Blackstone hires sustainable data specialist to lead private equity ESG

Amisha Parekh previously led ESG data acquisition and curation efforts at Bloomberg’s professional services group.

Amisha Parekh

Blackstone has recruited Amisha Parekh (pictured), a former sustainability data specialist at Bloomberg’s professional services group, as the firm’s new global head of ESG for private equity.

Parekh has joined as a managing director and will lead ESG integration efforts within its private equity group, according to a statement released by Blackstone. She will be a “critical partner” in helping to deliver Blackstone’s ESG commitments, which Joseph Baratta, the firm’s global head of private equity, described in the statement as “imperative to delivering value”.

During Parekh’s four years at Bloomberg, she helped launch the organisation’s sustainable finance product offering and led ESG data acquisition and curation efforts. She previously developed corporate sustainability and operational improvement strategies as a senior manager at Deloitte.

Parekh’s hire is part of Blackstone’s efforts to bolster its ESG credentials, as an increasing number of investors seek asset managers committed to making investments viewed as sustainable and beneficial to communities and the environment.

In April, the firm announced four new ESG-related hires, as well as an internal promotion to strengthen its staff’s sustainable investing experience. It also informed chief executives of portfolio companies within its private equity group of new quarterly reporting requirements – an initiative its real estate group implemented in 2019. At around the same time, Alison Fenton-Willock stepped down from her role as the firm’s global head of ESG to join KKR’s senior ESG management team.

The firm also added a global head of diversity, equity and inclusion in June when it hired former attorney Devin Glenn as a managing director, after 15 years at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. And in July, Blackstone agreed to acquire Sphera, a Chicago-based ESG software, data and consulting services provider, for $1.4 billion from private equity firm Genstar Capital.

Christine Anderson, Blackstone’s global head of external relations, cautioned during a panel discussion last month that firms must “think really carefully about every statement” made about ESG processes and integration and to “document as you go” to back up those statements with facts and data.

“If you’re coming up with a bold, new, innovative approach, you really have to document what you’re doing, how you’ll get there,” Anderson said. “The more [ESG] is knitted into our core business functions, where we have longstanding compliance functions and whatnot, I think all of this will become very natural over time.”