Another subplot within the ESG story rolls on; investment into the sustainable investing ecosystem. EcoVadis, a provider of sustainability ratings, has raised $500 million in a funding round led by private equity firm Astorg and BeyondNetZero, the climate-focused arm of General Atlantic. Singaporean sovereign fund GIC and technology investment firm Princeville Capital also participated in the round. With this investment, the company has, it says, become a “sustainability unicorn”.
Providers of ESG-related services have proved irresistable to private equity investors, who see the tailwind of the sustainability mega-trend spurring high growth in the niche. Often they have the additional comfort of having experienced the product first-hand as clients, as is the case with this latest investment. “Astorg has been the first private equity client of EcoVadis, using its services to assess and measure our portfolio companies’ ESG performance and to raise sustainability-linked financing,” said Benoit Ficheur, partner at Astorg, in a statement.
The demand for actionable ESG data from limited partners is now supplemented by regulatory pressure to gather and report “extra-financial” data. “We continue to experience record demand as more companies are empowered to integrate the planet and society into their business operations,” said the co-founder and co-CEO of EcoVadis, Frédéric Trinel.
EcoVadis was established in Paris in 2007 and provides sustainability ratings, benchmarks, carbon action tools and other forms of ESG intelligence to the likes of Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, BASF and JPMorgan. The latest funding round follows an investment of around $200 million from CVC Capital Partners’ growth fund back in January 2020.
- Read more about the explosive demand for ESG data provision, and the concurrent private equity interest, here.