The businesses that go the distance are the ones that embed sustainable practices in their operations from day zero. But many founders lack the knowledge and resources to do that. That's why we created our online education platform, the Antler Sustainability Toolkit—exclusively for founders.
Ros is Head of ESG and Impact at Antler. She has 15 years of investment management industry experience and oversees firm level practices, founder engagement, and investment decision-making processes. Based in Singapore, Ros is a mother of two who spends much of her spare time outdoors or hunting for the perfect tiramisu.
October 4, 2023
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In the ever-evolving landscape of business, sustainability has emerged as a critical factor driving success. Visionary founders recognize that integrating sustainability-linked principles into their companies is no longer a choice, but an imperative. Simultaneously, an increasing number of investors understand the value of sustainable practices in business operations, inextricably linking it to companies’ fundraising and expansion efforts.
Yet many entrepreneurs lack the necessary knowledge and resources to effectively implement best practices.
That's why we created our online education platform, the Antler Sustainability Toolkit, developed exclusively for founders. Initially launched within our founder community in May 2022, the toolkit has generated more than 1,000 user sessions over the last 12 months. By going open source, our goal is to cultivate collaboration and knowledge sharing among a broader network of founders and VCs around the world. This reflects our belief that sustainability is a collective endeavor that transcends any individual group or community. It requires the active participation and engagement of various stakeholders to drive meaningful change and create a more sustainable future.
Building awareness and understanding sustainability is crucial in a company’s early stages.
By embracing sustainable practices, early-stage companies can unlock a wide range of powerful benefits including cost reduction, improved workforce productivity, increased operational efficiency, enhanced brand and reputation, access to new markets, and attracting new customers.
Where should you begin?
The Antler Sustainability Toolkit provides founders with the knowledge and tools to navigate the complex landscape of sustainability. We understand that each company operates in a unique context. Our platform provides customized guidance for founders to integrate sustainable strategies that align with business goals and growth stage.
The industry mindset needs to shift from data collection to contextual understanding.
Investment regulations have evolved in the last few years, particularly related to sustainability disclosures and responsible investing. Governments and regulators increasingly acknowledge the significance of embedding sustainable practices into business operations. This transformation has generated fresh investor expectations and prerequisites for companies pursuing funding and expansion.
Despite these positive shifts, some VCs have veered toward concentrating solely on data collection, bypassing the broader context and the promotion of best practices. Regrettably, this data-centric approach often leads to irrelevant queries from investors that disregard a company's growth stage, sidelining the essence of sustainability and fixating excessively on surface-level checkboxes. Central to this issue is a deficiency in understanding and support for implementation.
Extending our platform to the wider industry is a bold stride to tackle this issue. We believe that sustainability should not be reduced to a checkbox or used strictly for investor reporting purposes. It demands a more holistic approach that considers the unique challenges and opportunities faced by each company. By opening up our toolkit to VCs and founders beyond our immediate community, we want to trigger a shift in perspective, encouraging a deeper understanding of sustainability and its implications.
Implementation from day zero—the earliest point of a company’s journey—distinguishes Antler’s online education platform.
An emphasis on both education and implementation at the earliest point of a company’s journey sets our platform apart. Going beyond furnishing founders with knowledge, we offer direction and resources so founders can seamlessly integrate sustainable practices as their company grows. Our toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including:
Sustainability concepts for startups
How to build a sustainability roadmap
How to identify and prioritize non-financial factors that affect company performance
First steps for operational best practices
How best practices evolve as a company grows
Recommended implementation tools and platforms
Advised metrics for investors: What to track, when, and how?
Impact company frameworks and measurement
The Antler toolkit enables founders to navigate sustainability confidently, drive meaningful change and be prepared for investor expectations. It goes beyond regulations, offering practical insights to seamlessly integrate sustainability into operations, shifting founders from compliance to core strategy. We believe this approach will give founders a competitive edge and create lasting value for their business.
We invite others to help us build a living toolkit.
Moving forward, we are committed to expanding and refining the Antler Sustainability Toolkit. We invite others to contribute case studies, success stories, and lessons learned to enrich the available resources. By sharing our experiences, we can inspire more entrepreneurs and investors to adopt sustainable practices. The sustainability movement is gathering steam. Together, we can unlock its full potential, effecting transformative change across businesses, communities, and the planet.
Antler is based in 27 cities around the world, has a community of over 6,000 founders, and has invested in 900+ portfolio companies since 2018. Read more about Antler’s approach to sustainability.
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