“Companies that add meaning to their operations build a stronger brand”

At Calcalist's ESG Investment Conference, Pitango’s Head of Impact and Sustainability Cecile Blilious called on industry trailblazers to make an impact

CTech 17:2231.05.21


"ESG is something that concerns every company and every field," is what Cecile Blilious, Head of Impact and Sustainability at Pitango Venture Capital, said in a conversation with Calcalist reporter Omer Kabir at Calcalist's ESG Investment Conference.


Pitango is considered one of the largest investment funds in Israel, usually specializing in traditional high-tech. Today, the fund also promotes ESG initiatives, meaning investments that also take into account the environment, social justice, and corporate governance.


"Pitango has always been a fund that aims to maximize profit, which is great and we will continue to do so, but we understand it is not enough. One should also look at entrepreneurs who promote companies that are fair, inclusive, and that their product helps solve some social or environmental problem," said Blilious. Pitango adjusted the way it filters companies when it began focusing on ESG investments. But the fund's intention is to not only have new companies adapt, but also examine how the areas of impact and sustainability are integrated in veteran companies.


Is it the product that makes a company ESG, or could it be something else as well?


"ESG refers to government, society, and sustainability. It also includes, for example, equality in employment conditions, equal pay for women and men, and whether the company pays attention to its carbon footprint. Beyond that, we would like to see a product with a social or environmental impact. For example, VIA is a company that contributes to its business activity by lowering pollution levels in cities. "


Do you have to persuade companies to incorporate this field into their operations?


"I have not come across a case of an entrepreneur who says he does not care about such issues. But we do offer entrepreneurs a process that will make the companies better and more profitable."


Why profitability?


"Companies that add meaning to their operations are the ones that usually also recruit the best people, the people stay with them longer, they come to work happier and they are also more productive. This allows them to build a stronger brand, which in turn contributes to greater customer loyalty, alongside other economic benefits. The third thing is that the door of ESG investors is open to companies that have such a policy - and closed to those who do not."


If it's so good for our world and society, why is it not more common?


"I think ‘impact’ has some 'glitches', which prevent the entry of some venture capital funds and high-tech companies. There is currently no way to measure impact, it's not something that appears in a financial report. The word impact feels too soft, and it requires a few trailblazers to go ahead and promote it. I think that in a few years it will not be a problem at all. Just as gender equality is being promoted today, I believe it will become something that will be integrated into companies in the future. Pitango is trying to go through the process itself, with reducing our carbon footprint, which was given a high priority because it is the right step. "



You can watch the full interview in the video above