I am delighted to write the very first ESG Spotlight end of year review on behalf of the Velox ESG Committee. On joining Velox as Chief Operating Officer in 2018, the inherent passion for practices now widely associated with environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) was immediately evident; this passion aligned strongly with my own. It has been a privilege to witness the evolution of Velox towards these ESG practices, and now, at just over two years later, to report that it thrives and prospers even in such unpredictable times.
Focusing our efforts on long-term, sustainable value creation served as a guiding principle in constructing Velox’s mission statement, core values and commitments - which were all pivotal in directing us to where we are today. In truth, this year’s global pandemic has brought out the best in the Velox team, but perhaps more importantly, it has seen an acceleration in positive change in the wider investment community.
At the centre of Velox and our ESG Committee is Isobel, our CSR Manager, and Saarthak, our ESG Officer. There is a genuine commitment from Isobel, Saarthak and the rest of the Velox team to be better and to do better, and that is something we are very proud of as an organisation and committee. Isobel has led many great initiatives since her appointment, targeting our 5 commitments and educating us on healthier and more thoughtful ways to achieve them. Most notably, Isobel has overseen environmental initiatives through our employee volunteering programme (such as a biodiversity project we worked on with WWT earlier this year), new remote employee health processes, our annual charity partnerships, and additional donations to charities doing key work to help vulnerable individuals during the pandemic.
Saarthak, working alongside the investment team, was pivotal in integrating ESG practices into the investment process, which commenced in January this year (see previous posts on ESG at Velox, our proprietary ViA app and ESG alpha opportunities). Central to this were new partnerships formed with SEB and the UN PRI, the beginning of our fight against climate change, and the launch of our proprietary ESG Traffic Light and ViA applications, which we continue to develop for the benefit of the strategy. Investor feedback on Velox's ESG integration efforts has been extremely positive, key in a year where we have seen ESG investments doing better than most (according to a recent analysis by Morningstar), European regulators and governments taking big steps to accelerate sustainability higher up corporate agendas, and a rapid increase in the significance of “S” as companies seek to reaffirm their public image in response to the year’s events.
As we look forward, the future seems bright and bustling with opportunities. We will continue to adapt and grow the developments of the past 2 years, but also turn our focus to new ideas and partnerships. I am confident that our strong culture and dedication to all stakeholders will place us on solid footing to take advantage of these opportunities. Congratulations to the team and to the committee on all the achievements of this past 2 years.