our purpose is by becoming a certified B Corporation, a target that we wanted to achieve from day one and hugely rewarding for the team. This signals to all of our stakeholders that we are serious about being stewards for change and working together with sustainability change-makers that inspire us.
Ultimately, as Panvestors we also fulfil our ambitions by investing and partnering with companies that are Purpose driven. Ie. creating positive impact on their stakeholders. We believe that this will result in sustainable returns.
Results From Our Stakeholder Engagement
In January 2021 we reached out to our stakeholders which include our Panvestors, portfolio companies, employees and the wider eco-system of partners we have, to find out what they think our most pressing issues are and what we should be focussing on.
Following our stakeholder engagement, the team established the top ten material issues for us as a business which can be seen in our materiality matrix below across the four forms of capital. From this we created 10 S.M.A.R.T. targets that we aim to deliver and report on in the coming years which are summarised in the report. As a funds management company it will not surprise you that the topics related to financial capital are the most crucial to the success of our operations. However, we would not be able to do that without our people and partners which remain the heart and soul of Panarchy Partners.
Our Internship Program
Quality education is one of the 3 SDGs that we as a firm are trying to impact positively. A key pillar to achieving this is via our internship program that has been the beacon of light during the last few years. We’ve had 28 interns passionate about sustainability join us in the last 3 years that have taught us as much as we’ve shared with them. These young individuals have come from the local universities SMU, NTU and NUS as well as Durham, Cambridge, Duke and Cornell to name a few.
One thing that differentiates us from other fund managers, is that we don’t require our interns to be studying economics, finance or business (although some do). In fact, we encourage intern applicants from all fields and have had students from music, computer science, environmental engineering and marketing join us. It’s this diversity of thought that allows us to learn from them, particularly when they do their own personal projects on topics. We have had teach-ins from them on the vegan meat market, sustainable real estate certifications and preventing food waste with plastic packaging – many of them can be found our website.
“Interning at Panarchy has opened my eyes to the many different ways in which the word ‘sustainability' can be interpreted. It has been fascinating to see the creativity with which leading companies tackle the various sustainability issues that are relevant to them and inspiring to see that the Panarchy team are so committed in their search for these genuinely leading companies.”
Hari Kukreja, University of Cambridge
Stewards of Purpose
Another group of exceptional individuals we learn from our are our Stewards of Purpose, a non-investment board that we established in 2020 that advise us on the four forms of capital and provide us thought leadership and expertise in the four forms of capital. They help to keep us aligned on our purpose as well as up-to-date on the topics they’re experts in. For example, Melissa Low who’s a Research Fellow at NUS and sits in with the Singapore delegation for the COP meetings keeps us on top of all things related to environmental capital.
“Environmental capital is crucially important for businesses in an increasingly carbon-constrained world. The environment matters and ESG has gained importance among investors, policy makers and key stakeholders because it is seen as a way to safeguard businesses from present and future risks.”
This brings me to our stewardship of Environmental Capital, and our commitment to net zero. Climate change has had the largest amount of focus amongst sustainable finance professionals and it’s about time! The IPCC’s sixth assessment concluded indisputably that climate change is accelerating and that human activities are the source of the problem (see our recent ARCUS). Our biggest contribution to climate protection as a business will come from the stewardship of climate related issues through our portfolio companies. You may be surprised that we have not made any net zero commitments yet. We believe that we should take a more measured approach to better understand the opportunities and constraints for companies in delivering their climate targets before we can deliver on a portfolio wide commitment. This is an issue that we take very seriously and are currently assessing the appropriate course of action. We hope to share this with our stakeholders in due course. Conclusion We have a long way to go as Panvestors to deliver on our purpose, but I hope this report provides you with a better look at how we operate as a business and aim to deliver impact. In 2022, we will be spending more time analysing the delivery of net zero targets from our portfolio companies and our portfolio impact measurements on all forms of capital which we will share in future editions of ARCUS. I also hope that we can spend more time meeting with you and other Panvestors at events such as our Global Panvest® Forum which we have had to postpone twice due to Covid-19. And finally, continuing to build the sustainability eco-system here in Singapore and further afield – if you do have ideas on how we can do that together, please get in touch with me. This email is too short to share everything from the report, you can read the full version here.
Kindest, Davina, Partnership and Stewardship Panvestor