Environmental, Social & Governance

ARA Venn is committed to delivering investment performance to its clients in a responsible manner, by considering the environmental, social and governance impacts of our investment decisions

Sustainability

ARA Venn takes an active approach towards sustainability and aims to create real value not only for our investors, but also for the users and communities of the assets we invest in.

We strive to be a responsible investor and believe that the ability to identify, assess and manage Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations promotes sustainability and provides a positive ethical impact on our investments and corporate performance, whilst also benefitting local communities and society at large.

Our commitment towards sustainability is based on a foundation of robust ESG principles across the following two dimensions of behaviour:

  • Our firm and our people;
  • Our investments – strategies, investment selection and monitoring.

Environmental

  • Minimising the impact of ARA Venn’s operations and continually improving its environmental performance, including a commitment to be carbon neutral
  • Compliant ready across all relevant legislation, regulations and appropriate codes of practice
  • Transparency: ARA Venn will foster environmental awareness and understanding in our business and our stakeholders through regular engagement and reporting
  • Extensive due diligence, where relevant/appropriate, to assess the environmental implications of an investment

Social

  • Employee training promoting the awareness and understanding of ESG issues within the business
  • Employee well-being across physical and mental health
  • Job Opportunities: ARA Venn is committed to being an equal opportunities employer and backs this up by aiming to identify candidates from a range of backgrounds in its recruitment process
  • 1-1-1 Model: 1% of each of ARA Venn’s profits and people’s time are given to support community causes, together with a commitment by the firm to be carbon neutral
  • Evaluate the social benefit and community enhancement of an investment

Governance

  • Top down board level responsibility for ESG issues
  • Stringent governance: ARA Venn actively operates a code of ethics and policies for each of anti-money laundering, conflicts of interest, disciplinary and grievance, monitoring, inducements, gifts and anti-bribery, market conduct, personal account dealing and data security
  • Transparency: We will maintain a transparent management structure with robust internal procedures and controls
  • Corporate behaviour: ARA Venn will insist on the highest levels of personal and professional integrity, professionalism, and honesty from its staff
  • Due diligence to assess strength of stakeholders’ corporate governance

We firmly believe that ESG issues will increasingly influence the direction of our business plans, policies and decisions, as well as our engagement with various stakeholders. As part of the wider ARA Group, we benefit from the Group’s already extensive sustainability and ESG initiatives.

A copy of the firm’s ESG policy is available upon request, or alternatively view our Sustainability Report for 2020.

Investment Approach

Our ESG framework is designed around a set of principles that apply across all aspects of the firm’s business, and is tailored to reflect the fact we operate in the private credit sector.

We are committed to delivering investment performance to our clients in a responsible manner and consider ESG factors to be of at least equal importance to other financial metrics when considering investments. The firm’s ESG policy outlines our approach to the investment process including the evaluation of investment strategies, pre-investment considerations and post-investment monitoring.

A comprehensive assessment of ESG factors is therefore an inherent part of our risk management framework and is embedded within the firm’s decision-making and due diligence processes. In addition, and consistent with their individual investment strategies, each underlying business unit has its own methods for incorporating ESG factors into the investment decision-making and monitoring processes.

When considering a potential investment:

We use environmental criteria to assess how it will affect the natural environment, comply with relevant laws and regulations, and assist with the transition to a low carbon economy.
Applying a social set of standards, we evaluate the borrower’s approach to health & safety, labour standards and working conditions as well as the relationships it has with its stakeholders and the surrounding community.
We endeavour to understand the issues of sustainable investment addressed by our investors, and encourage all stakeholders to adhere to the highest level of corporate conduct and governance.

More information on the firm’s investment approach can be found in our ESG policy, a copy of which is available upon request, and within our Sustainability Report for 2020.

1-1-1 Commitment

As part of our ESG policy, we have adopted the 1-1-1 model, which means that 1% of each of our profits and people’s time are given to support community causes, together with a commitment by the firm to be carbon neutral.


Pledge 1% of Time
At least 1% of our people’s time should be spent on community or charitable causes, some examples of which are shown below.

Pledge 1% of Profit
In addition to time spent on charitable endeavours, ARA Venn contributes 1% of its profits to charitable donations.

100% Carbon Neutral
The firm is committed to being carbon neutral by seeking to both reduce and then offset its carbon emissions.

We were recently involved in the following community projects:

On 1st and 2nd July 2021, ARA Europe through both ARA Venn and ARA Dunedin hosted its inaugural cycling event, the ARA Chiltern Classic. Raising over £14,000, ARA and friends cycled some 160kms of inclines and escarpments around the Chilterns Massif to raise much needed funds for Coram, a specialist group of children’s charities, committed to improving the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people. These organisations provide a range of adoption and fostering services, education and early years support, and legal services to families, children and young people, together with training for professionals to develop their own innovation and insight.

On 15th July 2021, we teamed up with Thames 21 to participate in a Thames River Charity Clean-up. 22 team members worked with grit and determination to pick up over two large containers full of rubbish, including hundreds of wet wipes, plastic items, clothing, shoes and other debris. Thames 21 mobilises thousands of volunteers every year to clean and green the capital’s 400-mile network of waterway, which provides a huge benefit to local communities, wildlife and the environment. We were delighted to play our part in helping the environment.

