The Role of Private Equity in Social & Sustainable Development

Arbor Square Associates partnered with The Young Foundation to undertake the 2007/8 BVCA Chairman's Research looking at the opportunities for venture capital and private equity firms in relation to issues of sustainability, social investment and philanthropy.

The opportunity

Within the private equity community, a significant amount of often 'below-the-radar' involvement in a range of sustainability, social investment and philanthropic initiatives already takes place. However, there is also a broad view within the industry that these issues will only grow to be of greater significance over the coming years. This reflects the shifting corporate landscape, where these issues have moved firmly onto the agenda.

Mapping the spectrum of activity

The research included both undertaking an on-line straw poll of BVCA members to establish the depth of private equity firms' current engagement with issues of sustainability and philanthropy and how they believe this will change in the future. The main part of the study included a qualitative survey of over 60 practitioners from private equity houses, social investment firms, and other third sector organisations involved in facilitating corporate philanthropy programmes.

A roadmap for the future

Much of what private equity firms are already doing in terms of sustainability and philanthropy is not widely known about or acknowledged. However, there is a desire by many private equity firms to get more engaged, and more overtly so. Our report provides a digest of examples of what private equity firms are already doing, and a wealth of further examples of other organisations and initiatives that provides case studies and models for those private equity firms looking for ways to make the greatest impact and to engage in areas that have a particular resonance with the 'private equity model'.

The survey revealed the following:

Like to know more?

To find out more about this project or projects like this, please contact Neil Sackett or Hazel Clapham at Arbor Square: +44 (0) 20 7096 5019 +44 (0) 20 7096 5018