Due to the smaller magnitude of their operations, SMEs and MFIs IPAE invests in usually involve lower ESG risk than large companies and rarely have an effective internal ESG management. However, they involve significant social and environmental opportunities in terms of value creation and their fast growth requires a structured approach which needs to be implemented as early as possible.
For each investment opportunity, we are consequently committed to pay attention to ESG matters (risks as well as opportunities) at all stages of the investment process, from initial screening until the final exit. Our methodology is adapted from the CDC toolkit, a reference tool for private equity funds investing in developing countries. We put a specific emphasis on seizing value creation opportunities, with a double bottom line approach (energy efficiency is an example of this win-win approach). Once invested in a company, our main role is to help companies draft, implement and monitor annual ESG action plans.
On our portfolio as a whole, our ESG strategy is to pool resources around some objectives we consider as strategic for African SMEs, as described previously. This results in shared actions at the portfolio level, with the aim to provide our investee companies with innovative and replicable ESG solutions
As « impact investors», we believe that we can generate measurable impact on local development. But we definitely need to track, analyze and report on this impact performance. I&P has developed a specific impact assessment and monitoring system, including, among others, IRIS metrics (catalog of generally accepted performance metrics for impact investors). Quantitative and qualitative data are collected each year from our investee companies, in order to better understand their impact on their local environment (in terms of job creation, access to goods and services, local knock-on effects, contribution to the national added value, etc.).
IPAE's investors are provided with a detailed impact and ESG reporting, on a yearly basis.