Committed to investments with a positive impact that contribute to a sustainable world
AT SPEAR, RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT IS A THREAD THAT WEAVES THROUGH EVERYTHING WE DO.
To support this, we’ve aligned our investment framework with a targeted selection of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to make sure that our value proposition goes beyond the businesses we invest in and the investors we serve, extending to job creation and retention, the elevation of previously marginalised communities, and helps to build healthier and stronger businesses, societies and economies. We focus on labour-intensive industries and work hand-in-hand with our portfolio companies to improve their overall sustainability.
Please see our 2022 Sustainability and Impact Report.
Whilst Spear is not a Gender-smart only investor, we build aspects of the gender-smart process into our investment mandate. We’ve not only invested in women-led businesses, but also companies that have gender-equal hiring practices. By applying a gender lens within the investment process, we’re working to mitigate gender biases and identify opportunities to serve women customers throughout the investment lifecycle.
Sustained and inclusive economic growth can drive progress, create decent jobs for all and improve living standards. At Spear our focus is to guide, upskill, and grow the companies we invest in, thereby creating jobs and generating increased revenues, including associated taxes. We invest across a range of sectors, focusing primarily on labour-intensive and key economic sectors such as manufacturing, service, and retail-oriented businesses which create jobs where they’re needed most.
Climate change is one of the most important global issues of our time and the actions we take today will define the future we build tomorrow. At Spear, we believe the private equity sector is uniquely positioned to catalyse the transition to a low carbon economy. That’s why we’re integrating climate-related risk management into our investment lifecycle to measure and report the carbon intensity of all our portfolio companies and identify assets that could benefit from emissions reduction-related engagements.
As a commitment to responsible investment we have developed four policies which focus on Environmental, Social and Governance; Anti-bribery and Corruption; Human Rights; and Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity
These are outlined in more detail below:
Spear considers the management of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues as a critically important investment consideration to ensure a positive impact on communities and the environments in which we operate. In order to mitigate risk, protect capital and create value, we’ve adopted this ESG Policy, which is enabled by our Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS). The ESMS outlines how we integrate and manage ESG aspects in our investment analysis and decision-making processes, and how we work in partnership with our investee companies to drive individual ESG performance, maximising value for our investors and the long-term sustainability of these businesses.
Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity Policy
Spear is committed to workplace diversity and fostering a culture of equality, inclusion and belonging across our organisation. For Spear, diversity and inclusion means to respect and value difference, including but not limited to dimensions such as sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, education, political belief, disability, family or marital status, and socio-economic status. We believe everyone has the right to a safe and inclusive work environment and, as such, bias and discrimination against these characteristics and others is not tolerated at Spear. To ensure that our workforce, whether temporary, part-time or full-time, feels respected, we’ve adopted this Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity Policy.
Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy
Spear is committed to maintaining the highest standards of honesty, integrity and ethical conduct. To ensure consistent and effective investigation, reporting, recovery and disclosure of acts of corruption and bribes within Spear and its portfolio companies, we have adopted this Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy.
Human Rights Policy
Spear recognises that respect for human dignity and the rights of all people is critical for the sustainability of our company. We remain committed to addressing both adverse human rights risks and impacts to facilitate an environment wherein human rights are respected, while paying special attention to the rights of potentially vulnerable groups. To identify, assess and minimise potential adverse human rights impacts Spear may cause or contribute to, or that are linked to business activities, we’ve adopted this Human Rights Policy to ensure ongoing due diligence and appropriate management.
In a constantly evolving business environment, responsible investing is vital to building sustainable businesses. That’s why we work closely with our prospective investors and portfolio companies to understand, reduce, and manage Environmental, Social and Governance-related risks and leverage the opportunities to which they are exposed during the investment process. This ensures that we are able to protect capital and create value, thereby enhancing long-term returns for our investors whilst fulfilling our fiduciary roles.
Environmental and Social Management System
Our Fund Level Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) describes how we integrate ESG into our investment lifecycle and is outlined below:
Once a potential deal has been identified, Spear conducts an initial ESG screening to identify if there are any material breaches of Spear’s ESG Policy and Exclusions List and inform the fund whether to progress to a full preliminary review.
The preliminary review is undertaken to inform the deal team and Investment Committee of any key ESG issues, risks and impact.
