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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Featured Pathways

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

Ready to get started?

PLANS & MEMBERSHIP

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

More featured content

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started?

Environment and Governance at VC Fund Operations

Environment and Governance at VC Fund Operations

Hannah Leach

ESG and VC specialist

Sustainability and governance have been growing in prominence in the VC industry, which means that VC’s must now focus on managing and reducing their emissions and promoting good practice for governance. Where do you start? Join Hannah Leach as she walks you through these issues.

Sustainability and governance have been growing in prominence in the VC industry, which means that VC’s must now focus on managing and reducing their emissions and promoting good practice for governance. Where do you start? Join Hannah Leach as she walks you through these issues.

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Environment and Governance at VC Fund Operations

7 mins 46 secs

Key learning objectives:

  • Identify ways VCs can manage environmental impact

  • Outline how VCs can achieve good governance

  • Understand the importance of reporting

Overview:

It is important for VCs to track, manage and report their carbon footprint. This is to set an example and lead by doing, to learn the process and gain practical insight into the processes that they are asking their portfolio companies to adhere to. This can include limits on air travel and promoting environmentally-conscious behaviour. Achieving good governance can be split into two steps - learning what best practice governance involves and promoting transparency.

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Summary

How can VCs manage their environmental impact? 

It is important for VCs to track, manage and report their carbon footprint. This is to set an example and lead by doing, to learn the process and gain practical insight into the processes that they are asking their portfolio companies to adhere to.

The main sources of carbon emissions for a VC fund are travel such as: business flights, daily commutes, office space (including energy usage and waste along with food supplies, and hosted events). Identifying and analysing this footprint is step one. 

A VC fund can then begin to understand where the biggest impact lies, how best to manage and reduce their footprint and what targets to set for themselves. 

  • Common practices include:
  • Limits on air travel
  • Taking trains where possible
  • Switching to a green energy provider in the office
  • Promoting more environmentally-conscious behaviour within the team (e.g. introducing meat-free days and cycle-to-work schemes)

How can VCs achieve good governance? 

As a model, venture capital doesn’t necessarily promote good corporate governance – it is private, organised in opaque partnerships and has always promoted rule-breaking and contrarian behaviour. Furthermore, teams are often small and lacking in the relevant resources, capacity and knowledge of what good corporate governance means.

1. VC funds should make efforts to understand what best practice looks like. VC funds should know who their limited partners are, which includes carrying out robust due-diligence on prospective LPs, establishing thorough anti-money laundering and anti-corruption processes for the fund, checking proof of identity and carrying out PEP and sanction-screens. 

2. Transparency is a key tenet of strong governance, and VC funds should consider how this applies to them. This could be around making voting rights in the investment committee transparent (i.e. how investment decisions are considered and made) or how carry is allocated across the fund. 

Why is reporting so important? 

ESG is often understood as another reporting exercise. It is important to note who it is that you are communicating with in the ongoing reporting of your ESG activity and performance. The required reporting for VC funds on ESG will initially be driven in a big way by regulation (e.g. ESG vs. SFDR in Europe) and LP requirements. There are currently no accepted standards, including well-known standard setters such as the Institutional Limited Partners Association (ILPA), or the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), although the arrival of these standards is imminent. There will be metrics which LPs won’t ask for, but which are nevertheless important to capture, monitor and report back to your team on. Doing this enhances accountability, forces one to confront those areas where things might not be working well, and encourages a cycle of improvement. Fund managers should consider preparing an annual ESG report. 

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Hannah Leach

Hannah Leach

Hannah Leach is a partner at the venture firm Houghton Street Ventures and co-founder of VentureESG, a global non-profit initiative whose aim is to drive forward the adoption of ESG practices in the venture capital industry. VentureESG provides VC funds with the knowledge, tools and peer support to be able to implement more robust ESG practices across their operations and end-to-end investment process. Hannah started her career in international development and has since spent the majority of the last decade working with companies to design and launch new products and services.

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