Returns with Responsibility
One of the founding principles of Apis Partners is the strong desire to create positive social impact in the regions and communities that we invest in. We seek to create positive impact through our work and we are focused on this.
We achieve this by making investments in companies that serve low and middle-income consumers (directly and indirectly), that create good quality equal opportunity employment, and that contribute to the deepening of the financial sector in the regions in which they operate in.
We also achieve this by recognising the importance of rigorous environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) principles, and by actively encouraging the adoption of these within our portfolio companies.
Our commitment to ESG and Impact (‘ESGI’) allows us create value in a sustainable way, and deliver on our twin-goals of financial returns and social impact, to ultimately deliver Returns with Responsibility.
Our responsible investment agenda
Apis’ responsible investment agenda spans a focus on:
ESG & Impact (‘ESGI’)
ESG – We recognise that adherence to solid ESG principles is the only way for us and our portfolio companies to maximise the impact we create, and is a blueprint for doing business in the right way
Impact – We adopt an outcome-based investing approach which inherently incorporates impact creation as a specific type of return and source of value created for investors
When making private equity investments into impactful business models, we see the longer-term commercial viability of those business models as one of the most important factors in ensuring that their created impact can be sustained into the long-term – growth and profitability in turn can drive wider and deeper impact
Financial sector development
Through investing in companies that democratise access to more transparent and affordable financial services, increasing financial inclusion and financial wellness, and deepening the formal financial sector
Our impact investment criteria
Apis actively invests in inherently impactful companies that can fulfil the following three dimensions:
Companies that provides essential financial products, services, or infrastructure, that serve low and middle-income communities
Usage of these companies’ products result in improvements in quality of life (including increased income or reduced expenses) for these communities, as well as for other stakeholders
These companies generate high quality equal opportunity employment
AIMS - the Apis Impact Management System
‘What gets measured, gets managed’, and what gets managed, gets effected.
To measure, manage, and report the impact created by Apis’ investment activities, we have created AIMS – the Apis Impact Management System, which incorporates our proprietary impact measurement framework. AIMS helps us to optimise our impact creation activities, actively manage risks to impact, and ultimately increase the overall impact created by Apis. AIMS helps us define a theory of change for our focus on the financial services sector overall, as well as the definition of specific impact theses for each portfolio company that we invest in.
AIMS also incorporates our approach to ESG risk mitigation within our portfolio companies, though expands this to help us seek areas of ESG opportunity in our portfolio companies also.
The impact measurement framework within AIMS was designed to provide specificity for measuring impact within financial services, through the collection of quantitative as well as qualitative data that is arranged in mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive (‘MECE’) groupings.
AIMS also incorporates the principles and five dimensions of impact outlined by the Impact Management Project (IMP), as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, allowing us to improve and benchmark impact performance to global best practice standards and objectives.
Delivering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, or UN SDGs, are are a universal call for all global stakeholders to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people globally enjoy peace and prosperity.
These goals are an integral part of Apis’ overall impact management system – we measure performance against these goals, and we help to drive awareness of them within the ecosystem that we operate in.
Apis and Apis portfolio companies contribute to nine of the goals.
Maximising our impact collectively
We believe that one of the most impactful things that we can do is share our passion for business-led impact amongst the broader responsible investment ecosystem.
Apis consciously operates in the centre of a rich ecosystem of ESG & Impact focused participants, and we feel we have a responsibility to actively seek opportunities to share our expertise, gain ideas to further improve our ESGI processes, and help to advance the conversation around these issues. We do this in different ways:
- As a signatory of the UN Principles of Responsible Investment since our inception, we remain committed to promoting the six Principles
- Apis is one of the founding signatories to the Center for Financial Inclusion’s Responsible Finance Forum – Investor Guidelines for Responsible Investing in Digital Financial Services demonstrating publicly our goal of helping to strengthen the resilience of digital finance customers and their ecosystems
- Apis also participates in many industry events throughout the year as an attendee, speaker, and panellist on ESG and Impact issues, and we also engage in specific collaborations with impact- and financial inclusion / wellness-focused organisations
Apis’ Code of Responsible Investment
Apis’ Code of Responsible Investment, our ESGI Policy, sets out requirements, recommendations and management systems to invest responsibly. This outlines our commitment to ESGI, and also what we require from Apis’ portfolio companies in this regard.
Through this Code, Apis works closely with portfolio companies to make required improvements to build sustainable value creation into the core operations of their businesses. This starts with basic compliance requirements and works towards the adoption of internationally recognised standards of best practice, including from European DFIs, ILO Conventions, and the IFC Performance Standards.
The ESG standards that our portfolio companies adhere to are greater than those required by local law in the regions within which they operate.