United by Difference – Concentric’s ESG initiative

Opinion 24.10.2021

United by Difference – Concentric’s ESG initiative

Concentric believes that technology is an inherently impactful sector, delivering net productivity gains for the economy as a whole, while empowering individuals from any background to build businesses that improve the lives of their stakeholders. That said, much more can be done to embrace diversity of thought within the tech community, and pay closer attention to broader environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors when making investment and stewardship decisions. In fact, the management of ESG issues is a critical part of ensuring the long-term success of any business today.

We believe in building better teams through fostering diversity of thought and background. We preach an activist ownership approach to managing our portfolio businesses, providing hands on support and guidance, so as to benefit all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders, as well as the wider community. In our view, positive impact lies in empowering small and medium sized founder-led technology-enabled companies to create jobs, support local communities and business ecosystems, and contribute towards improving the net productivity of their sector/vertical as a whole.

We seek to adhere to the following set of principles:

  • A “Do no Harm” approach: this involves reviewing the broader context of an investment and mitigating potential negative effects on the social fabric, economy and environment;
  • Concentric expects portfolio companies to comply with relevant environmental, corporate governance and human rights laws and regulations;
  • We ourselves adhere to Invest Europe’s ESG Guidelines incorporated in its Professional Standards / Code of Conduct.
  • A commitment to invest in products and services that, as a consequence of innovation and democratisation of delivery, boost standards of living and create wealth on a net basis;
  • To consciously treat people equally, and provide the same opportunities both within our own team and when investing, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, disability, religion, belief and/or age;
  • To strive towards achieving a diversity of thought and foster self-expression within our team and our portfolio companies, in reflection of our motto “united by difference”;
  • Concentric also supports The Founders Pledge and we encourage our team members and the founders of our portfolio companies to sign up to donating a portion of their personal proceeds upon liquidity to charity;

We are increasingly focused on supporting the mental wellbeing of founders, with research showing that entrepreneurs are more susceptible to mental health conditions than non-entrepreneurs, due to the long hours, pressure and unpredictability they frequently endure. Whilst our ‘activist venture’ approach fosters open communication and support to help minimise these issues, we are also in the process of writing a clause on mandatory investment into portfolio teams’ mental health and personal development to be included in our standard-form investment term sheet. We are also planning to make available a directory of trusted resources and service providers, to encourage a more open and constructive approach to discussing and tackling mental health issues in startups.

This is our ‘opening shot’ at addressing ESG considerations within Concentric and our portfolio and is by no means a finished product. Over the coming months we will provide further insight into our thinking around this topic and will keep iterating our approach as we learn more.