agora logoUK-based technology start-up agora is working to transform the way bonds are issued and managed using distributed ledger technology. The company’s own sustainability efforts are an important way to signal to the market they should be a partner of choice for the growing green bond industry.

COMPANY INTRO

agora is creating the world’s first truly end-to-end digital platform for the full lifecycle of bonds, structured products, and MTNs/Certificates. Using distributed ledger and smart contracting technology, agora enhances, upgrades and improves communication and processes throughout a financial instrument’s lifecycle – from the pre-mandate or structuring stage, during execution, pricing and primary settlement and throughout the post-trade lifecycle until its final redemption.

Our target client groups – frequent issuers of bonds such as sovereigns, supranationals and agencies and financial institutions – are also the pioneers of the green bond issuance process. We knew that these organisations are requiring deeper disclosure from partners about their ESG impact and favour work with companies with tangible sustainable objectives. We reached out to avieco to create our first sustainability report and perform a materiality analysis of ESG topics.

Yassamin Issapour

Chief Financial Officer at agora

THE CHALLENGE

To support the lifecycle management of financial assets (including green bonds) and facilitate the financing behind creating a low-carbon economy, agora must first itself be a sustainable business.

From climate change to human rights, the ESG landscape covers a range of issues. agora needed to establish which ESG issues are most material to the organisation and key stakeholders.

Agora, as a small business needed a sustainability strategy that was both adaptable and in line with the company’s plans for high growth. The company was established during the pandemic and only recently moved to a physical office. agora needed to measure its carbon footprint to minimise the impact of its operations on the environment.

We knew our commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals could not just be an afterthought rather we needed to bake substantive change in every leverage of how we engage with capital markets. Figuring out what this meant as an early round, privately funded fintech was a challenge, one that we’ve embraced in a way that we can sustain as we grow.

Yassamin Issapour

Chief Financial Officer at agora

THE SOLUTION

Avieco adopted a three-phase approach to kick-start agora’s sustainability journey:

  1. ESG Materiality Assessment:
    A market scan was conducted, including agora’s key external and internal stakeholders to identify the ESG areas most material to the company.
  2. Sustainability Strategy and Roadmap:
    The areas identified in the materiality assessment served as a backbone to agora’s sustainability report, allowing it to develop focused responses to the topics that matter most. For each area, an action plan was outlined, highlighting agora’s progress so far, focus for this year and priorities for the future.
  3. Carbon Footprint
    In recognition that you cannot manage what you have not measured, Avieco calculated agora’s carbon footprint across its operations and value chain. (Scope 1 and 2 emissions included in the carbon footprint)

THE RESULTS

Avieco’s engagement with agora provided the organisation with a robust and actionable sustainability strategy. As a result of this engagement, Avieco delivered:
• agora’s roadmap to sustainability. This included clear action points as well as areas to be reviewed as the company grows, to ensure agora’s strategy remains proportional to its business size.
• An external executive summary to showcase agora’s approach to its stakeholders.
• agora’s first carbon footprint. This now provides a baseline for agora to monitor environmental performance and assess the efficacy of energy-saving initiatives.
• Improved visibility of ESG issues at the board level. Through this engagement, agora’s leaders have developed a better understanding of ESG frameworks and market expectations.

Together we’ve been able to build a framework and take a practical and targeted approach towards our ESG strategy. This allows us to have a strong framework to build off as we grow the business – both from the product and people side.

Yassamin Issapour

Chief Financial Officer at agora

WHAT’S NEXT?

agora is operating in an industry with increasing expectations around environmental, social and governance sustainability. This project allowed agora to set a baseline and lay down a commitment to growing sustainability.

agora has made a commitment to measuring its full Scope 3 emissions, exploring setting emission reduction targets, and focusing on the positive climate impact its product and services could provide. agora will also develop its diversity and inclusion strategy, placing a focus on ensuring its workplace remains sustainable and inclusive as the business scales up.

 

Laura Jordan AviecoFor more information, please contact:

Laura Jordan, Director

[email protected]

T: 02070480450

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