Commitment Impact & ESG

What’s good for people  is good for business.

Positive impact

We care deeply that innovations at the heart of our founders’ businesses have the potential to positively impact people’s lives.

When we review an investment opportunity, we consider its social and environmental impact alongside an assessment of the financial merits of the business. The most attractive companies are those with a sustainable long-term business model with the potential to benefit society.

Read our ESG policy

Cambridge Innovation Capital is a leading Series A investor in the Cambridge ecosystem.

We were born out of a unique relationship with the University of Cambridge and we maintain privileged access to its most inspiring ideas and people in life sciences and deep tech.


Reporting on impact and ESG 

There is an overlap between impact and ESG but there is also an important distinction.

Impact reporting tracks the way our businesses create positive impact, particularly through their products and services, and highlights who benefits, and to what extent.

ESG reporting looks at how we identify, mitigate, manage, improve and report on ESG factors. It shows how we educate and support entrepreneurs to develop robust carbon, governance, and diversity, equity and inclusion practices.


Impact and ESG in our business and our portfolio companies 

01Responsible investment

We are a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, which encourages transparent and evidence-based investment and stewardship. We are also a signatory to the Investing in Women Code, which aims to improve female entrepreneurs' access to tools, resources and finance.

Our investment process reviews potential reach and impact of innovations, including numbers of people and likely effect of an innovation on their lives. We consider the environmental impact and low carbon economy benefits and we look at potential employment impacts, including its diversity and equality.

01Establish business

Put basic accounting systems in place

02Articulate strategy & mission

Consider the whole approach to ESG and impact - whether A (avoids harm), B (benefits stakeholders) or C (contributes to solutions)

03Hire staff

Put basic HR in place such as staff contracts

Put basic H&S guidelines to protect staff

Adopt basic HR and health & safety policies

D&O insurance, anti-corruption & bribery policy, GDPR policy

04Source finance

Establish the ESG and / or impact expectations the finance provider

05Start operations

Establish whether there are any specific environmental or social risks to be mitigated or managed

Decide on the company’s position on creating positive impact whether as a deliberate and intentional focus or primarily as a mapping exercise

Understand the direct environmental footprint of the company particularly greenhouse gas emissions, water usage and waste, and decide what needs to be monitored, and potential offsets

06Set up supply chains

Understand the social and environmental risks in the supply chain and consider effect on sourcing decisions

07Develop marketing

Consider whether the marketing and branding or the product or service will have an ESG or impact component

08Grow staff numbers beyond 10

Put more formal ESG policies in place, reflecting identification, management and reporting of risk in key areas

Consider diversity, equity and inclusion strategy

09Formalise supply chain contracts

Undertake ESG due diligence on suppliers, include commitments on ESG in contracts

10Develop ESG and impact positioning

Articulate the positive impact of operations

Identify beneficiaries, depth of impact, company contribution to that impact

Map impacts against SDGs

Select metrics for reporting on Es and impact to employees, customers, investors and wider stakeholders

Decide whether to set targets in any area

11Assess stakeholders

Consider the individuals and organisations that have interest in or influence on your company, and plan how best to engage with and report to them

12Publish reports

Prepare the annual financial report and consider whether to include ESG and impact narrative, case studies or date

13Constitute a more formal Board

Consider diversity and inclusion for Board appointments

14Articulate strategy & mission

Review the ESG risks to assess whether any new risks have emerged as a result of the expansion of operations

External Audit and Audit & Remuneration Committees

Code of Ethics and / or Code of Conduct when >100 employees

Periodic customer and stakeholder satisfaction surveys

02CIC Operations

Within our own operations we adopt best practices to reduce our carbon footprint and protect natural resources. We operate a social policy aimed at growing and strengthening our human capital, and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion through recruitment and management policies so that our team reflects the cultural mix of our portfolio companies. We also ensure that all our of employees and those of our portfolio companies comply with all relevant laws and regulations, upholding the highest levels of integrity. We provide our portfolio companies with a comprehensive Impact and ESG toolkit to support their own Impact and ESG progress.

03Measurements, transparency and accountability

We track our performance through KPIs including the number of companies in which we are invested, the amount of invested capital, the amount of capital we are able to raise, the cumulative number of our employees in portfolio companies, and capital realized through our interests in portfolio companies. We also use the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for our investment decisions and to encourage behaviours in portfolio companies.
The SDGs that we aspire to fulfil through our core investment activities are:

To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being

To promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work

To build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

We also aim to encourage certain behaviours within our portfolio companies by focusing on:

To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote learning opportunities

To achieve gender equality

To reduce inequality

To ensure responsible consumption and production

04Industry collaboration

As an established venture capital organisation we are active partners in the wider improvement of business standards and responsibility. We are members of the BVCA (British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association), where our Managing Partner is the Chair of the venture capital committee. We work with ESG_VC to help early stage businesses understand, measure, benchmark and improve their ESG performance.

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