How Ambienta Invests in Environmental Sustainability for Top-Decile Private Equity Returns | Stefano Bacci, Partner & ESG Manager (#024)
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In this episode, I sit down with Stefano Bacci, Partner and ESG Manager at Ambienta, a private equity asset manager that was purpose-built to pursue environmental sustainability investing in resource efficiency and pollution control. Ambienta is the largest private equity fund manager in Europe dedicated to investing entirely in environmental sustainability.
Stefano grew up in Milan, (despite maintaining that he is culturally from Tuscany!). When choosing his career path, he was advised by his parents – both chemists – not to follow in their footsteps if he ever wanted to make any money (!) which led him to study Chemical Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano. He then went on to complete a PhD in Physical Chemistry at the Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany.
Stefano’s early career took him to Switzerland where he worked for Ciba-Geigy (later acquired by BASF) in numeric modelling. Five years later, a chance conversation with a fellow graduate from his Ciba-Geigy induction period led him to study for an MBA, starting in Helsinki, then transferring to MIT in Boston.
Following his MBA, Stefano spent ten years working in consultancy at the Boston Consultancy Group, which brought him back home to Milan for a year, then on to Stockholm, then to Helsinki where he set up the BCG office and finally to Germany where he spent several years working in the run-up to the ‘dotcom bubble’. It was at this juncture in his life that he decided to switch to investment management and began working at Palamon Capital Partners, where he spent several years, before returning to Italy to work with Ambienta.
In this episode, Stefano takes us on a journey from his studies in chemical engineering right through to the point when Ambienta co-founders Nino Tronchetti Provera and Rolando Polli convinced him that sustainability was the way forward. We learn more about these two people who inspired him in his early days at Ambienta and how his passion for sustainability has grown over the years.
We discuss how Ambienta considers sustainability and ESG as two very different things, and how they invest in businesses where resources are used more efficiently in order to reduce pollution, waste in landfills and improve air and water quality. We discuss how Ambienta measures the impact of their investments, their typical investors, why sustainability is primary in their investment selection, and much more.
I really learned a lot chatting with Stefano, whose passion for environmental sustainability is clear. I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation!
About the SRI 360° Podcast: The SRI 360° Podcast is focused exclusively on sustainable & responsible investing. In each episode, Scott Arnell interviews a world-class investor who is an accomplished practitioner from all asset classes. In my interviews, I cover everything from their early personal journeys—and what motivated and attracted them to commit their life energy to SRI—to insights on how they developed and executed their investment strategies and what challenges they face today. Each episode is a chance to go way below the surface with these impressive people and gain additional insights and useful lessons from professional investors.
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