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From: Wall Street Journal By Dieter Holger

Management of environmental, social and governance issues—once primarily the focus of public companies—is now a strong focus at private companies, a new survey indicates.

Seventy-nine percent of venture capital- and private equity-backed companies and 67% of privately held companies have ESG programs in place, according to a Navex Global Inc. survey. Meanwhile, 63% of those surveyed, including those working in public companies, said they plan to increase their spending on ESG initiatives in 2021. The survey polled 1,250 managers and senior leaders at companies with more than 500 employees in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany.

Blackstone Group Inc. is among the most recognizable examples of a private-equity firm boosting spending on ESG initiatives. Last year, the company pledged that companies it buys would have to cut their emissions by 15% within the first three years of being bought.

“While global standards and regulations are still nascent, businesses aren’t waiting,” Bob Conlin, chief executive of Navex, a Lake Oswego, Ore.-based risk and compliance software company, said in a statement. “They recognize that prioritizing ESG is an investment in competitiveness and future success.” The survey also found that U.S. companies were less likely to have ESG programs than their European counterparts.

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