Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Private equity firms adopt responsible investment guidelines

The Private Equity Council, a group representing 13 heavy-hitters in the private equity world, has agreed to adopt a set of responsible investment guidelines that they will apply before investing in companies and during ownership.

The guidelines cover environmental, health, safety, labour, governance and social issues and follow a series of talks between council members and a group of the world’s major institutional investors, all under the umbrella of the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

“Private equity is all about investing for growth and maximizing returns to our investors. To accomplish that today requires considering a range of environmental, governance, human capital, and social issues,” said Private Equity Council president Douglas Lowenstein. “Today’s announcement explicitly and formally affirms PEC members’ commitment to fully integrating these responsible investment guidelines into both our pre-investment and post-investment processes.”

“We signed onto PRI because we believe that encouraging policies and practices that help create a better society for this and future generations is an excellent way to maximize our investment returns,” said Ted Eliopoulous, Interim Chief Investment Officer of the California Public Employees Retirement Systems, which is a limited partner in many PEC members’ funds.

Under the terms of the guidelines, PEC members will consider environmental, public health, safety and social issues associated with target companies when evaluating whether to invest, as well as during the period of ownership. Members will also seek to improve the companies in which they invest for long-term sustainability and to benefit multiple stakeholders on environmental and social governance issues.

Council members are: Apax Partners; Apollo Global Management LLC; Bain Capital Partners; the Blackstone Group; the Carlyle Group; Hellman & Friedman LLC; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.; Madison Dearborn Partners; Permira; Providence Equity Partners; Silver Lake, THL Partners; and TPG Capital (formerly Texas Pacific Group).

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