We have, through our investments, consistently entwined our commercial goals with developing better businesses that create lasting positive impact in the communities they operate in. We work with our partner Development Finance Institutions in ensuring our firm and funds embed and promote ESG considerations across all aspects of our business.
Corporate governance, business Integrity and regulatory compliance are fundamental values at ACA and are at the core of our interactions with investee companies, employees and the wider environment. ACA assists investee companies in the development and implementation of corporate policies.
ACA promotes world-class health and safety practices amongst its employees and across its investments. We have an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) policy which enables us proactively manage health and safety risks while promoting safe and healthy working conditions.
Our investments increase the number of direct and indirect jobs in portfolio companies. As at 2019, ACA’s portfolio companies supported over 20,000 full-time jobs with over 95% of the jobs held by locals. Over 5,000 new direct jobs have been created as a result of the investments made by our private equity funds.
We help portfolio companies adopt and implement robust international health and safety frameworks, whistle-blowing and other corporate governance policies.
Through their CSR initiatives, our portfolio companies provide sustainable solutions to socio-economic challenges in education, health, access to water, youth unemployment, SME support, infrastructure, etc. They support community inclusive and development initiatives that create short, medium and long-term value for the communities they operate in.
ACA investee companies offer a wide range of financial products including insurance, pensions, payment solutions and credit while enhancing opportunities for individuals and businesses to access financial services.
Continental Reinsurance, one of our investee companies, partners with various organizations and governments in Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe to offer over 10 million smallholder farmers insurance protection against crop failures.
Another investee, Global Accelerex provides electronic payment and financial technology solutions in Nigeria and Ghana. Global Accelerex supports 95% of Nigerian banks and over 90,000 merchants across Nigeria. Its agency banking arm is a major driver of financial inclusion in Nigeria and has grown its agent network to over 9,000 agents with plans to reach 40,000 agents by the end of 2021. With ACA’s investment, Accelerex plans to expand into Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.
Access Bank Plc’s “BETA” account type provides micro entrepreneurs convenience and ease of access to financial services, the two main issues typically cited as barriers to participating in formal financial services.
ACA is committed to sustainable development by incorporating resource-efficient designs in its buildings. In Nigeria, ACA developed the first commercial EDGE certified building, Cornerstone Tower, Lagos. The Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification is a green-building certification launched by the International Finance Corporation to champion the construction of resource-efficient buildings in emerging markets. Cornerstone Tower utilizes 31% less energy, 53% less water and 23% less materials’ embodied energy. In addition to the environmental benefits, the reduction in energy and water use translates to a reduction in maintenance costs.
ACA seeks to support investee companies in exploring and implementing resource efficiency initiatives such as through recycling, water and energy considerations, which reduce operating costs while minimizing environmental impact. Union Bank has implemented a resource efficiency program centred around continually reducing the business’s environmental footprint across its branches nationwide. As of 2019, 45% less water was consumed across the bank’s locations. The bank had 99 solar-powered branches and 61 solar-powered ATMs.
We recognize the economic benefits of gender-inclusive businesses. Women play significant roles at different levels within our investee companies, from junior to senior-level positions in wide-ranging functions and sectors, as well as in our supply chains.
ACA’s portfolio companies are equal opportunity employers. As at 2020, the companies had 38% female employees, 812 in management and 21% on the board. In the five-year period from 2015-2020, there was an 18% rise in the number of women in full-time employment in ACA portfolio companies.
Our portfolio companies are committed to providing female and family friendly workplaces. Some of our companies have sexual abuse policies and anonymous grievance reporting mechanisms. There are also companies who have introduced maternity and paternity leave periods in excess of statutorily mandated periods.
In 2019, the International Financial Corporation commissioned a gender case study on Daraju Industries, a leading household and personal care manufacturing company based in Ogun State, Nigeria. Over 42% women in its workforce and supply chain network are women. One-third of the company’s approximately 1,200 distributors are women. To unlock the potential of female entrepreneurs in Daraju’s distributor channel, the company provides access to technology, logistics and financing opportunities for some women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises to eliminate business growth barriers.
In addition to increasing the gender parity of full time employees, our portfolio companies are keen on providing female entrepreneurs opportunities to join their supply chains. As at 2020, ACA’s Fast-Moving Consumer Goods businesses support over 650 women-led MSMEs in their supply chains. Union Bank of Nigeria Plc’s “Alpher Woman” platform provides financial services, capacity building, networking and business promotion opportunities for women-owned businesses.
Cornerstone Tower, Nigeria’s first EDGE Certified Commercial Building
ACA invested in the construction of Cornerstone Tower, a 12-floor office building in Lagos, Nigeria. The tower is the first commercial building in Nigeria to achieve EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification. EDGE was launched by the International Financial Corporation as a green-building certification programme to help developers in emerging markets reduce their buildings’ energy and water consumption as well as lower greenhouse-gas emissions. Resource-efficient buildings are an important intervention tool in combating climate change. The tower’s energy-efficient features ensure that it consumes 31% less energy and water-conservation measures translate to a 53% reduction in water usage.
ACA's Approach to COVID-19
In developing a response to the several challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, ACA conducted a COVID-19 ESG risk assessment on its portfolio to ascertain the level of exposure to COVID-19 associated risks. High-risk companies were consequently prioritized in terms of social and governance implications. We leveraged our network and resources to empower our investee companies to deploy top-down robust ESG interventions, prevent the spread of COVID-19, enable business continuity and support local communities.
Overall, ACA’s efforts and support from our network of Development Finance Institutions played a pivotal role in protecting our people and creating resilience across our investee companies.
Our investee companies donated approximately $ 7.6 million (in cash and kind) to support government initiatives and cushion the impact on millions of individuals.