A key step for Spear is the Pre-Mortem stage. This is an in-depth assessment of the potential deal to identify counterarguments to avoid confirmation bias. This is done to avoid blind spots and an overly optimistic assessment. Once the wider Spear team (wider than the deal team) has had an opportunity to understand the deal and assess counterarguments, we meet to debate any additional risks and disconfirming evidence uncovered.
In preparation for the first Investment Committee presentation and approval, a Term Sheet associated with the deal is prepared which includes all ESG considerations to be agreed on for the deal to take place.
The Deal Summary is presented to the Investment Committee enabling the committee to make an informed investment decision that takes ESG factors into account.
ESG due diligence processes are managed by the Spear deal team and Spear’s ESG Officer. Where required, Spear outsources ESG due diligence processes to consultants.
A post closing plan is drafted based on the outcomes of the due diligence process which, amongst other things, lays out any actions required to manage ESG aspects.
Investment Decision & Agreement
At this point, the Investment Committee is required to make an investment decision taking all factors, including ESG, into account.
The deal team is responsible for ensuring appropriate ESG representations, warranties, and covenants are incorporated within each investment agreement. This is done in collaboration with the ESG Officer.
Management & Monitoring
Spear undertakes continued engagement with portfolio companies post-investment to ensure that ESG management is integrated into their operations, Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes are effectively implemented, and that ESG opportunities are realised. During the implementation of the Post Closing Plan, following the investment agreement, all ESG aspects are supported by the Spear ESG Officer.
At the fund level, day-to-day management of ESG aspects are the responsibility of the ESG Officer who engages with Spear deal teams and portfolio companies to address ESG aspects in a timely manner.
At the portfolio company level, day-to-day management of ESG aspects are the responsibility of the portfolio companies themselves through the development and implementation of their ESMS. This is supported by the Spear ESG Officer as well as consultants where applicable.
Spear requires all operating entities to report on ESG performance on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Following the investment agreement, the deal team and ESG Officer will introduce each new portfolio company to these reporting requirements.
As ESG performance has become a significant measure of business health, value, and longevity, communicating successful ESG management is vital in demonstrating the value of portfolio businesses, the success of investments on exit, and maintaining a positive perception of both portfolio businesses and investors.
While exit may signal the end of an investment, it is not an end to the private equity lifecycle. The performance here can significantly impact how firms perform when fundraising for subsequent investments – the next stage of the cycle. Maintaining investor satisfaction is the key to ongoing success throughout the private equity lifecycle.
CORPORATE SOCIAL INVESTMENT
CSI has always been viewed as the charitable arm of the company, with its core focus being on social upliftment and environmental management. We at Spear invest in projects which focus on sustainable social development and environmental preservation initiatives that impact the communities we support.
Gogo Olive is a charity (Registered Charity SC041281) based in Zimbabwe and is providing employment for women. Their focus is on supporting women while they are in prison and after their release to give them hope for their futures. They teach their ladies how to knit a variety of products that are then marketed and sold. One of Gogo Olive’s main goals is to give each women the opportunity to earn a living wage (living wage (n.) – a wage sufficient for a worker and their family to live comfortably). Gogo Olive also provides the women with training in budgeting skills.
My Trees Trust
Spear has partnered with My Trees Trust to donate funds which offset Spears’ carbon footprint. The calculation used is based on the annual carbon footprint multiplied by Norway's carbon tax per tonne of CO2e. The calculation itself is not perfect but it provides a point of departure.
My Trees has grown rapidly to become the largest community-driven indigenous tree planting initiative in Southern Africa, driven by a goal shared widely by local communities, local corporates and of course the whole, environmentally aware world – to save vulnerable habitats and restore what has been lost.
Since beginning work with rural communities in August 2019, My Trees have planted 180,000 trees of new woodland whilst also securing of 120,000 ha of wilderness under new long-term leases in order to protect vulnerable habitat and restore once iconic wildlife populations.
Spear has partnered with a Zimbabwean football team that holds the aspirations of many talented young players. For Spear, the new partnership with Sky Eagles goes beyond just playing the beautiful game. In the next two years, we intend to use the power of football to reach the many vulnerable youths, sharing the message about the importance of getting an education while developing talent. We are also pleased that Sky Eagles is supporting a successful women’s netball team.