BlackRock’s eFront joins forces with Apex on ESG data

ESG Outreach has collaborated with Apex Group to provide GPs with a combined ESG data collection and advisory service.

BlackRock subsidiary eFront has teamed up with Apex Group to provide “an efficient and accurate global data collection and advisory service to support GPs and their LPs”.

The partnership, which allows private market participants to combine Apex Group’s ESG advisory platform with eFront’s ESG Outreach solution, joins a growing number of participants in the race to standardise ESG reporting and data.

Apex launched its ESG platform in 2019 to help GPs collect and quantify portfolio company ESG data. The platform is supported by a team of ESG analysts to guide companies, verify their data and advise on ESG performance. Separately, eFront’s Outreach product was launched in 2021 as an extension of its existing private markets data product, eFront Insights, to provide a reporting framework that aligns with existing reporting initiatives.

The partnership aims to “further accelerate” the standardisation of ESG data within private markets following a “strong adoption of ESG Outreach”, Melissa Ferraz, head of eFront Insight said in a statement. The solution is available to more than 2,500 GPs reaching over 70,000 private companies in the eFront Insight network, the firm reported earlier this year.

At the same time, the collaboration aims to address the growing demand for more “rigorous” and “efficient” ESG data reporting, Andrew Pitts-Tucker, managing director, ESG at Apex Group, told New Private Markets.

“At present, LPs and GPs are not getting enough relevant insight from their ESG portfolio data. This is where we help; to provide GPs and their portfolio companies with support to collect, analyse and improve the ESG metrics, that are fully aligned with the data requirements of eFront’s ESG Insights platform.”

What distinguishes the offering from other ESG data collection and reporting services, is its ability to provide “both LP and GP with the data and report outputs they require, with the knowledge that a rigorous approach has been applied to data collection and analysis”, Pitts-Tucker explained.

“eFront’s platform is very much an LP service and typically these investors can be a few steps removed from the portfolio companies. We support the GPs to collect, analyse and report data collected directly from the portfolio companies – data that can then be used not only to report upwards to LPs via eFront Insights, but also to generate positive and impactful roadmaps for improvement,” Pitts-Tucker said.