The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Partners Group promotes ethical business practices and compliance

Partners Group is a global private markets investment manager serving over 900 institutional investors, with USD 94 billion in assets under management and more than 1,400 professionals across 20 offices worldwide. Partners Group recognises that in its industry, reputation and trust are of utmost importance  Tweet This! and, since its inception, has strived to cultivate a strong culture of ethics throughout the firm to make sure clients’ interests are always at the forefront of Partners Group’s activities.

This case study is based on the 2019 Corporate Sustainability Report by Partners Group published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Partners Group is committed to preserving its high legal, ethical and moral standards and seeks to foster and encourage a culture of strict compliance with both local and international laws and regulations. In order to promote ethical business practices and compliance Partners Group took action to:

  • implement a Code of Conduct
  • invest in technology to promote legal and regulatory compliance
  • increase tax transparency

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Corporate Sustainability Report Partners Group identified a range of material issues, such as financial performance, corporate governance and risk management, human capital development. Among these, promoting ethical business practices and compliance stands out as a key material issue for Partners Group.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards                        

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Partners Group engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics Partners Group engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Shareholders ·      Ongoing shareholder meetings

·      Semi-annual reporting

·      Annual General Meeting

Clients & beneficiaries

 

 

 

·      Ongoing client meetings

·      Ongoing updates via My Partners Group App & My Partners Group Portal

·      Daily, monthly or quarterly reporting

·      Annual General Meeting

·      Partners Group Academy workshops

·      ESG webinars

Portfolio companies

 

·      ESG on-boarding

·      Annual ESG KPI survey

·      Ongoing proprietary ESG operational improvement projects

·      ESG workshops

·      Incident reporting tool

·      PRIMERA Insight

Financial partners ·      Annual Partners Conference
Employees

 

 

 

·      Partners Group Intranet

·      Partners Group People employee portal

·      Bi-weekly Partners Group Forum

·      Annual performance and development reviews

·      Ongoing training and mentoring programmes

Regulatory bodies

 

·      Regulatory examinations and visits

·      Recurring audits

·      Ongoing reporting obligations

What actions were taken by Partners Group to promote ethical business practices and compliance?

In its 2019 Corporate Sustainability Report Partners Group reports that it took the following actions for promoting ethical business practices and compliance:

  • Implementing a Code of Conduct
  • Partners Group’s Code of Conduct summarises the key directives, policies, practices and values, including anti-corruption policies, which enable Partners Group to maintain high standards of business conduct. To make sure all employees are fully aware of the contents of the directives it summarises, Partners Group conducts targeted training and education sessions on those directives. On an annual basis, all employees globally, including all members of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee, are required to take and pass a number of online compliance training programmes to ensure these documents have been thoroughly understood.
  • Investing in technology to promote legal and regulatory compliance
  • In 2019, Partners Group’s Compliance team further invested in technology to enhance its services and support Partners Group’s growth. The team implemented a machine learning tool for reviewing the securities trading reports all employee are required to submit on a quarterly basis, and a new International Marketing Controls application. The application gathers data on international marketing activities from a range of sources, analyses it and flags potential issues for review, enabling the team to perform their monitoring and review activities in a more efficient and scalable manner. Additionally, following the introduction of a new online learning management system in 2018, the Compliance team continued to enhance the system in order to make Partners Group’s annual group-wide compliance training programme more user-friendly for employees. This included adding further audio and video support to the programme and providing an in-depth, interactive breakdown of Partners Group’s policies and directives. The new system also enabled the team to launch more frequent and personalised trainings throughout the year, specifically tailored to an employee’s function and jurisdiction.
  • Increasing tax transparency
  • In accordance with its Code of Conduct and its Charter, Partners Group seeks to act as a good corporate citizen, paying the correct amount of tax at the correct time. Partners Group aims to do this by making sure that it manages and reports its tax affairs in a manner that safeguards compliance with international tax guidelines and all applicable tax laws and obligations in each country in which Partners Group In order to further increase transparency on this matter, in 2019 Partners Group published its group-wide Tax Policy, explaining Partners Group’s approach to tax, tax governance and risk management, tax compliance, and its relationship with tax authorities.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Partners Group, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Partners Group: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.