Anthesis Consulting Group raises £500,000 to support expansion

29 November 2016

Anthesis Consulting Group has sourced £500,000 in financial backing from UK-based Capital for Colleagues. The deal, part of efforts to raise £1.3 million, bolsters the firm’s war chest, from which it aims to further its organic and inorganic growth strategy.

Founded in 2013, Anthesis Consulting Group is a specialist consultancy guided by the principle that sustainability and commercial success are not mutually exclusive. The firm helps clients meet compliance targets as well as support making sustainability a core concern of the business lifecycle. Anthesis is headquartered in the San Francisco, and has additional offices in the UK, Germany, the Middle East, and the Philippines.

Anthesis recently announced that it has secured a £500,000 investment from Capital for Colleagues, a UK-based private equity firm targeting employee owned business (EOB).

Anthesis Consulting Group raises £500,000 in backing from Capital for Colleagues

The deal is part of wider fundraising effort by the firm, for a total of £1.3 million, for which it has tapped its employees and existing investors – as well as additional sources from traditional investors – to help it boost its organic and inorganic growth strategy going forward. The £500,000 investment includes a subscribed £350,000 for ordinary shares and a loan of £150,000 to Anthesis.

The company has enjoyed rapid growth since its inception, now operating in more than 7 countries across the globe. That growth has in part been groomed inorganically: the firm has acquired ten companies since its founding – most recently acquiring Sustain and, earlier this year, Mosaic Sustainability.

John Eckersley, Chief Executive of Capital for Colleagues, says, “We are delighted to be able to support Anthesis as it raises additional finance to continue its international expansion. Encouraging employee ownership as a cornerstone of its buy-and-build strategy means that Anthesis already has significant employee participation and we are investing alongside those stakeholders in this round. The scale of Anthesis’ operations and ambitions is a further demonstration of the breadth of opportunities available in the EOB sector, which we believe can continue to be a driver of economic growth, despite current uncertainties.”

Earlier this month Ecofys, another large sustainability consultancy, was acquired by US firm Navigant.


Private equity firms ramp up sustainability focus

19 April 2019

In line with business leaders across the industrial gamut, private equity firms are increasingly on board with sustainability projects. According to a new study, the investment arms for major funds are implementing a number of strategies aimed at supporting sustainable economic development in line with global goals.

While the business world has finally begun to acknowledge the danger of climate change, effective action plans remain difficult to achieve. The Paris Agreement has stipulated a clear target for the decades leading up to 2100, although massively reducing emissions while not crashing the economy could be a tall order.

Businesses that are able to acquire capital can use it to boost productivity and output, thereby creating a virtuous cycle of development. However, some businesses are better able to utilise resources than others, both in terms of their relative productivity, as well as the value of the respective outcomes relative to costs (including environmental harms). Financing can therefore provide an avenue to select businesses that are aligned with various global sustainability goals, while shunning those that drive little or unsustainable social value creation.

Top moves made by investment arms towards responsible investment

Profit has for the longest time been the central criterion for investment decisions. Yet profit at any cost is increasingly seen as creating considerable social harms, while often delivering only marginal value. As a result, the private equity sector, which was initially sluggish to change its ways with regards to sustainability, has started to see the topic as an opportunity as much as a challenge.

A new study from PwC has explored how far sustainability goals have become part of the wider investment strategy for private equity (PE) firms. The report is based on analysis of a survey of 162 firms and includes responses from 145 general partners and 38 limited partners.

Maturing sustainability

Top-line results show that responsible investment has become an issue for 91% of respondents. For 81% of respondents, ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) was a board matter at least once a year, while 60% said that they already have implemented measures to address human rights issues. Two-thirds have identified and prioritised Sustainable Development goals that are relevant to their investment segments.

Change in concern and action on climate-related topics over time

While there is increasing concern around key issues, from human rights protections to environmental and biodiversity protection, the study finds there are mismatches between concern and action. For instance, concern among investment vehicles around climate change has increased since 2016.

In terms of risks to the PE firm itself, concern has increased from 46% of respondents in 2016 to 58% in the latest survey. However, the number who have taken action remains far below those concerned, at 9% in 2016 and 20% in 2019. Given the relatively broader scope of investment opportunities, portfolio companies face higher risks – and more concern – from PE professionals, at 83% in the latest survey. However, action is less than half of those concerned, at 31%.

Changing climate

In terms of the climate footprint of the portfolio companies, 77% of respondents state concern in the latest survey. 28% of respondents are taking action through the implementation of measures to mitigate their concerns.

Concern and action taken on ESG issues

In terms of the more pressing issues for emerging responsible investment or ESG issues, governance concern of portfolio companies comes in at number one (92% of respondents), while 60% have taken action on it. Firms have focused on improving awareness – setting up policies and a range of training modules for their professionals around responsible investment decision making. Cybersecurity takes the number two spot, with 89% concerned and 41% implementing strategies to mitigate risks.

Climate risks take the number three spot in terms of concern for portfolio companies (83%), but falls behind in terms of action (31%). Health and safety track records are a key concern at 80% of businesses, with 49% implementing action. Gender imbalance within PE firms themselves ranks at 78%, which is being dealt with by 31%. A recent survey from Oliver Wyman showed that there is gender balance at 13% of GP teams in developed countries.

Biodiversity is also an increasingly pertinent topic, with risks from pollution and chemical use increasingly driving wider systematic risks around environmental outcomes. It featured at number eight on the ranking of most likely global risks for the coming decade, with its impact at number six. As it stands, biodiversity is noted as an issue at 57% of firms, with 15% implementing action.