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Pole Star Acquires Vasanda to Strengthen Sustainability Agenda in Commodity Transactions


Pole Star has strengthened its sustainability screening offering by acquiring a controlling stake in Vasanda, a London-based startup in sustainability risk screening using real-time, empirical impact data.

The acquisition, which follows a successful growth investment in Pole Star in April 2021, will provide a ground-breaking new single-point, end-to-end screening solution for the full spectrum of risks across sanctions, compliance and sustainability in the global commodities trade. Within seconds, customers will have a 360-degree view of regulatory and sustainability risk relating to any actively traded commodity. 

The new joint solution will enable pre-trade sustainability risk screening of vessels and transactions, using historical data alongside Vasanda’s unique real-time monitoring of empirical climate impact data, which include risks such as deforestation, soil erosion, and fires. Vasanda also screens and validates environmental degradation, water productivity and human exploitation metrics that can be evident in certain commodity value chains. Combined with PurpleTRAC, this solution will enable users to screen and monitor the sustainability risk  for  any transaction and shipment from source to destination

“This exciting new partnership with Pole Star has come just at the right time for banks, lenders and companies engaged in the international trade finance supply chain,” said Philip Lilliefelth, acting CEO, Vasanda. “All around the globe, regulators and investors are intensely concerned about the environmental and social impact of the commodity industry.”

The end-to-end screening provided by the new combined interface will give banks and organisations engaged in international trade a radically improved, user-friendly, holistic understanding of their risk exposure at a time of rapidly evolving regulation and heightened concerns about the impact of the commodity supply chain on climate change and the ESG agenda.

Lilllifelth added: “Vasanda’s unique ability to track provenance, employ real-time empirical data and enable fast decision-making will fit perfectly with Pole Star’s market-leading expertise in the maritime sector. This is a solution that gives the commodities finance supply chain exactly what it needs to assess risk, maintain compliance and optimise performance. Global problems such as climate change require bold new approaches such as the union of Vasanda and Pole Star.”

EcoSphere screens for trade on a transaction level, for which Vasanda has built a risk profile for different commodities. Pole Star provides the critical intelligence about the vessel involved, and through its partnership with CarbonChain, enables customers to screen data for the vessel’s carbon emissions ratings, for a full assessment of climate impact and sustainability risk. This maximises maritime intelligence to provide prescient seaborne trade activity data.

“As our climate emergency worsens, there is an immediate need for greater transparency and accountability across the supply chain, particularly in the maritime industry,” said Julian Longson, Managing Director, Pole Star. “With the industry already facing regulatory scrutiny regarding sanctions compliance, our offering a single-point solution for regulatory and sustainability screening will increase the simplicity and efficiency of processes for all those with exposure to maritime trade.”

Michael Jankowski, Chairman of the Board, Pole Star, added: “Transparency is absolutely critical for companies in the management of their regulatory exposure, and their awareness of their environmental impact. This commitment and partnership enables companies to achieve exactly that and provides more visibility than ever before on the environmental and social impact of a maritime trade-based transaction. There is no time to spare in tackling the climate crisis, and this partnership, which I am thrilled about, exemplifies the crucial role that technology can and will play in paving the way for a cleaner, safer and more transparent future.”

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