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To promote and drive the discussion on gender diversity at Apheon, we joined Level 20 in 2022. Level 20 is a non-profit organization founded in the UK in 2015 with the aim to improve gender diversity in the private equity industry through several specific initiatives, such as networking events and mentoring programs.
Level 20 has “chapters” located in the IJK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the Nordic countries, therefore covering all Apheon’s core locations. Apheon’s female employees have enrolled in the program. As an active member, Apheon was instrumental in the opening of the Belgian chapter in 2022.
As a private equity manager, we acknowledge the importance of exchanging best practices with our peers. Since 2016, we have been an active member of Invest Europe, the association representing Europe’s private equity, venture capital and infrastructure sectors, as well as their investors.
As of 2023, Apheon has been part of Invest Europe’s ESG working group, to promote responsible investment practices and the consideration of ESG issues amongst members and the broader private equity community.
Initially launched by a collective of French private equity firms in 2015, ICI members share a commitment to reducing carbon emissions of private equity-backed companies.
Through knowledge share, experience and best practice, we work together with our peers to develop resources that Will help standardize practices across the industry.
Apheon became a signatory in 2023.
Our manifesto: contributing to the development of sustainable finance
Apheon’s ambition is to contribute to the development of sustainable finance by placing sustainability at the core of its strategy and demonstrating by example that it delivers higher and better value for portfolio companies and investors.
We are convinced that businesses that respect the planet, that look after their employees and that support their communities will in turn attract the best talent, differentiate themselves from their competition and ultimately emerge as the strongest in the future.
A holistic and collective approach
To succeed with this strategy, Apheon believes a holistic and collective approach is fundamental.
Holistic: it is essential that all aspects of ESG are equally and continuously supported. This is why we are active at every stage of the investment cycle by applying proprietarily developed methodologies and initiatives which are built on 5 priorities covering the broad ESG spectrum:
• Carbon (environment): reducing emissions
• Talent (social): creating a positive working environment which will attract, develop and retain the best talent
• Youth, diversity and inclusion (societal): fostering a more inclusive society
• Transparency (governance): reporting on metrics transparently, and being transparent on potential obstacles
Collective: we believe that it is only through collective action that we can create significant impact. This is why it is our intention to pull together Apheon’s entire ecosystem to undertake our ESG initiatives. This includes mobilizing our employees, portfolio companies, investors, external experts, charitable organizations, public institutions and peers.
At this time of global transition, we believe that sustainable finance plays a key role in advancing towards a sustainable planet and society. Financial players, in particular private equity firms such as Apheon, are in a position to drive forward action by leveraging their business model of transforming companies. Apheon is keen to play such role and to move forward every day with humility but also conviction.
Our investors play a vital role within our ecosystem. They bring extensive knowledge and have insights into different frameworks from the broader industry. Constant and open dialogue with them enables us to exchange ideas and learn from each other. We enrich our ESG initiatives with their input and feedback.
Whenever possible, our investors also participate in Apheon’s ESG initiatives such as our annual Apheon Challenge or our Apheon Career Workshops, which we host for students, in order to strengthen collective impact.
Our portfolio companies are at the heart of our sustainability strategy. It is through their actions that we believe we can generate the greatest positive impact for the planet and society. We work with them tirelessly to support all aspects of their ESG journeys, from setting the agenda, to establishing key KPIs and implementing ESG methodologies and initiatives.
Each and every company is an active participant on this sustainability journey, and we engage across all levels from management teams through to employees in different parts of the organization.
We are a team of professionals located in seven offices across Europe — Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Milan, Madrid and Luxembourg — and who contributes collectively to Apheon’s sustainability initiatives.
Our sustainability team and Sustainability Committee
Apheon’s sustainability strategy is led by Patrick Gavoty, Managing Director at Apheon, who was appointed Head of Sustainability in 2021. Patrick is responsible for defining our approach to sustainability and supervising ESG initiatives at a portfolio level across all our companies, as well as at a corporate level across all of Apheon’s offices.
Patrick works within Apheon’s Sustainability Committee, which he is a member of along with four other individuals: Wolfgang de Limburg (Managing Partner), Riccardo Collini (Partner), John Mansvelt (CFO, AIFM Conducting Officer) and Agnés Audier (Senior Advisor). The Committee meets on a quarterly basis to discuss ongoing projects.
Our in-house foundation, Apheon Philanthropy, its Board and Juries
To channel its efforts and boost impact on society, Apheon launched its in-house foundation, Apheon Philanthropy, in 2020 under the umbrella of the King Baudouin Foundation.
Apheon Philanthropy focuses on providing financial support to youth-related projects throughout Europe, focusing more specifically on education, equal opportunities and well-being. The foundation is governed by a Board, which is made up of the five members of the Sustainability Committee as well as two youths who must be in the process of pursuing tertiary studies (each who hold the position for a period of one year, renewable one time). As a foundation active in the youth sector, we believe it is important to invite students to the table to share their personal experiences and points of View The Board meets every quarter and decides on the allocation of the foundation’s funds to various projects.
Assisting Apheon Philanthropy’s Board are five independent Juries, one in each of Apheon’s core locations (Benelux, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) which were set up in 2022, and each which comprise of a junior professional from Apheon, a representative student from an organization supported by the foundation and an external student. The Juries operate under the supervision of Florentin Thévenet (Apheon’s Risk & Compliance, AIFM Conducting Officer). Together, these 15 young individuals assist the Board in identifying charitable organizations across Europe and monitor progress on the allocated grants. They bring diversity from a geographical, generational, social and gender standpoint.
Our internal Climate Task Force
As carbon and climate is one of Apheon’s key priorities, in 2023 Apheon set up an internal climate taskforce made up of one member from each of Apheon’s core locations: Alessia Negri (Italy), Herbert Vanden Eynde (Benelux), Sebastian Walter (Germany), Adrien Hautefeuille (France) and Pablo Marín (Spain).
The mission of the Climate Task Force is to closely monitor the progress on the carbon reductions in portfolio companies and deliberate and provide feedback on how Apheon can better tackle climate-related issues.