Founding principles and values
At the heart of Ardian’s culture lies a commitment to responsibly create enduring value. Our role as a long-term shareholder is to foster growth that is both sustainable and shared by all stakeholders. This means involving employees during all stages of the investment process both within Ardian and in portfolio companies as well as underlying funds. This concept of sharing is key for Dominique Senequier CEO of Ardian, and it is under her leadership in 2008 that Ardian launched a pioneering initiative in the Private Equity industry: Profit Sharing. This initiative has led Ardian’s investment teams to share a portion of capital gains at exit with all employees of the portfolio companies, whenever possible, and has proved to be a great success.
FORMAL COMMITMENT TO UNPRI
Following this initiative, Ardian decided to formalize an extensive approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by developing an internal CSR Charter and signing the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in 2009, and was one of the first signatories from Private Equity.
These Principles urge investors to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, into their decision-making and recognize the positive effects these issues have on investment performance. To date, 1,500 organizations have signed the Principles. Together, they manage 60 trillion US dollars, which represents more than half of all globally managed assets.
ACTIVE MEMBER OF A RESPONSIBLE ECONOMY
Ardian is an active member of the PRI community and regularly participates in initiatives to develop and promote key guidance for ESG integration within the private equity sector. In addition to the PRI, Ardian adheres to the ethical principles and rules of other organizations of which it is a member: Invest Europe, AFIC, AFG, and ILPA. In 2015, Ardian was one of the five founding members to launch the Initiative Carbone 2020, which ambitions to measure and to reduce the carbon footprint of portfolio companies by 2020.
This active membership implies a wider commitment of responsibility and has pushed Ardian to develop ever increasing standards of reporting not only to our clients but also to the community in general. Ardian believes that transparency is the foundation of long term partnerships and is committed to complying with the highest standards of reporting whether it be through investor management reports, PRI annual transparency reports providing information at Ardian level, fund level and portfolio company level, when applicable.
The wide variety of activities at Ardian necessitates a structured approach based on internationally recognized guidelines as provided by the PRI, active collaboration with stakeholders within the industry but also a specific organization model within Ardian.
CSR ORGANIZATION WITHIN ARDIAN
Driven by a deep and shared conviction within the whole firm and direct involvement of the top management to lead the agenda, CSR organization within Ardian relies on a tailored model to fit our specific business philosophy, dedicated resources and time.
The organization of ESG at Ardian mobilizes resources from top management coupled with commitment and dedication of internal and external resources.
The CSR Committee is composed of top management representatives from the investment teams but also support functions, they meet quarterly and provide key inputs for the global CSR and ESG strategy at Ardian.
The CSR Officer is ultimately responsible for developing and implementing the strategy and plays a central role coordinating internal and external resources with the help of the CSR team. In recent years Ardian has sought to empower and provide more concrete guidance to investment teams though dedicated training conducted by ESG experts.
AMBITION, PRAGMATISM, RECOGNITION
Since 2009, Ardian has sought to extend ESG integration to the whole range of investment activities but also to adopt a tailored, materiality based approach, taking into account particularities of each activity. For example, for direct funds, ESG reviews for portfolio companies is carried out annually by external consultants, for funds of funds activities, Ardian has established an annual ESG monitoring survey for GPs.
In practice, Ardian ambitions to keep up with the highest ESG standards in its investment practices as we are convinced it will improve the company’s performance in the long run: both reducing risks and improving management practices of portfolio companies and funds, as well as making Ardian a more responsible shareholder and employer.