March 2021 saw employees participate in the Race the Thames challenge, a week-long virtual race in which the team worked together to row, run, walk and/or cycle the distance from the source of the Thames to its estuary (343km). A collective distance of 1290km was covered over 166 hours, and over £4500 was raised and shared between the London Youth Rowing and Thames 21 charities.

In December 2020, employees spent the day volunteering with Thames 21, assisting with a project to regenerate the former Royal hunting ground of Enfield Chase by planting new trees along the Salmon’s Brook. Restoring the area’s tree cover reduces the flood risk for local homes and businesses whilst also benefitting the local wildlife. The teams competitive spirit kicked in with over 500 trees being planted throughout the day.

We participated in a scheme to donate old computers and hardware which were recently redistributed to schools in Nigeria. Not only we did donate several items of equipment, we also contributed to the shipping costs.

Employees also volunteered at City Harvest, a charity that collects surplus food from all segments of the food industry and then redistributes it to those that need it the most. Employees spend a busy day sorting through food donations and making deliveries.

In 2019 our employees spent two days clearing rubbish on the beaches of Bournemouth. This not only served the community but was a great bonding exercise for the team.

In October 2019 employees raised over £6,500 in an Apprentice-style challenge to raise funds for Indigo Volunteers, a charity that recruits volunteers and connects them with humanitarian projects across the globe.

Other volunteering projects supported by our employees as part of the firm’s 1% time commitment include:

  • Signing up with Inspiring the Future, a charity which seeks to inspire young people by connecting volunteers with state schools and colleges to talk about their careers
  • Serving food at the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers
  • Assisting Sheen Mount Primary School with the school’s Safeguarding and Pupil Premium Grant Scheme for underprivileged kids
  • Making Christmas box donations through the Young Lives Foundation and Operation Christmas Child
  • Assisting with a conservation project in Leckhampton Hill
  • Participating in the Marie Curie Virtual Brain Game Quiz, which raised over £400,000 to support Marie Curie nurses.

For the financial years 2019, 2020 and 2021, we donated to the following charities:


Our commitment to be Carbon Neutral

ARA Venn recognises the importance of protecting the environment and seeks to minimise the impact of its operations and continually improve its own environmental performance. We are committed to both reducing and offsetting the firm’s carbon footprint. For 2019, we calculated our corporate-level emissions to be approximately 210 tonnes of CO2e which was offset by purchasing carbon credits to support tree planting projects in both the South East of England and the Amazon.

As well as offsetting our own carbon emissions, we actively encourage, and arrange for, our employees to volunteer with community projects that are beneficial to the environment; recent examples of which include a tree planting project at Enfield Chase, a conservation project in Leckhampton Hill and a beach clean-up in Bournemouth.

Responsibility

ARA Venn has established a dedicated ESG committee with responsibility for overseeing and setting the firm’s ESG strategy, which is then approved by the board. The committee meets on a monthly basis and is comprised of management representatives across ARA Venn’s key business units and functions.

ESG issues are a standing item for the agenda of the board. The firm’s current ESG policy was approved by the board in February 2021. A copy of this policy is available upon request, by emailing moc.nnev-aranull@ofni.

ESG within the ARA Group

ARA Venn is part of the ARA Group (“ARA”), a leading Singapore-based APAC real assets fund manager with more than S$110 billion (£62 billion) in gross assets under management as at 30 June 2020. ARA places great emphasis on sustainability, positive community impact and good corporate citizenship, and has well established environmental, social and governance policies which can be viewed at https://www.ara-group.com/esg.

“In 2021 we formally committed to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment, and we also signed the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Building Commitment. These twin pledges demonstrate our commitment to integrating ESG considerations into our investment and asset management activities and decisions.”

Moses Song, Group Chief Executive Officer

Copies of ARA’s annual Sustainability Reports dating back to 2018 are made available on the Investor Relations portal, while the latest report may be viewed by clicking on the image belowto the right. The matrices below highlight some aspects of the ESG initiatives and performance of the ARA Group.

Governance

“Because it takes years to build a reputation and mere minutes to wreck it, we’re always mindful of doing the right thing, even if it takes more time and effort”

Mark Hwang, Head of Group Legal & Compliance

Social

“Our people are our biggest asset. We value everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, creed or age. Only a fair and inclusive culture can drive us forward continually.”

Ng Beng Tiong, Assistant Group CEO, Group Chief Operating Officer

Environmental

“Energy efficiency optimization is never a one-off upgrading exercise. We have to continuously upkeep the systems through proper equipment maintenance and keep a lookout for further improvement by embracing advancing property technology.”

Lucas Tan, Engineering Manager

ESG Roadmap

ARA adopts a holistic approach to embracing sustainability, by adhering to a robust framework of policies and initiatives designed to create an ESG-centric ethos and operating culture that will benefit all stakeholders. Our Sustainability Roadmap identifies specific targets that we expect to achieve annually by 2025 and beyond.

To date, many of our properties under management have attained “green accreditations”, such as 5-Green Star GRESB Ratings, leading to “green financing” arrangements exceeding S$1 billion in 2021. Peer recognition of our sustainability achievements include the Best Sustainable REIT Fund Manager in Asia Pacific and ESG Real Estate Investor of the Year in Asia.

Moreover, we have signed the WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and simultaneously pledged to support the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investing, becoming the first real assets manager in Asia to do so.