Private equity ESG fund manager Abris Capital Partners has launched a practical diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) code for the firm and its portfolio companies.
The DEI Code contains six key commitments, covering education, governance, ownership and process, as well as a commitment from Abris to promote inclusivity within private equity. The code also includes DEI recommendations that consultants and other contractors must adhere to when working with Abris.
The results can be observed and measured through Abris’ proprietary ESG scoring application, allowing the company to monitor the impact of the program. Abris said its current DEI programs have already delivered tangible results, with the share of women in management positions at portfolio companies increasing from 26% in 2021 to 49% in 2022, and that every Abris company has undergone DEI training in the past year. The new code aims to build on these results.
“People determine whether we succeed or fail,” says Pawel Gierynski, managing partner of Abris.
“By putting people first, ensuring we understand their needs and building an organization that accommodates everyone as equals, we will better respond to the challenges of a changing world and drive value creation in our portfolio companies can optimize. That is why we developed our DEI code.”
The code was developed by the Abris DEI working group in collaboration with external experts. The six commitments that Abris wants to achieve within all its portfolio companies from 2023 are:
- Creating a culture of “DEI readiness” through education, internal dialogue, and the adoption of best market practices.
- Ensure at least 30% of the underrepresented gender in the composition of supervisory boards and leadership of portfolio companies.
- Appointment of the Chief People Officer as a member of the Board of Directors of each portfolio company to elevate HR and DEI topics to a strategic level.
- Building formalized and transparent HR systems with industry-relevant DEI chapters in every portfolio company.
- Prioritize continuous learning based on monitoring and reporting through the ESG scoring application.
- Promoting DEI in the private equity ecosystem, taking leadership in building DEI in advisor relationships.
“DEI may be the most difficult element of ESG to get right, but it is one of the most important,” says Robert Sroka, value improvement partner at Abris.
“When we achieve truly inclusive workplaces, management decisions, strategic direction and HR policies will all be shaped by diverse, united, motivated, aware and committed teams. That is our ultimate goal.”
Abris has almost 1.3 billion euros in investment capital and in May this year was the first private equity house in Central Europe to receive B Corp accreditation.