By Kirk Hourdajian, Project Manager, Corporate Partnerships Program, Environmental Defense Fund
In a post I wrote on EDF’s Innovation Exchange blog last week, I identified some of the challenges and opportunities we are addressing in our work with private equity firms that are working to adopt sound environmental management strategies across their portfolios.
In order to address these challenges while creating lasting environmental change in the private equity (PE) sector, we are pursuing a three-pronged outreach strategy, consisting of:
1. Targeted outreach: Reaching out directly to leading PE firms to demonstrate the business and reputational value of environmental management and to provide tools and resources for implementing environmental management programs.
2. Capacity building: Exploring innovative ways to engage PE sector service providers (including management consultants, accounting firms and software developers) to build the infrastructure needed for widespread adoption and implementation of environmental management as an industry best practice.
3. Community engagement: Building excitement and engagement within the broader PE community (e.g., Limited Partners, trade associations, academia, media) to promote environmental management as a strategy for improving operations and building value.
We have teamed up with the human-centered design firm, IDEO, to create a suite of stakeholder engagement resources for our work with PE. IDEO’s focus “lies at the intersection of insight and inspiration, and is informed by business, technology and culture,” which is a natural fit with EDF’s approach to finding innovative solutions to environmental problems through transformative business partnerships.
The resources designed by IDEO will help us in our three-pronged approach by:
- Educating key stakeholders about the role environmental management can play in operating more efficient companies and creating business value for investors;
- Inspiring stakeholders to take action;
- Catalyzing change by providing an accessible framework that allows PE firms and their portfolio companies to take action.
With IDEO’s track record of transforming markets and business through innovative design solutions, we are confident that together we can transform the PE sector.
We will continue to write about the progress of these stakeholder resources and are eager to share with you the fruits of our collaboration with this world-class design firm.