Not content to improve ESG data collection practices alone, Carlyle Group is also stepping up efforts to facilitate employee development. Portfolio company CEOs met yesterday for the inaugural meeting of a peer group to advance DEI at their firms, one of several planned to allow executives to share tools and hear expert speakers on the topic.

The forum is the brainchild of Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee as well as Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and a 2021 Mergers & Acquisitions PE Leader in DEI award recipient Kara Helander. Another Helander project, Carlyle’s Science of Diversity and Inclusion initiative, brings behavioral scientists and companies together to test how to supercharge inclusion of underrepresented groups into the workplace. 

“While I am proud of the progress Carlyle has made in the past three years, I also recognize the constant and continued need to hold ourselves accountable to helping create an inclusive, equitable and diverse environment for our employees, companies and communities globally,” Helander said upon her receipt of the award in the fall. “We recognize the duty we have to take a step back and ask ourselves and our employees difficult questions to spur conversations, hear different perspectives and challenge the status quo.”

Such gatherings could draw imitators across private equity given the firm’s leadership in other areas. The ESG Data Convergence program enlisted its 100th member, announced last month. Entities managing $8.7 trillion in assets are signatories to the data-sharing effort designed to find a common basis to report and collect portfolio company progress on environmental and governance goals. That represents rapid growth for the consortium led by Carlyle Group and California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Just in September, their ranks included limited and general partners managed less than half that sum.

Brandon Zero