What It Means to Be a Unicorn

What It Means to Be a Unicorn

Assent’s purpose is to drive deep supply chain transparency and help manufacturers win more market share with stronger ethical and environmental best practices. Year after year, I am reminded of the importance of our mission when I see the extensive growth in global sustainability regulations, and when business leaders and our customers tell me how vital supply chain data and ESG performance evidence is to them.

This year, that message came in loud and clear: we recently earned the rare distinction of “unicorn” status, which is given to startups with a valuation of more than $1 billion USD. Assent also fundraised $350 million USD with Vista Equity Partners in one of the largest raises in Canadian software company history — placing us among fewer than 10 Canadian software unicorns. While this is an enormous achievement for Assent as a company, it is also an undeniable indicator from the business community that supply chains, and supply chain sustainability, matter more than ever.

Supply Chain Sustainability Wins Markets

Sustainability is a supply chain issue. Governments and companies around the world are recognizing that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) footprints extend outside a given business to the entire supply chain. In fact, the majority of risks and bad actors are typically in the supply chain. The pressure to improve ESG and sustainability performance is fierce. By investment, size, and growth, Assent is the clear leader in the ESG space as our solution and expertise provide deeper visibility and evidence into where supply chain ESG risks are hidden.

Sustainability management is a challenge for any company, but it’s toughest for complex manufacturers that have extensive global supply chains with thousands of partners and tens of thousands of parts that make up the final product. By helping these manufacturers see deeper and be smarter about resource extraction, their parts of parts, and who they do business with, we give them the critical information needed to grow better and win in their chosen markets of today and in the future.

Raising more than$500 million USD in five years in four rounds of financing and being recognized as a unicorn is proof that supply chain sustainability matters — a lot! And that leading manufacturers share our vision for supply chain transparency. They understand that winning over consumers and dominating markets now requires that you know exactly what’s in your supply chain. Manufacturers, consumers, regulators, and investors have made it clear that supply chains are the missing link in sustainable, global business strategies.

Our goal is to deliver deep supply chain insights to make it easier to achieve supply chain transparency. Assent reveals what’s hidden, validates what’s good, and helps eliminate unwanted surprises so the world’s forward-thinking complex manufacturing companies can be successful today and in the future. Using this deep insight — down to the parts of every product level — to become more sustainable, is resonating with manufacturers. It aligns with what they need in the market at this precise moment. It means Assent has a deep understanding of how to capture the sustainability evidence that companies require in order to win, and we’re poised to meet manufacturers’ requirements.

All of this fills me with great optimism that global economies are prioritizing a more comprehensive view of ESG management. We all need to work together to create more transparent supply chains that better serve people and our planet.

A Growth Mindset Needs Supply Chain Transparency

When Assent was founded less than a decade ago, the concept of supply chain transparency was new to the business solutions market. Yet, we were able to build a business on exactly this new way of thinking. Companies knew they had to understand their own products to comply with global regulations, but in solving the compliance puzzle, the importance of supply chains was sometimes overlooked. Industry leaders, however, started seeing that deeper insights into supply chains resulted in stronger compliance data and the capacity for enhanced, proactive decision-making — an integral part of growing faster than the competition. Companies with a growth mindset not only began to pursue ambitious sustainability programs, they saw the bigger picture of how their suppliers around the world play a crucial role in their ESG footprint.

And it’s not only manufacturers that see the growth potential from improved engagement with their supply chain; the world’s largest investment firms are rewarding companies that take an ESG evidenced-based approach to their supply chain. In fact, they’re doubling down on how they evaluate performance using international standards like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). These standards are designed to connect investors and businesses, providing a common language around ESG — and both methodologies emphasize supply chain transparency. In order to attract investors and grow, companies need to engage with these standards and with their suppliers as a core operating principle.

Investors representing over $50 trillion in assets (by 2025) will use ESG scoring in tandem with financial indicators to assess performance. But they all want to be assured that the data/evidence is reliable and verifiable. This is why investors trust Assent and have turned to us to continue developing supply chain sustainability solutions for the complex manufacturing industry.

The investment community is driving ESG adoption and for good reason, but it’s not the whole story… It’s about the ability to proactively identify and manage risk, accelerate market access and growth, and promote brand reputation. It’s about being a forward-thinking company creating and delivering products that don’t harm our planet and its people. It’s about meeting consumers where they are — desiring and purchasing products and supporting brands that they are proud to support because they meet this new consumer standard.

What Comes Next

Demand for supply chain sustainability performance and reporting is higher than ever, and Assent is answering the call. With the guidance of two new members from the Vista Foundation Fund on our Board of Directors, we are continuing our development of new, advanced solutions for supply chain transparency and ESG. We are growing with purpose, building partnerships, and investing in deepening our international ESG expertise with new team members.

I invite you to be part of this journey with us. Assent is a purpose-driven company. Our team understands the bigger picture and the significant impact of the work we do to help companies gain rapid transparency into their supply chains and ensure their products are made with environmental and human health in mind. And we’re always seeking manufacturing professionals who are passionate and want to bring sustainable supply chain practices to their company — our team of experts is ready with a broad range of solutions to meet all your supply chain transparency needs.

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