ESG For Early-Stage Startups

In the world of startups, incorporating policies and practices for environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues is often seen as something for later-stage startups. We challenge that notion.

We believe that it’s far easier and more effective to integrate ESG from the beginning, making the next generation of unicorns or Fortune 500 companies more diverse and inclusive, more conscious of their employees' health and safety, and better serve their communities and the environment.

What is ESG?

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that 500 Southeast Asia III, L.P. (SEA Fund) is integrating into its investment analysis and decision-making and portfolio management processes.

Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature.

Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates.

Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.

The SEA Fund ESG. Policy

The purpose of the ESG Policy is to ensure that the SEA Fund takes a responsible approach to investment throughout its investment cycle and recognizes the potential impact of its companies on the environment, workers, communities, and society, as well as the potential impact of climate change on the companies in which the SEA Fund invests.

Specifically, the policy helps the SEA Fund to:

  • Account for Material ESG Issues which may make the business more or less attractive for investment.
  • Encourage Portfolio Companies to consider ESG value creation opportunities.
  • Encourage the building of diverse and inclusive teams.

The SEA Fund ESG Investment Process



This begins with a pre-selection questionnaire to evaluate whether companies are considering ESG risks and ESG value creation opportunities. Questions range from HR practices and gender equality to environmental impact and data security and information management practices.


The SEA Fund appointed an ESG specialist, who will recommend tools and training to inspire ESG materiality policy and build opportunities. ESG progress of portfolio companies will be documented, including annual updates to responses to the ESG screening questionnaire.


The SEA Fund’s ESG specialist will also be responsible for maintaining and updating reporting systems and training. The ESG specialist will develop education modules on key ESG topics to include mentors, speakers, and tools. The ESG Specialist will also publish an annual ESG report.

Learn About ESG Through Our Curated Webinars And Content

Why Responsible Tech is a Business Imperative

​Environmental Stewardship: Why It's Essential at Every Stage of Business

Social & Environmental Sustainability: What Startups Can Do Right Now

​World-Class Culture for Startups

​Gender Equity for Startups & Eliminating Unconscious Bias

Water Conservation & Innovation For Startups

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