In fulfilling its decarbonisation targets, ČEZ Group focuses primarily on a gradual phasing out of coal sources or on their transformation into low-emission sources, and on reducing emissions through energy savings. It also focuses on “office emissions”, i.e., emissions not generated through production but for example in administrative buildings. Inven Capital became the first company in ČEZ Group to focus on the matter.
“By the very nature of its work, Inven Capital is well aware of current trends, both in the energy sector and beyond, and tries to introduce them to the Czech corporate environment. Companies in Western Europe address carbon neutrality rather intensively, it is something that is expected of companies and on which they work proactively. After all, decarbonisation concerns everyone and every effort counts in the final result,” said Board Member and Director of the New Energy Division Tomáš Pleskač.
Inven Capital started to monitor its carbon footprint in 2018 and it has been gradually implementing measures to reduce it. Before the pandemic, for example, it reduced the number of flights: in particular transoceanic flights that generate the greatest volume of emissions, replacing them with video conferences as frequently as possible and preferably taking the train when travelling to meetings in neighbouring countries. The fund has also switched to Green Electricity from ČEZ, which comes exclusively from renewable sources; instead of bottled water, filter jugs are available in the offices; printing is kept at a minimum, and, if done, recycled paper is used exclusively.
“The common denominator of all our investments in the sphere of new energy and hi-tech solutions thus far has been the emphasis on sustainable development and environmental impact reduction. Hence, it feels natural to us to strive for a carbon-neutral operation ourselves,” said Director of Inven Capital Petr Míkovec.
In 2020, the Fund joined the international Leaders for Climate Action (LFCA) initiative, which strives to fight global climate change by the decarbonisation of its member companies. The originally local German initiative based in Berlin has grown to include nearly 1,500 companies from all over the world in the two years since its establishment – it is estimated to represent more than 170,000 employees. The LFCA provides its members with a certified carbon footprint calculation method, advice for effective footprint reduction, and recommendations for offsetting emissions. Thanks to all this, its members have collectively reduced their emissions by more than 20%, and by investing more than 13.5 million dollars into offsets, they have saved an estimated 900,000 tonnes of CO2. Inven Capital has decided to implement its offsets by itself and locally, i.e., in the Czech Republic, specifically by planting trees in cooperation with the non-profit organisation Sázíme stromy.
As an LFCA member, Inven also commits to integrating a clause in the contractual documentation for its new investments, stating that the portfolio company must monitor and strive to reduce its carbon footprint and generally strive to carry on its business in a sustainable manner. Three German companies from the fund’s portfolio – Zolar, tado°, and Forto – are active LFCA members themselves. But others also contribute to global emissions reduction: for example, Sunfire helps generate green hydrogen for more environmentally friendly transport and heavy industry, Vulog and Driivz are engaged in the field of shared mobility and e-mobility, and Cloud&Heat works on improving the efficiency of data centre cooling.
This year, Inven Capital also joined VentureESG, a community of European venture capital funds dedicated to the consolidation of principles for sustainable investments and support for portfolio companies in implementing best practices in the sphere of the environment, the social sphere, and in corporate governance (Environmental, Social, Governance).
The ČEZ Group was one of the first Czech companies to sign up to commit itself to carbon-neutral production by 2050 as part of the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. In its Green Deal strategy announced in December 2018, the European Union aims for the same date. This May, ČEZ responded to the accelerated rate of climate change by refining and accelerating its long-term strategy, announcing its ambitious decarbonisation goals in its Vision 2030 Clean Energy of Tomorrow. ČEZ Group’s accelerated strategy is also based on ESG principles, aiming to move up in the international ESG rating to the level of the best energy companies.