Based on the sectors Oakley primarily invests in, and using industry best practice as well as deep sector experience, we have identified the ESG topics which are most often relevant to our investments.
This is our starting point when assessing ESG during due diligence, when engaging with our portfolio companies, and when defining our firm-wide ESG priorities.
The materiality of ESG themes is assessed based on the likelihood a risk or opportunity will be realised, and the financial, reputational, and regulatory impact it will have on the business and wider stakeholders.
Our responsible investment process
The Sustainability Team collaborates with the Investment Team and provides support to company management throughout this process.
Oakley has defined three portfolio-wide ESG priorities
1. Energy and climate change
2. Diversity, equality and inclusion
3. Cybersecurity and data protection
Our ESG universe
Oakley focuses on investing in technology, education and consumer businesses, as such we have very limited exposure to controversial sectors.
We would not consider investments in weapons, tobacco or pornography – these exposures are not a part of Oakley’s universe. Ultimately, our investment committee approves or excludes potential investments, and ensures it is aligned with the moral compass of Oakley. The committee members are briefed on the ESG profile of prospects and take this into account in their decision making.
As we took steps to formalise our ESG approach in 2020, one of the first things we did was develop and map out our ESG universe, to better understand where our sectors and operations sit on the ESG spectrum.
We recognise that ESG affects all business in different ways, and that there is great variety in how ESG topics will affect, and in turn, be managed, by individual companies.
Oakley does not invest in any extractive businesses or heavy industry, which appear to the right of the scale, where ESG topics have high relevance to these businesses. Nor are we passive, minority investors in very small businesses, where ESG may be a lesser consideration. Within all the areas and businesses that are open to investment, Oakley’s core sectors – technology, education, and consumer - tend to sit in the middle of the scale with regard to ESG relevance. Our investments tend to be asset light, especially in technology and education.
Initiative Climat International
Oakley joined the Initiative Climat International (iCI) in August 2021. Supported by the UNPRI, the iCI is a collaborative network of UK and global private equity firms working together to tackle climate change within our industry.
Oakley is a member of the Regulatory Working Group, which seeks to help provide clarity and guidance to private equity firms on related climate regulations, such as the implementation of the Taskforce for Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
iCI members seek to foster collaboration and accelerate the private equity industry’s move towards a more sustainable future through the following three commitments:
- We recognise that climate change will have adverse effects on the global economy, which presents both risks and opportunities for investments.
- We will join forces to contribute to the objective of the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming to well-below 2 degrees Celsius and in pursuit of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- We will actively engage with portfolio companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to an overall improvement in sustainability performance.
Oakley has long been a member of Invest Europe, the world’s largest association of private capital providers.
In 2021, Oakley joined the Responsible Investment Roundtable, a permanent forum dedicated to responsible investment and ESG within the private equity industry in Europe. In addition, Oakley joined the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulations (SFDR) Working Group, which aims to liaise with policy makers on the development of the regulation and help members understand how SFDR will impact their operations.
Oakley was also appointed to the Invest Europe Sustainable Finance Working Group; this group reports to the Invest Europe Board and is tasked with helping shape the organisation’s approach to sustainability.
Oakley has been an active member and sponsor of Level20, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving gender diversity in the European private equity industry.
Oakley is supportive of the organisation’s ambition for women to hold 20% of senior positions within our dynamic industry. Oakley works with Level20 on mentoring and development programs, events, and research.
Principles for Responsible Investment
We are committed to investing responsibly and have been a signatory to the United Nations sponsored Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and its Six Principles, since 2016.
The Principles, as outlined below, have been incorporated into Oakley’s business processes and practices.
- Incorporating ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes;
- Being active owners and incorporating ESG issues into ownership policies and practices;
- Seeking appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which investments are completed;
- Promoting acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry;
- Working together to enhance effectiveness in implementing the!principles; and
- Reporting on our activities and progress towards implementing the principles.