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At Sarona, we believe in the power of investing for positive change. As a company dedicated to making a difference through our investments, we understand the significance of promoting gender equality and diversity. That is why we became a part of the 2X Global Initiative, a global association that is working towards advancing gender lens investments.
Aimed at understanding the current state of women’s representation within the Sarona portfolio and assessing alignment with the 2x Challenge, our Impact Team has investigated each Fund Manager and their portfolio companies’ internal operations including leadership and over-all workforce, policies and practices to promote workplace gender equality and diversity. Investments have been categorized by sector to further gauge women’s economic participation and inclusion.
The Sarona Global Growth Markets Funds (SGGM), our flagship program, has two funds with a total of $235 million in committed capital and works with 21 Fund Managers, investing in 26 funds and 11 co-investments. The portfolio comprises of 126 companies across Africa/MENA, Asia, Latin America, and Emerging Europe.
Sarona observed increased women representation across various roles over the last two years. Overall, 67% of the 21 Fund Managers are 2X aligned, with 14 meeting the criteria for women in management positions and women employees. In terms of leadership roles, there is a 23% median of women in Executive/Partner roles, which is close to the 2X benchmark of 25%. However, there is underperformance in women on Boards and on investment committees, with a median of 0%.
Despite underperformance in certain areas, Sarona will continue to work towards better alignment in the future. Technical assistance programs have been made available to support our Fund Managers to improve these areas, and 89% of our Fund Managers indicated an interest in such support.
In terms of policies, Sarona’s Fund Managers perform well, which we owe to the fact that many are well-established firms which already have stated objectives related to social and/or gender impact.
Most of the 126 companies operate in sectors of consumer goods and services, industrials, financial services, and technology. 77% are 2X Challenge aligned because the number of women employees meets or exceeds the 2X threshold of 30%-50%. In addition, there is above average representation at management levels, with 36% women managers in 2021. Similarly, to what we observe at the Fund Manager level, the representation at senior levels at the companies, in particular Boards, lags at 14%, which is below the benchmark set by 2X.
Sarona holds a unique position as an investor in a global emerging market portfolio of funds and companies with the ability to influence gender patterns by indicating this as a priority early in the engagement and by being able to benchmark an individual investment’s performance to a larger portfolio.
Leading by Example
As a firm, Sarona is 2X Challenge aligned according to the leadership and consumption criteria. Women are represented in Board (33%), Investment Committee (37.5%) and Partners (25%). One of the impact mandates that Sarona manages, the Emerging Impact Investment Fund (EMIIF), is focused on making gender lens investments. Our firm has gender conscious policies, including flexible work, generous parental leave, and sexual harassment prevention. With diversity and inclusion (D&I) as priorities, we have an active D&I Committee. Sarona has also authored a series of benchmarking reports for our Fund Managers containing specific recommendations with the purpose of informing and improving a common approach to gender lens investing.
Sarona Asset Management
Sarona is a private investment firm, investing growth capital in companies and private equity funds in Global Growth Markets. We support our clients in implementing impactful investment strategies and operating to the highest standards of business, ethical, social and environmental excellence.
Sarona is a member of AVPN, the largest platform and networking organisation for social investment in Asia.
Further details of how Sarona and our Investees aligned with the 2X Challenge objectives are available in the report here.
More about the 2X Challenge: https://www.2xchallenge.org/