The importance of ESG within the Elaia Family

Elaia
Elaia
Nov 18 · 6 min read

At Elaia, we back our portfolio companies in facing tomorrow’s challenges and we are convinced that our intention of complying with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criterias help them succeed.

We believe in a more innovative future and we want it to be sustainable and socially inclusive. Business law is already clearly pushing for more positive impact deals: these non-financial factors are part of the evaluation analysis conducted by investors to identify long-term growth opportunities.

Who cares wins”, as the ex UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in 2005.

We consider these criteria as true assets that make startups more valuable and worthy to be backed in the long run.

Elaia’s Portfolio Companies Making a Difference

Mapping of the Elaia portfolio companies according to the SDG.

Currently, over 35% of Elaia’s portfolio companies directly and indirectly answer to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These 17 goals are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, which provides a shared blueprint for prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. They are an urgent call for action by all countries that recognize that ending deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth — all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our planet.

Even before we decided to integrate ESG practices in our investment procedure and long-term support to our portfolio companies, many of them naturally included ESG principles as their guiding stars. We will present a non-exhaustive list of illustrative examples from the Elaia family for the Environmental, Social and Governance pillars.

Environmental pillar

This includes the contribution of a company to lower its carbon footprint through, for instance, carbon assessment, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, waste and resource management, water and energy efficiency.

The majority of our portfolio companies already have initiatives in place to reuse and/or reduce waste, are in the process of implementing new environmental initiatives, monitor and limit flight travel, use a green cloud or have implemented initiatives around reducing the main inputs consumption.

On top of that, we are proud to have a portfolio company that is in the process of becoming B-Corp: Armis — we’ll go into more details below.

Some virtuous examples from our portfolio:

Armis’ and Pili’s positive impact can be resumed by the SDG # 7, 11, 12 & 13

Armis is on a mission to help retailers defend a positive impact on the planet as well as a more human approach of commerce. Armis is an AI-powered SaaS platform that enables retailers to generate shop-centric omnichannel sales to promote local foot traffic. Shoppers can be within close distance to purchase, reducing the use of harmful methods of transportation and promoting local shops to boost the local economy. The impact of Armis on climate change is 45 times less than that of paper for an equivalent campaign and saves 8000 tons of CO2. In addition, Armis gives businesses tools to reclaim their online business against Amazon and defend a more human approach of commerce.

Pili reduces colors’ environmental impact

Pili produces renewable bio-based dyes and pigments that don’t harm the planet. Today, 99% of colors are produced with fossil fuels and corrosive chemicals which harm human health and the environment. Pili’s sustainable alternative uses fermentation to break down renewable plant based matter into dyes. Their technology can reduce CO2 emissions by 5 to 10 times and reduce water consumption by 5.

Social pillar

This pillar of the ESG principles looks at the responsibility that companies have vis-à-vis their employees as well as their impact on society — for instance in terms of working conditions, labour rights and diversity.

Our portfolio companies employed over 2500 people in 2020. The majority of the Elaia family members implemented initiatives for gender equality and are monitoring pay gaps.

A couple of exemplary companies in this sector within our portfolio:

MyC’s and Ornikar’s positive impact can be resumed by the SDG # 3, 4 & 8

Ornikar makes driving licence more “affordable”. Ornikar is an online driving school, a marketplace that connects teachers and students, and a car insurance company. It revolutionizes the driving licence process with the aim of allowing more and more people to afford a driving licence, which is often essential to have a job and thus grant economic growth.

Here are a couple of numbers to make it clearer and more read: getting a driving licence in France was worth more than 2000€. Thanks to Ornikar, it down to 1200€ and over 1.5 million candidates have obtained their drivers licence.

MyC manages companies’ workforce health. It enables medical staff to take care of their patients while company managers access insights through anonymous real-time data and predictive analysis. Thanks to MyC, workers’ health is monitored and analysed in real time by healthcare professionals. This assures employees’ well-being and at the same time reassures their managers about their employees’ safety, which is not only a duty but a necessity to strengthen the sustainability and productivity of a company.

Governance pillar

This last pillar refers to a set of rules and principles that define rights, responsibilities and expectations among different stakeholders in the governance of a company. It can serve as a control mechanism in relation to bribery and corruption, executive remuneration, shareholders’ voting possibilities and internal control.

We believe that fair governance provides long-term benefits for shareholders, employees and the society as a whole. One way of ensuring this is to focus on increasing transparency and openness in contacts between the company and shareholders on issues such as board composition and shareholder rights.

A couple of virtuous examples in governance within the Elaia family:

SeqOne Genomics’ and Flash Therapeutics’ positive impact can be resumed by the SDG # 5, 8 & 10

Flash Therapeutics embraces a strong innovative and collaborative culture. The company, founded and managed by Pascale Bouillé PhD, is committed to ethical behaviour, collective spirit, excellence and responsibility. Flash Therapeutics is composed of 65% of women, including at the top level of management (CEO and CFO for example), and 35% of men. The company believes in an effective and transparent governance to foster their stakeholders’ confidence in its organisation and guidance.

SeqOne counts on the power of teamwork and collaboration to materialize the vision of genomic medicine for all. Their young and multidisciplinary team defines itself by four values: patient first, bioinformatic excellence, cooperation and team motivation.

Despite being a team of about 20 people, they reached a perfect gender equality among the members of their executive committee. Moreover, they have formalised anti-corruption and ethics policies, as well as a responsible procurement charter. SeqOne has implemented initiatives to manage and mitigate its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) risks and it assesses the ESG profile and performances of its suppliers.

Lastly, in order to secure their employees’ privacy and data, they put in place specific procedures to protect personal or sensitive data and defined a security policy for its information system.

Interested in learning more about our portfolio companies? Have a look at other startups that create disruptive and responsible solutions here:

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