Macro Forum: The Street View

Macro Article

People drive Performance

Torbjorn Caesar

by Torbjorn Caesar
Senior Partner
London

People drive Performance Image

Atlas’ Solar Plant, Sertao Solar, State of Bahia, Brazil. From left to right: María José Cortés – Head of ESG, Luciana Gérez – HSE Specialist, Raquel Azevedo – Social Innovation and Marcela Pizzi – Head of People.

I am delighted to introduce this special edition of the Macro Forum Street View publication.

Amidst the disruption of a global pandemic, we are finally having meaningful conversations on some hugely important themes around diversity, inclusion, equality and sustainability.

These discussions have in no small way been catalysed by the momentum of movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. 

They are sometimes challenging, uncomfortable conversations, but I think we must have the courage to continue them and the conviction to act.

The pandemic is first and foremost a human crisis. As investors, we are responsible not only for keeping the lights on in the countries, cities, and communities in which we operate, but we have a moral duty to protect the welfare of our 120,000 portfolio company employees. We have been able to make positive interventions that mitigate the risk for the local community, whilst safeguarding the interests of employees and other stakeholders who have entrusted us with their capital.

"I believe that at Actis and for the businesses we invest in, a diverse team operating in an inclusive culture makes better decisions."

These sorts of interventions have elevated the ‘S’ of ESG – something which comes up time and again as we communicate with our LPs about how COVID-19 is affecting their investments and the actions we have been able to take.

I think this focus on “Social” will be recognised at a macro level- as the world rebuilds, we need to recognise that human capital (people) will be the greatest driver of recovery and that building equitable and inclusive societies will help to drive prosperity and wealth creation. This only achieves full potential through inclusion, partnership and development.

In the report we provide our Street View on how some of these issues are panning out – both at a macro and micro levels – through the eyes of our investee companies and investment teams. We also focus on the actions and interventions we are making together to engender and facilitate inclusive cultures within our investee companies.

I wanted to leave you with my own take on why inclusion and diversity matters. 

Quite simply it’s about people, decisions and a stimulating, challenging and enjoyable working environment.

I believe that at Actis and for the businesses we invest in, a diverse team operating in an inclusive culture makes better decisions.

The decisions we make and the actions we take mean we deliver superior financial performance for our investors and positive impacts for the countries, cities and communities in which we operate.

Diverse groups make better decisions and create a more enjoyable working environment. We lead with inclusion at Actis because we recognise it is the best way to attract and retain the best people. 

Acting in partnership and mutual support drives better outcomes for all.

There is so much evidence that points to this and for Actis the benefit is clear - it is not only the right thing to do but it’s obvious that having multiple perspectives around the table ensures that every angle is covered in a discussion, that we don’t avoid the tricky subjects, risks and scenarios are properly considered, and value creation is as creative as it can be. We want Actis to be an enjoyable, stimulating place to work.

Inclusion and Diversity are important to the people who work at Actis and within our portfolio today, important to the people we want to work with in the future and important to our investors.

The decisions we make and the actions we take mean we deliver superior financial performance for our investors and positive impacts for the countries, cities and communities in which we operate.

We are focused on ensuring that we improve representation at all levels ,that our people feel proud of where they work, feel that they belong, and are able to realise their potential as part of Actis. We are applying this approach to the thousands employed throughout our portfolio and we are already witnessing how a thoughtful approach to inclusion and diversity efforts can be amplified.

Inclusion and Diversity at Actis is a work in progress, but we’re not at a standing start and there is a huge amount of activity taking place. 

I’m delighted that this special edition captures some of that and provides an important platform to continue to celebrate success and share learnings as we continue the journey.

Please do read the report, watch the podcasts and we welcome your comments, questions and insights.