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One might argue that, historically, the private equity industry has mainly been concerned with the rate of return on investments. However, recent years have demonstrated that this is no longer sufficient, and investors might need to rethink the term “shareholder maximization.” The shortcomings of this historic and strictly financially-driven perspective become especially apparent when considering, for example, impact investment. The importance of impact investment and ESG has grown significantly.
ESG criteria can no longer be ignored with respect to future investment decisions. Private equity professionals must start evaluating each potential investment on more complex metrics than financial return maximization. Thus, we ask ourselves: How will investors navigate a rapidly evolving investment landscape in the coming years? Are dedicated ESG funds here to stay, or will they be remembered as a faddish concept used to raise funds? If the industry focus on impact investment does persevere, will it entail broader changes in company strategy beyond the acquisition level?
Partner & Co-Head of Public Value, EQT Partners
Co-Leader of Private Equity, Boston Consulting Group
CEO Germany, Lincoln International
Founder & Managing Partner, AUCTUS Capital Partners
Partner, Altor Equity Partners
Managing Director, General Atlantic
Head of Germany, KKR