30 Big Ideas Shaping ESG: Tech

Tech offers rich possibilities for ESG innovation with the importance of remote working thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic.

The technology charter

Gaia Capital Partners

The challenge: How to provide a framework for sustainable investment in tech.

The approach: The French growth equity GP’s framework for sustainable investing in tech makes explicit the need to consider ethical, social, environmental, human rights and governance questions. The result is the Responsible Investment in Technology Charter, which includes metrics and guidelines governing tech impacts and potential improvements to business models and practices. The open-source tool, which can be used by both investors and companies, provides fresh momentum to changing behaviour within this sector.

Gaia Capital says: “We find that tech executives are particularly keen to address issues of responsible innovation.”

We say: A reminder that technology is a worthy area for ESG analysis.

Digital monitoring of employee wellbeing

Partners Group

The challenge: Increasing the wellbeing of staff working in remote locations.

The approach: The Swiss-based firm’s portfolio company USIC deploys 9,000 field technicians across the US, working largely alone in sometimes high-risk environments, to locate and maintain critical infrastructure. To better protect employees and boost job satisfaction, the business developed and integrated a software upgrade into its core field technology that allows supervisors to better track employees’ wellbeing through a simple check-in process. The software also optimises routing. The initiative eliminated over one-third of all motor vehicle accidents and the rate of injuries in the field fell by nearly 50 percent.

Partners Group says: “Partners Group is harnessing innovation to increase employee retention, protect employee health and safety, and reduce the company’s carbon emissions.”

We say: Absenteeism, working while ill and burnout are issues that any responsible employer needs to take seriously.