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How EcoVadis and Bain Aim to Make Supply Chains More Accountable

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As the demand for traceable and verifiable aspects of corporate responsibility and supply chains grows, companies are making the investments those commitments require.

Management consulting firm Bain & Company has made a minority investment in EcoVadis, a provider of business sustainability ratings for global supply chains. The companies said the collaboration will accelerate and deepen both of their offerings for improving the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of their collective clients.

Bain said there’s a growing acknowledgement across the company and the global industries it serves–including consumer products, private equity, energy, finance and technology–that the purpose of business must transcend the singular focus of maximizing shareholder value. Bain will integrate EcoVadis’ sustainability ratings into its approaches to corporate strategy, supply chain and procurement. The companies will also seek to develop a focused approach around specific offerings for financial investors across fund strategy, diligence and post-acquisition.

Bain’s investment, coupled with EcoVadis’ recently secured $200 million investment from CVC Growth Fund II, will enable EcoVadis to scale growth and maximize its impact on supply chains, integrating sustainability into business decision making and corporate performance. The amount of Bain’s investment was not disclosed.

“Recognizing that social and environmental challenges are growing, timelines for addressing them are contracting and companies are moving quickly to adapt, Bain & Company is committed to our mission of creating value–economic, social and environmental–for our clients,” Jenny Davis-Peccoud, co-head of Bain & Company’s global sustainability & corporate responsibility practice, said.

Pierre-Francois Thaler, co-CEO and co-founder of EcoVadis, said the investment from Bain represents another substantial milestone for EcoVadis and “is a strong testament to the value and business-critical role that sustainability plays in today’s market.

“We continue to see executives from all over the world share bold plans for sustainability and ESG transformation,” Thaler said. “Collaborating with Bain & Company and CVC equips us to reach, enable and impact more organizations and communities globally.”

Bain and EcoVadis are not alone in deepening their sustainability investments. VF Corp. this week said it will begin offering $542.7 million in unsecured senior notes to investors, with the goal of financing projects “designed to contribute” to select Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations. The projects include investments in categories such as packaging solutions and energy efficiency of the company’s operations and supply chain.

EcoVadis’ sustainability scorecards provide detailed insight into environmental, social and ethical risks across 198 purchasing categories and 155 countries. There are more than 60,000 businesses on the EcoVadis network, working to assess, collaborate and improve sustainability performance in order to protect their brands, foster transparency and innovation, and accelerate growth.

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