If it’s not ethical it’s not scalable
”We fundamentally believe that working actively with sustainability and ESG matters is key to high and sustainable value creation”
VEF’s purpose is to create long term sustainable value for our shareholders by investing in the future of finance across the emerging world. The fundament of VEF’s overall mission and strategy are our core values, which form the basis for how we conduct the business in a sustainable way. The core values are always on our minds to guide us in our mission and strategy for building a successful investment company.
We are an active and responsible shareholder and we take corporate governance very seriously, both with regards to how we conduct our business and how portfolio companies conduct theirs.
Integrity in everything we do
We are transparent, open, honest, fair and ethical towards all stakeholders: our investors, employees, investments, suppliers and the communities served.
Respect for people and diversity
We seek diversity of thought and background and respect the individual. Innovation and success, come out of bringing people together from different backgrounds, with different ideas, strengths and experiences.
Good citizens of the world
We strive to make returns by positive social impact – participate in the creation of economic opportunities for those without, advance new technologies and business models that are sustainable and improve financial intermediation.
Our ambition is to integrate sustainability into all aspects of our own business but also our investment process and ownership of portfolio companies. VEF is committed to continuously improve our sustainability and ESG practices for the benefit of all our stakeholders.
Sustainability at VEF
For VEF, sustainability has two dimensions: 1) sustainability at VEF as a company and investor and 2) sustainability in our portfolio companies. VEF is a small company, but we recognize the value and importance in conducting a sustainable and ESG compliant business for our long-term and sustainable growth as an investment company. Our most meaningful and effective impact comes from our capital and our portfolio companies.
We conduct our business in a socially responsible manner and are committed to being a responsible member of the communities in which we operate and recognize the mutual benefits of engaging and building relationships with these communities. In everything VEF does, we want to be commercial and fair, to maintain our integrity and professionalism and to respect the needs of shareholders, employees, suppliers, the local community and the businesses in which we invest.
With our core values at the forefront, we have established the sustainability principles by which we live and measure VEF. You can find the sustainability principles in our Sustainability Policy.
Sustainability in our portfolio companies is also addressed on two levels:
1. Ensuring that all portfolio companies conduct fair, ethical, non-discriminating and ESG-compliant businesses to allow long-term sustainable growth.
2. The positive impact they may have on the society by enabling financial inclusion of consumers and SMEs in emerging and frontier markets. While the first is a fundamental requirement for long-term and sustainable businesses, the second is taking responsibility for bettering the world.
Our ambition and goal are that our capital positively impact the financial inclusion of consumers and SMEs in emerging markets while staying true to our mandate of creating shareholder value.
Our sustainability work is focused on three core areas that we believe are the most relevant and effective to VEF and the portfolio companies given that we invest specifically in fintech companies in emerging and frontier markets. Not all of VEF’s geographies have adequate local laws and regulations that meet VEF’s ethical standards – as an example, there may be issues with corruption in some of these countries. In addition, financial services companies are often regulated and deal with large amounts of private data, hence the importance of regulatory compliance.
The UN Sustainble Development Goals
We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we believe in the importance of private businesses contributing to the goals for them to be achieved. VEF’s main contribution to the SDGs is via our portfolio companies and specifically the financial inclusion of consumers and SMEs and the positive impact that has on several of the SDGs.
By investing in fintech companies in emerging markets, we are convinced that we positively contribute to society and the SDGs. We see economic prosperity as an enabler to tackle both fundamental issues such as poverty, hunger and literacy, but also as a means for societies to develop and advance. We have specifically identified that we contribute to the following SDGs:
(1) No Poverty
(2) Zero Hunger
(3) Good Health and Well-being
(5) Gender Equality
(8) Decent Work and Economic Growth
(10) Reduced Inequalities
Responsible Investments and Shareholding
Our investment decision making process is driven by a strong belief in: (1) sustainability as a fundamental part of business and (2) the power of active shareholding, to ensure strong governance and responsible business practices.
VEF has a value-based approach to investments and our main strategy is to deliver high returns to our shareholders. In addition, we integrate ESG considerations in our investments and we are strong believers in the positive impact fintech companies in emerging markets can have on the SDGs. The majority of our portfolio companies contribute positively to the SDGs.
VEF invests in those companies that we believe will be able to contribute to VEF’s overall goal of achieving good investment returns over the long-run. We fundamentally believe that working actively with sustainability and ESG matters is key to high and sustainable value creation. An ESG strategy is often essential for building a strong trademark and preserving a company’s good reputation as well as reducing risks in the business. This, in turn, is vital for safeguarding a company’s long-term supply of capital and often key to attract and retain the best employees.
VEF’s Responsible Investment and Shareholding Policy sets out our core principles and can be viewed below.
Finance as a force for good
One of our core values is to positively impact the world. By investing in fintech companies in emerging markets, we are convinced that we positively contribute to the respective societies in which our portfolio companies are active and that we positively contribute to the financial inclusion of consumers and SMEs in emerging markets and thus the SDGs on a local and larger scale. You can read more about how we think fintech in emerging markets is a force for good and how our portfolio companies play a part in this here.
Since 2020, we are a proud signatory member of the Responsible Finance Forum, a global community with the main goal to promote responsible investing and practices within the digital finance industry. By sharing knowledge and experiences, the aim with the forum is to harness evidence, solutions and best practices to advance responsible investments and innovation for digital financial inclusion. This includes promoting responsible financing practices, such as fair and transparent pricing and terms, data privacy and security as well as working to prevent over-indebtedness. VEF is committed to helping and guiding portfolio companies to improve their practices as well as interact with the wider investment community to collaborate on the furthering of responsible financing practices.
We are also members of the Sweden’s Sustainable Investment Forum (Swesif), working for sustainable investing in Sweden, and Impact Invest Sweden, working to foster impact investments among Swedish financial market participants.
The Board of Directors of VEF adopts multiple policies on a yearly basis to ensure that the way we conduct business remains sustainable. Management has further implemented guidelines and practices to ensure compliance with VEF’s various policies and sustainability principles. The relevant policies, guidelines and internal practices have been comprised into one Sustainability Policy and a Responsible Investment and Shareholding Policy that you can find here: