Global corporate finance advisory firm Clearwater International has launched a bespoke service helping mid-market firms to bridge gaps with corporate finance. The initiative aims to bolster ESG performance of mid-market firms, and improve their valuations for investors as a result.
As public pressure grows on companies to do more to improve their impacts on society and the environment, failing to act carries a reputational risk which can damage a brand’s valuation. The rising importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters has therefore seen investors make it increasingly clear they will avoid companies they believe are underperforming when it comes to sustainability practices.
This is more difficult to address for mid-market firms, however. While 97% of UK ‘deal doers’ are driven by, or conscious of, ESG throughout the transaction process and 60% have turned down deals because of concerns around this area, smaller firms have fewer resources to invest in ESG policies.
In a bid to help mid-market firms redress this balance, Clearwater International has created a service, aimed at fixing gaps in their ESG capabilities which could negatively impact their capacity to raise finance and deliver long-term sustainable growth. The bespoke ESG Advisory service uses tailored versions of widely adopted best practice frameworks to help businesses focus on relevant operational factors, identify risk, build resilience, create consistent reporting models and formulate improvement plans.
Mark Taylor, UK CEO of Clearwater International, commented, “Our clients have been faced with the rapid emergence of ESG as a key consideration in the everyday running of their business and their strategy going forward. We have reacted to this by investing in a dedicated team to help business owners navigate this area. The service is very much in line with our wider commitment to ESG. As one of the most active mid-market advisers in Europe, we expect that assisting all businesses will drive-up ESG standards for the long-term benefit of all stakeholders.”
The service is delivered by Clearwater’s impact team, and aims to be the first step in creating a professionalised ESG platform that supports performance, transaction processes, company valuation and access to debt funding. One key component of the new service is an ‘ESG Health Check’, which is now integrated into Clearwater’s core advisory offer. The check means every new client will be assessed against 38 performance indicators, resulting in an overall grade, balanced scorecard and outline recommendations.
Jo Daley, Director and Head of Impact at Clearwater International, said, “Mid-market businesses often lack the expertise and capacity to ensure their growth and investment aspirations are underpinned by a robust ESG strategy. Clearwater is in a strong position, with access to management and potential investors at a key juncture in a business’ development. It’s the optimal point to establish a consistent and scalable ESG reporting framework and a delivery plan that lays the groundwork for long-term success.”
Clearwater International is a consultancy which focuses on providing corporate finance advice for mid-market transactions. The business has 17 offices and more than 365 staff across Europe, North America and Asia.