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1 Mar 2019

Stephen Peel, Novalpina Capital

Novalpina Capital's response to NGO coalition's open letter of 18 February 2019

On 18 February 2019, an NGO coalition published an open letter addressed to Novalpina Capital, cc: NSO Group and Francisco Partners. On 1 March 2019, Stephen Peel of Novalpina Capital wrote this letter in response.

... Firstly, I want to state my own clear commitment to good corporate governance, to the rights of NGOs, journalists and dissidents to hold both governments and corporations accountable for their actions, and to the protection of human rights...

The private equity fund that I co-founded and co-lead, Novalpina Capital, is committed to operating under the highest standards of corporate governance, acting with integrity and a respect for human rights at all times. We are a signatory to the UN Principles on Responsible Investing, and we build ESG evaluations (including from a human rights perspective) into our investment decision processes and operating practices. We believe that in addition to creating financial returns for our investors, we should aim to eliminate during our ownership, as far as possible, any societal harms a business may produce.

We believe that every business in which we invest – including NSO – can and should be operated in accordance with all aspects of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “UN Guiding Principles”), including a commitment to robust transparency in line with those Principles.

... In our view, a commitment to protect one aspect of human rights (the citizen’s right to privacy and freedom of expression) that is strengthened by the use of end-to-end encryption must be matched by a willingness to act when it is clear that another aspect of human rights (the citizen’s right to life, personal liberty, security and bodily integrity) is at risk as a result of that technology.