Bain & Co. buys Ecovadis stake

‘Big three’ consultancy giant throws its weight behind French ESG ratings firm

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Global consultancy Bain & Company has announced a minority investment in sustainability ratings firm EcoVadis, just weeks after private equity heavyweight CVC bought a $200m stake in the company. 

Bain & Company did not disclose its stake, or the amount paid, but said it would integrate EcoVadis’ sustainability ratings into its approach to corporate strategy, supply chain and procurement processes, indicating a “growing acknowledgment across the firm that the purpose of business must go beyond the singular focus of maximising shareholder value”.

Bain & Company is one of the ‘big three’ global management consultancies, with revenues of more than $4.5bn. It has a focus on private equity consulting, which makes up about a quarter of its global business. Its Global Private Equity Report 2020 advises on forming an ESG strategy.

EcoVadis assesses 60,000 companies in 155 markets. Launched in 2007, it claims 450 institutions use its supplier ratings and engagement platform.

Aaron Dupuis, a partner at CVC Growth Partners, said Bain & Company’s involvement in EcoVadis was “a real game changer” for the firm. 

M&A activity in the ESG ratings space has been on the rise over recent years.

Last month, DWS Group, formerly Deutsche Asset Management, acquired nearly 25% of ESG-focused start-up Arabesque AI. Among others to have been fully or partly acquired since 2015 are Trucost, South Pole, Sustainalytics, Grizzly Ratings, Carbon Delta, Beyond Ratings, oekom, GMI Ratings, Vigeo Eiris, Solaron and Minerva.