ESG | AI |

Walking the Talk: SESAMm’s ESG Manifesto

By: SESAMm | December 7, 2022

If you've been following SESAMm, you've probably noticed that we care about environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors when researching, analyzing, and monitoring companies for portfolios. After all, ESG data is useful when making business and investment decisions. But what about SESAMm? Does it care about ESG as a company?

On the one hand, SESAMm could analyze ESG risks and opportunities on private and public companies worldwide without regard to its own ramifications on the world at large. On the other hand, what kind of service provider would SESAMm be if it didn't "walk the talk," as the saying goes? What good would SESAMm produce if it didn't follow the same ESG guidelines it delivers scores about?

SESAMm wants to operate the same way its clients would expect from firms in their portfolios, a way that it would support and be proud of. That's why management has developed SESAMm's ESG manifesto.

SESAMm's ESG manifesto purpose

ESG analysis, monitoring, and alerting are a substantial part of SESAMm's activities, so it's the company's mission to actively develop ESG and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG positive impact) indicators on millions of public and private companies. Many of the largest financial institutions and corporate ESG teams trust SESAMm to help monitor assets, suppliers, and clients.

SESAMm's ESG beliefs

SESAMm's management believes that:

  1. The financial sector and large corporations have a considerable role in ESG. They are vital to achieving the goals set by The Paris Agreement.
  2. ESG data is essential in enabling the transition toward responsible investment for financial institutions and corporations.
  3. Current offerings lack ESG ratings coverage, lack transparency, and provide inadequate indicators, making it difficult for leaders to set objectives.
  4. AI is the technological solution that will enable leaders to solve these issues and generate the right data with the right transparency, coverage, and frequency.

SESAMm's environmental actions

First, to reduce its ecological footprint, SESAMm has chosen to work with server hosting providers that use only renewable, non-carbon energy. Scaleway, for example, is a French internet hosting company that optimizes its hardware by reducing the incidence of server overheating. 

Second, SESAMm has a lease contract to rent and replace computers every three years. The computers are then refurbished and reused, significantly reducing their environmental impact. Similarly, cloud infrastructures such as AWS or Scaleway recycle some hardware, such as hard drives, also to preserve the environment.

Third, SESAMm favors environmentally-friendly office accommodations. For example, the company measures and limits transportation needs by enabling employees to work remotely up to four days a week. It has also implemented waste sorting throughout its offices and taken actions to reduce energy consumption and waste, such as offering reloadable batteries and water dispensers to avoid plastic bottles. Further, most of SESAMm's offices are in co-working spaces, like WeWork, which offers reusable tableware and solar-powered energy.

Notes: In 2022, SESAMm is the only French company selected for the Green Finance Subsidy Program for Tokyo Market by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. In the future, SESAMm plans to launch climate workshops ("La Fresque du Climat") to increase employee awareness.

SESAMm's social actions

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

SESAMm makes efforts to promote diversity and ensure an inclusive workspace for everyone. For example, even though the lack of women in tech companies is a challenge shared by many startups, SESAMm's workforce currently comprises 25% of women, of which 25% are managers. Some of SESAMm's women workforce also hold highly strategic positions, such as Chief Financial Officer, HR Manager, Technical Lead, and Project Manager, to name a few.

Moreover, SESAMm's teams are composed of ten nationalities across various international offices. And when possible, the company promotes international mobility of its talents, such as a transfer to New York or talent passports to enable employees abroad to work in France.

Diversity in education and training

SESAMm also values diversity in education and training. For instance, the company favors the internal sharing of knowledge through mentorship and internal training and enables employees, newly graduated or in professional reconversion, to be trained and develop new skills for their careers. Currently, the team accounts for 21% of employees who were first interns at SESAMm and now hold permanent positions. 68% of employees hold advanced graduates (Master's degrees and more), 30% are undergraduate (associate and bachelor's degrees), and 2% hold only a high school diploma. 

Work-life balance

The company values a healthy work-life balance and is committed to improving working conditions and ensuring well-being. SESAMm has implemented several measures to reinforce work-life balance, mainly by allowing employees to organize their week as they wish and to work remotely up to four days a week. In addition, SESAMm published a charter on the right to disconnect to strengthen everyone's right to disconnect from their professional communication tools. SESAMm won three awards from ChooseMyCompany: HappyAtWork, TechAtWork, and WorkAnywhere in 2021 for providing employees with a healthy work-life balance.

In 2021, SESAMm implemented several tools to automate processes and facilitate the employees' daily life, including an HRIS and a tool for annual reviews. The management of skills and careers and the implementation of mentoring and training are at the heart of SESAMm's HR roadmap for the years to come. The company also implemented an anonymous internal tool, Poplee Engagement, to measure employees' well-being at work and collect their suggestions for the company. 

SESAMm's governance actions

SESAMm relies on a supervisory and strategic board and an internal executive committee, which are consulted for every important matter, even if not required by the SHA. The board comprises investors with diverse expertise from different geographies—the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The founders are all board members and own 50% of the voting rights. SESAMm is a fundamental trade-off between entrepreneurs' freedom to pursue their distinctive visions for value creation and investors' need to ensure management accountability. 

Employees are involved in the company's success through option plans, and wages are homogeneous across the company. The executive committee is transparent with SESAMm's employees and shares information on the strategy during regular "Ask Me Anything" meetings occurring once every six weeks, during which collaborators can ask any questions anonymously or not. 

Since the recruitment of senior profiles, such as the Scrum Master and a Head of Agile, and automation through the implementation of new internal tools, the company has a better organization with clarified roles and responsibilities. SESAMm also optimized the structure of KPIs reportings, enabling a better long-term plan and decision-making process. 

To reinforce these actions, notably in ecology and social matters, the company has implemented several charters and guidelines in the last few years, like an ethical charter, teleworking charter, right to disconnect, and IT charter.

SESAMm's ESG manifesto summary

SESAMm's leaders believe we can't sit on the sidelines while global issues pervade society. We must play an active role in addressing our greatest challenges by looking in the mirror and looking at ourselves. Through hard work, perseverance, and accountability, we believe we can make a difference to help our people, economy, and planet thrive.

Learn more:How Successful Investors Are Using AI to Get ESG Data: A Quick Guide


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