Stafford Capital Partners
# RepRisk interviews Dr. Silva Dezelan ESG Director at Stafford Capital Partners
# March 2022
1. RepRisk: Please provide some insight into your specific role at Stafford Capital Partners (Stafford) and the work that you and your team do.
Silva Dezelan: In my role as ESG Director I work with our Private Equity, Infrastructure, Timberland, and Agriculture & Food business lines, and facilitate ESG integration in our investments. In other words, we develop tools, organize knowledge sessions, and design processes for ESG due diligence, monitoring, and engagement with fund managers, and ESG reporting to clients. In addition, I chair the Sustainability Committee which oversees the implementation of our Responsible Investment Policy and represent Stafford in different industry initiatives, such as the UN PRI, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, and Invest Europe’s Responsible Investment Roundtable. Furthermore, I cooperate with our HR, Compliance, IT, Fund Operations, and Client Solutions teams to incorporate sustainability in our internal operations.
Stafford has a long history in responsible and sustainable investing, which has been supported by its business lines from its beginning in 2000. When I joined as part of the former Robeco Private Equity team in May 2020, I was the first dedicated ESG specialist coordinating the various initiatives across the group. Last year, we hired an ESG analyst, and this continued expansion nicely reflects not just the increasing importance of responsible investing and ESG integration within Stafford, but also broadly in the investment world and in society as such. This trend will only strengthen in the future.
2. RR: What are Stafford’s priorities for responsible investment and ESG integration, and how do those manifest in your processes?
SD: The first principle of the UN PRI on the integration of ESG analysis in each stage of our investment process and reporting remains our priority. We strive to improve our ESG due diligence, the monitoring of external managers and underlying investments, and enhance our ESG engagement with external fund managers whose funds we have invested in.
The quality and consistency of ESG data we use in our investment process and reporting is another priority. Demand from institutional investors around the world and greater regulatory requirements in many jurisdictions will continue to drive improvements in ESG data in the future.
Next to the assessment and monitoring of ESG risks in our portfolios, we also assess the contribution of our investment portfolios to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As this kind of information is not readily available for our investee companies and assets, we have built a proprietary tool to monitor their contribution and we aim to enrich the tool with more quantitative data going forward.
Finally, we aim to contribute to the transition to the Net Zero Carbon World through the portfolios we manage. We have committed to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative in 2021 and we are currently translating this commitment into specific targets and activities across our business lines.
3. RR: Stafford has been a client of RepRisk since June 2020, but you have been working with RepRisk data since 2015 via Robeco. How are the aforementioned processes informed by RepRisk ESG risk data and how does the data add value?