Former OC&C consultant in Board of Circle Economy

30 September 2015

Martijn Lopes Cardozo, a former consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants, has joined the Board of Directors of Circle Economy, a social organisation that stimulates the implementation of circular economy around the world.

Founded in 2012 in the Netherlands, the Circle Economy has in the past three years grown to one of the leading international enterprises that accelerates the transition towards a circular economy. From its base in Amsterdam the 20-man strong team among others conducts research on circular economy topics, creates awareness through marketing and media exposure and supports firms with embracing the phenomenon, through for instance the sharing of best practices and connecting organisations with experts and service providers.

To reflect the Circle Economy’s growing footprint, the organisation has decided to add two new members to the Board of Directors, joining founder Robert-Jan van Ogtrop and Herman Wijffels. As of September 21, Louise Vet and Martijn Lopes Cardozo have joined the Board, bringing their expertise from the world of science and the world of startups, respectively, to the leadership platform.

Circle Economy

Martijn Lopes Cardozo started his career in 1996 with OC&C Strategy Consultants, a global management consultancy, where he contributed to a variety of assignments in the Netherlands, UK and France. After three years with the consulting firm Lopes Cardozo moved into the industry, and since held management roles with among others Ericsson, as well as Dutch media firms DTG and TMG. In his current role, he serves as CEO of Black Bear, a producer of carbon black from end-of-life tires for the tire, rubber and paint industry. Besides his corporate functions, Lopes Cardozo has a track record as a serial entrepreneur, being part of several successful exits in Europe and the US, and serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Yes!Delft, where he advises and supports a wide variety of start-ups including many in the clean-tech space.

Lopes Cardozo: “As a board member I want to challenge other companies to join the circular future. At the same time, in my experience as an entrepreneur, I understand the challenges and great opportunities that exist for the Circle Economy team. I look forward to applying my expertise to Circle Economy in order to help the team achieve even greater impact.”

Martijn Lopes Cardozo, Louise Vet, Robert Jan van Ogtrop, Herman Wijffels, Andy Ridley

Louise Vet, Director of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and professor in Evolutionary Ecology at Wageningen University, has been named as the fourth Board member. Andy Ridley, CEO of Circle Economy, reflects on the new joiners: “We are proud to welcome two such experienced and visionary professionals. We are very fortunate to have them on our side as Circle Economy focuses ever more strongly on implementing practical and scalable solutions for the circular economy.”

Looking forward, Circle Economy anticipates the need for a fifth board member to realise on its “ambitious goals”, says Ridley, with the new executive expected to be announced early 2016.


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.