Being the first signatory in Portugal of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), all our investments are driven by our Responsible Investment Policy and are guided by a common philosophy: sustainability as a business opportunity in a changing world.
Inspired by John Elkington’s “People, Planet and Profit” (3P) concept, we invest in high-growth companies, favoring sectors where the long-term demand drivers are strongly correlated with global sustainability issues, namely demographics and social change (“People”) and sectors, where the underlying asset in the value chain help maintaining a natural resource (“Planet”).
We at Vallis Capital Partners see sustainability as a driver of our investment strategy, operational enhancement and generating sustainable returns for our investors.
Convinced that companies that are successful in avoiding ESG risks, and also at identifying and capitalizing on the opportunities are better positioned to face the global challenges and to outperform its market peers, our Responsible Investment Policy is grounded not only on a negative ESG screening and but also on a positive ESG filter.
Our responsible investment approach is also about distinguishing the companies that recognize the importance of ESG issues.
Being the first asset management company to sign the UNPRI in Portugal, the Principles for Responsible Investment are at the core of our activities and its Growth Funds’ strategy. Therefore, where consistent with our fiduciary responsibilities, we are committed to the following:
71% of our companies implemented initiatives to reduce energy consumption and waste.
25% of energy consumption from our companies comes from renewable sources
>1 600 direct jobs across our portfolio companies; >460 direct jobs created after our investment.
59% of women employees across portfolio companies
100% of portfolio companies engaged with charity and volunteering
100% of portfolio companies with a formalized code of conduct
On August 2016, Vallis Sustainable Investments I invested in Castelbel, a Portugal-based producer of soap and other scented luxury products. Founded in 2000, the company combines exquisite design with most remarkable fragrances and is marketed around the globe to more than 50 countries. Having begun its production with only 6 workers, today Castelbel number a team of almost 200 dedicated employees focused on quality, sustainability, innovation and responsibility.
In a global context marked by environmental scandals linking to palm oil productions, plastic pollution affecting sea life and a constant search for more natural products, Castelbel has been innovating in order to integrate the response to these issues into its business. Aligned with the 3P concept (People, Planet and Profit) and convinced that sustainability can be a strategy that generates competitive advantage, the company can be considered an example when it comes to integrating ESG criteria in its day-to-day activities.
Committed to using natural and ingredients that respect the Planet and to decrease the use of plastics on its packaging, Castelbel has innovated not only in its products but also in its processes. For instance, the company has replaced palm oil by coconut and olive oil on its soaps and has developed a solid shampoo with 100% of natural ingredients. Additionally, by replacing plastic refills with aluminum ones on fragrance diffusers and by replacing plastic with cork and cardboard on soaps packaging, Castelbel has been engaged to reduce the use of plastic.
Produced and developed in Porto, Portugal, all Castelbel products reflect the company’s engagement in promoting the local economy.
Valuing handcrafting as a differentiation factor for its products and committed to using local raw materials, Castelbel creates hundreds of direct and indirect employments. Castelbel is also convinced that companies have a role to play in supporting the local community. This is why the company has been involved with dozens of local NGOs and has especially been donating 5% of the sales of the Portus Cale Ruby Red soap to a local NGO called Bagos d’Ouro, that for more than 10 years has been working to break the poverty cycle through education.
To illustrate Castelbel’s engagement with corporate social responsibility, the company has been audited using the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) methodology, one of the most widely used ethical audit formats in the world.
Additionally, Castelbel is recognized by its gender equality policy. The company counts on a strong female leadership. With 2/3 of the company’s Executive committee being female, and giving public support to the promotion of the female leadership, Castelbel was awarded a prize of the best company with policies regarding women in 2017 (“Melhor empresa com Práticas no Feminino”).
In June 2020, Vallis Sustainable Investments II Fund in partnership with the Management Team successfully completed a carve-out of Portuguese operation from Belgian multinational company Greenyard (Euronext Brussels: GREEN).
Rebranded as Zolve shortly after the acquisition, the Company provides logistics and transportation services for food products with specific focus on fast-moving perishable food products.
Today Zolve operates two logistics platform that covers all temperature needs from -25ºC to + 18ºC supported by cross docking hubs with integrated information systems combined with radio-frequency technology and data integration via EDI that ensures a high degree of service reliability, full operational control and administrative robustness. Zolve is certified under the IFS Logistics and BRC Storage and Distribution standards, ensuring the highest quality standards for the service provided.
One of the first initiative addressed by the Management Team after the acquisition was cascading ESG focus across all organization. Zolve created a multi-disciplinary Sustainability and ESG Taskforce that includes professionals from all functional departments. During the first 6 months, this Taskforce launched various initiatives: energy efficiency plan described below, carbon emission reduction, social inclusion policy, formal training plans and many others. ESG monitoring and reporting are now reported quarterly to the Board of Directors and annually to all stakeholders of the Company.
The food logistics operations in a multi-client model represent an incredible challenge. To stay competitive, Zolve needs to constantly adapt, driving synergies, operational flexibility, availability, and access to more competitive costs.
With such an ample range of storage temperature, energy-efficiency is both environmental challenge and a survival task to stay competitive. This is why one of the first initiative of the Taskforce was to develop an energy efficiency and emission reduction plan. The action plan includes various initiatives, especially at logistics and transport departments.
The first and the most capital-intensive decision, was an approval for the installation of the photovoltaic panels at both warehouse facilities in 2020. It implies 24.872 square meters of the advanced technology panels both at the ground and at the roof of the warehouses. Both projects implied the total investment of over one million euros, allowing Zolve to save 318 thousand euros annually on the energy bill.
The next important step in the energy efficiency plan, currently in the study and implementation phase, relates to the temperature-controlled transportation vehicles. The project launched at the end of 2020 and will consist in equipping own vehicles with sustainable, intelligent electric power allowing its onboard refrigeration facility to operate purely on electrical power (as opposed to diesel-driven motors currently in use). Not only it allows to reduce the diesel consumption, it will also promote noise reduction and significantly lower CO2 emissions.
The Company is now running various tests to ensure that the system provides not only energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solution but also the most reliable one. Amongst other actions in the Energy Efficiency plan is an improved thermal solution for freezing warehouse, new energy monitoring systems for better control and the sliding doors isolation.