A new consultancy has recently been launched in Latin America: Granito & Partners. From its base in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and satellite operations in Dubai and London, Granito & Partners will support companies and funds globally with maximising their potential to impact human and sustainable development.
According to the Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends, $6.57 trillion or 18% of total United States assets under management were placed in socially-responsible investments in 2014. This was a 76% increase since 2012. It is against the background of such developments, and a plethora of other similar cases, that across every corner of the globe sustainability is gaining terrain. The movement is reinforced by among other financial, marketing and even talent management considerations – a recent survey conducted by Deloitte showed that 75% of millennials (people born no earlier than 1982) believe businesses are too fixated on their own agendas and not focused enough on helping improve society.
“Every single survey and trend indicates that we are experiencing a gradual shift in corporate orientation whereby the pursuit of financial and commercial returns needs to be aligned with a contribution to societal and environmental improvement. Regardless their motivations, corporations are adjusting their business plans, methods and practices. Granito & Partners was born to advise them on how to maintain their competitiveness in this new environment” says Rodrigo Tavares, the consultancy’s founder and CEO.
Granito & Partners presents itself as a “impact business” company, an umbrella term that comprehends all possible ways for private enterprises to intentionally contribute to solving social and environmental challenges. Impact investing and CSR are part of this comprehensive mandate. Although other consultancy firms have established themselves advising solely on corporate social responsibility or, more recently, on impact investing, Granito & Partners starts off with five practices (corporate finance and strategy, impact investing, CSR, social impact bonds and development research and measurement). The firm’s core team is both trained in finance and economics as well as foreign affairs and sustainability, says Tavares, pointing at high-calibre recruits that have joined from Harvard and Stanford universities.
According to Tavares, “as different companies and funds are equipped in different ways to contribute to a more sustainable society, our firm needed to be comprehensive. We can either work with a large global equity fund or with a national corporation. Our client's practices vary, profits vary but our ultimate purpose is the same – advise them on how to impact without compromising their financial goals.” The firm's first clients are U.S and Brazilian multinational corporations on the biotechnology, infrastructure and retail sectors.
Tavares, who started designing the company while he was a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard, is the former head of foreign affairs at the state government of Sao Paulo. The CEO is also a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness, one of the knowledge networks of the global think tank. Tavares is joined on the Executive Team by three other experienced professionals – Ilton Caldeira (former executive in media industry), Karine Bueno (sustainability expert with experience in banking sector) and Falko Paetzold (expert in sustainable investing).
The London-based operations are led by John Doddrell, who just stepped down as British Consul-General in Sao Paulo and Head of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in Brazil. Doddrell fulfilled the roles for four years, and previously held several positions in the British Government. Mujtaba Hussain heads Dubai office – he previously founded Emirates Legal, a Dubai-based boutique law firm, and worked as a Legal Officer for the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) in Geneva.