In this section, we provide commentary and detailed information on 3i's approach to to being a repsonsible company in a range of different areas:

  • The environment;
  • Health and safety;
  • Community and social enterprise;
  • Transparency

 

ESG at 3i

We endeavour to minimise our impact, wherever possible, and have established procedures to reduce our environmental footprint. In London, where the majority of our employees are based, the carbon intensity per employee has reduced by 57% compared with the previous year. Our procedures include powering off lights, computers and other equipment during evenings and weekends, recycling office waste, and rationalising business travel through a set of clear guidelines.

In the year to 31 March 2013, our reported emissions were 2000.29 tCO2e. 3i has reduced total carbon emissions by 951.87 tCO2e compared to the year to 31 March 2012, a reduction of 32%. This significant reduction in emissions can be attributed principally to the overall reduction in staff numbers during the year, a reduction in business travel,  closure of offices and rationalisation of services in the Palace Street office. The chart below details the breakdown of emissions by source for the year to 31 March 2013.

Summary carbon footprint

Total emissions
(tCO2e)

Energy (gas)1

0.10

Energy (electricity)1

406.25

Business travel2

1593.94

Total

2000.29

1 UK office only.

3i employees attach importance to working for a company which acts responsibly on environmental matters. Since the beginning of 2013, our Palace Street office has taken part in a sustainability project in conjunction with our landlords, Land Securities, and Planet First, an organisation which supports businesses in improving their sustainability performance.  The programme has a different focus each month, covering the environmental impacts of how we source our food, consume water and energy in our buildings and use transport.

3i is proud to achieve The Planet Mark in partnership with Eden Project, working together to improve our sustainability performance.  Achieving The Planet Mark is an international recognition of the highest sustainability standards.

About The Planet Mark

The Planet Mark is a trusted international mark for businesses, buildings and products, helping organisations to improve their environmental, social and related economic performance.

 

Promotion of health and safety at work is an essential responsibility of managers and staff at all levels, as is working safely. 

At 3i, we ensure staff can go about their everyday business at 3i's offices safely and without risks to their health. We have a good record and our high standards of health and safety apply to all our employees, visitors, clients and contractors.

The key objectives of our Health and Safety policy are:

  • to identify, evaluate and control risks
  • to maintain our health and safety management systems
  • to ensure all incidents are reported and investigated in a timely manner
  • to set annual objectives and targets 
  • to ensure that 3i employees are informed of and engaged in the process of improving health and safety. 

We have redesigned our workstation training and assessment software, making it more interactive and relevant to employees. All new employees are asked to complete the training and assessment programme. 

For more information about health and safety at 3i please contact healthandsafety@3i.com

Community

We focus our charitable activities on the disadvantaged, on young people and on education. Charities are supported on the basis of their effectiveness and impact.

Our charitable giving for the year to 31 March 2013 totalled £198,000. We match employees' fundraising and in the UK we promote the Give As You Earn scheme, administered by the Charities Aid Foundation.

The Passage

The Passage, which is based very near to our London office, has a high impact on the local community. 3i funds The Passage’s education, training and employment department, which provides homeless and insecurely housed people with support to find a way back into employment and explore training and educational options.

 

Enterprise Education Trust

Enterprise Education Trust was founded by 3i 35 years ago and we have supported the charity as it has grown and developed. The Trust focuses on improving the financial literacy of 16 to 19 year olds, raising their aspirations and attainment levels, with a particular focus on business, preparing them for further and higher education, training and employment, and promoting links between schools and businesses.

 

Community Links

Community Links is based in Newham, one of the most deprived boroughs in London. Community Links provides ‘early action’ work, which includes running youth clubs and safe play areas through to providing advice on debt, welfare benefits, form filling etc. It also carries out specialist intervention work when people are experiencing severe problems such as exclusion from school and prolonged periods of unemployment.

 

Historic Royal Palaces 

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. 3i helps fund the Outreach and Community Involvement team, in Kensington Palace, which works with the local community to engage them in activities in and around Kensington Palace. Despite Kensington & Chelsea being one of the wealthiest boroughs in the UK, it also contains pockets of substantial deprivation. The team engages with the local community in a number of ways, including illustrated talks, storytelling and practical workshops and works with a variety of groups including elderly people, young people not in education, employment or training, children from disadvantaged backgrounds and the disabled. It also provides the use of community rooms within the palace for local groups to develop their own activities.

