As we begin to emerge from our hibernation caused by the global pandemic, there is a growing call for a sustainable recovery, to ‘build back better’ and to create a more inclusive and diverse society. We recognise that when faced with material business disruption, particularly if it is on the unprecedented scale caused by the coronavirus pandemic, management focus within a company understandably tends to move to the short-term. However, improvements in business resilience and long-term growth post the pandemic will likely only be achieved through the adoption of more sustainable and resilient business practices.
Foresight has a long history of sustainable investing, focusing on small to medium enterprises (SMEs) alongside a large and growing renewable energy infrastructure portfolio. Acting conscientiously and investing responsibly is critical to the long-term success of our business, the investments we make and, we believe, society as a whole. We call it investing for a smarter future. With a portfolio of more than 100 SMEs, we have seen that those companies that embrace the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda have been more resilient through recent months, to the benefit of their employees, shareholders and the local communities in which they operate.
At Foresight, we have adopted a bespoke approach towards achieving our sustainability goals, applying a practical, qualitative and quantitative ESG evaluation methodology that is applied rigorously for the duration of our involvement with our portfolio companies. As a result, they are often more efficient, have a positive impact on their stakeholders as well as building long-term equity value for their shareholders. They also benefit from a more engaged workforce and closer ties to their local communities.
Our ambition with the £100 million Foresight East of England Fund is to create a leading regional provider of equity funding to support the management of local companies. With female, black and other ethnic minority-led businesses still facing barriers to accessing capital, and limited opportunities for those from varied educational backgrounds to pursue a career in the industry, Foresight is committed to improving access for all. As a long-term investment partner, Foresight will continue to play its part in enabling financial inclusion and supporting the needs of growing local businesses.
Rodney Appiah, Private Equity Director
First published in the Cambridge Independent on 22/07/2020