For Immediate Release
Opportunity for Middle-Market Private Equity Firms to Improve Financial and Operational Performance at Portfolio Companies through ESG Initiatives
New York, NY – Oct. 9, 2012
Oak Hill Capital Partners (Oak Hill Capital), a leading private equity firm, and the non-profit group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) are working together to integrate environmental metrics with core business strategies to improve the financial and operational performance of middle-market portfolio companies.
Oak Hill Capital and EDF have created a methodology to map portfolio companies according to environmental metrics, financial opportunities and management readiness in order to focus on those that are capable of making the greatest impact. Their goal is to improve environmental performance at Oak Hill Capital portfolio companies and create a model that can be used by other middle-market firms to find environmental opportunities in their own portfolios. Separately, Oak Hill Capital has also developed strategies for institutionalizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations at portfolio companies at the board and management level.
Based on the methodology developed by Oak Hill Capital and EDF, the pilot focused on Dave & Buster’s, a leading operator of high volume entertainment/dining complexes; Jacobson Companies, the Des Moines, Iowa-based transportation and logistics firm; and ViaWest, one of the largest privately held data center, cloud computing and managed service providers in North America. To date, solutions have included initial investments in lighting, climate controls and other energy-intensive operations in the companies’ restaurants, warehouses and data centers.
The pilot, which focused on a small number of those companies’ facilities, identified more than $700,000 in annual energy cost savings and an annual CO2 emissions reduction of 2,900 metric tons. This early progress is equivalent to taking 570 cars off the road every year. Oak Hill Capital and EDF plan to use these pilot results to implement broader programs in these companies.
J. Taylor Crandall, Managing Partner of Oak Hill Capital, said, “ESG issues have been a priority for Oak Hill Capital Partners throughout our history, and we are very excited about the potential we see for environmental benefits across Oak Hill Capital’s portfolio of companies. With the help of EDF and its market-based approach, we have identified a number of material value-creation opportunities that benefit the environment. We have also developed the tools and processes to expand these programs in the future. We look forward to working with our portfolio company management teams to scale these initiatives over time.”
With investments in nearly 15,000 companies employing over eight million people, the private equity industry represents a significant opportunity to impact the way businesses consume energy and natural resources.
“Private equity is uniquely positioned to take advantage of untapped value creation through environmental management, and these opportunities are not just limited to the largest buyout firms,” said Tom Murray, managing director with EDF’s Corporate Partnerships Program. “Our collaboration with Oak Hill Capital is proving that middle-market firms, which represent the majority of the private equity sector, can create significant value for investors and the planet through environmental management.”
Working with EDF, Oak Hill Capital has developed a range of strategies for achieving additional progress. The firm has utilized its annual CEO conference, its relationships with various operating consultants and its internal ESG committee, as well as EDF’s Climate Corps program, to further these efforts, and continues to look for new ways to bring about results. In the coming months, Oak Hill Capital will share these outcomes at its annual CFO conference, continue to implement the opportunities identified to date, and begin working with additional management teams within its portfolio.
Since 2008, EDF has worked with leading private equity firms to develop environmental value-creation strategies across diverse and growing global portfolios of companies.
About Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) is a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.
About Oak Hill Capital Partners
Oak Hill Capital Partners is a private equity firm with over $8 billion of initial capital commitments from leading entrepreneurs, endowments, foundations, corporations, pension funds and global financial institutions. Robert M. Bass is the lead investor. Over a period of more than 25 years, the professionals at Oak Hill Capital Partners and its predecessors have invested in more than 70 significant private equity transactions. Oak Hill Capital Partners is one of several independently managed firms bearing the Oak Hill name and investing in various asset classes. For more information about Oak Hill Capital Partners, visit www.oakhillcapital.com.