 

National Youth Orchestra 

For over 65 years, the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain has worked to make the potential of Britain’s musical teenagers a reality, inspiring the careers of many of our greatest conductors, composers and performers. Training with top professional musicians and performing in the country’s finest concert halls under the world’s leading conductors, gives young musicians an experience of excellence that has lasting, transformational power.

Being a member of the NYO enables the 165 teenagers, from diverse backgrounds across the country, to develop as confident and imaginative leaders who take responsibility and inspire other young people through performances and creative workshops.

 

Social enterprise

3i is proud to be a founding investor in Bridges Ventures, a privately owned UK venture capital company with a social mission. Bridges Ventures

Bridges was founded in 2002 and has since made equity investments totalling over £77 million in 35 businesses employing 1,693 people, almost 240 of whom came out of unemployment.

In December 2011, 3i invested £5 million into Bridges Ventures Fund III bringing 3i’s total commitment to over £7 million.

 

Give As You Earn

In the UK, we promote the Give As You Earn scheme, administered by the Charities Aid Foundation.

 

Fundraising events

3i has a policy of matching the amount raised by UK staff through sponsorship by family and friends of their fundraising efforts for UK registered charities.

 

Benchmarking 

3i has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (“DJSI”) since 2002 and has been reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project (an independent not-for-profit organisation working to drive greenhouse gas emissions reduction and sustainable water use by businesses and cities) for the last seven years.

3i is subject to both regulated disclosure requirements and also to the high expectations for transparency. We firmly believe that transparency is crucial for building trust, and we take a proactive approach to communicating both financial and non-financial performance.

3i's approach to transparency has been encouraged and reinforced by the benefits we believe that we derive from having a good track record on this very important issue. Long before becoming a public company, 3i's annual reports went beyond what was required from a legal perspective. Since listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1994, we have also aimed to be amongst the best in our peer group, whether our peers are other listed companies or private equity firms. From surveys of investors, press comment and the numerous awards acknowledging our efforts in this area, we feel this has been an important element in 3i's differentiation.

The Walker review

In 2007, in response to the growing debate about the role of private equity in the UK, the British Venture Capital Association (“BVCA”) suggested a review to examine ways in which levels of disclosure in companies backed by the UK private equity industry could be improved.

The review was led by Sir David Walker, the highly-respected City figure, who consulted widely and invited representations from within the private equity industry, with interested parties and among other financial institutions, pension funds and the investment community, as well as more broadly with portfolio companies, trade unions and employer representatives. 3i actively supported the review, with involvement from the Chairman and Group Communications Director.

3i also endorsed the voluntary code which resulted in the "Guidelines for Disclosure and Transparency in Private Equity", which was published in November 2007.

Sir David Walker's recommendations with respect to reporting for private equity firms and their relevant portfolio companies were on a "comply or explain" basis. An overview of the guidelines together with the second annual review of conformity with the guidelines at December 2009 can be found at www.walker-gmg.co.uk.

Our track record

Transparency with our portfolio

From first meeting to realisation, we aim to take an open and straightforward approach to doing business with our portfolio companies. Board membership combined with our active partnership style of investing provides numerous opportunities for communication and feedback with our portfolio. Events held for the management teams of our portfolio companies provide additional occasions to interact with a wide range of 3i staff.

Transparency with shareholders and investors in the funds we manage or advise

We aim to provide investors in 3i Group plc, and all of the funds we manage or advise with the highest standards of communications. We do this in many ways including our Investor Relations section of the website and regular investor meetings, as well as through the various other forms of interaction that take place, including the Annual General Meeting and occasional investor days, corporate governance days and other such forums.

Transparency with the media

3i has taken a very open approach to dealing with the press. The news section of our website was specifically designed for journalists.

Transparency with our staff

We believe that it is important to keep our staff well informed about what 3i is doing. As we have a relatively small number of employees, we are able to achieve this through a combination of using efficient web-based tools, such as our online portal, and individual or team based discussions.