Abris Capital launches DEI Code

ESG transformation specialist unveils its DEI Code – a practical programme of commitments on diversity, equity and inclusion to drive value creation across its portfolio.

31 October 2023, Warsaw – Abris Capital Partners (“Abris”), the ESG transformation specialist private equity investor, has launched its DEI Code – a series of commitments that aims to assist in building value for Abris and its portfolio companies through best practice in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The launch follows Abris’ accreditation as a B Corp earlier this year, when it became the first private equity house in Central Europe to achieve this status.

The DEI Code sets out six key commitments, covering education, governance, ownership and process, and culminating with a commitment from Abris to take on the role of DEI leadership, promoting inclusion across the private equity ecosystem. The Code also encompasses DEI recommendations that advisors and other contractors should adhere to when working with Abris.

Pawel Gierynski, Managing Partner of Abris, commented:
“People determine whether we succeed or fail. By putting people first, by ensuring we understand their needs and by building an organisation that accommodates everyone as equals, we will better respond to the challenges of a changing world, as well as optimising value creation in our portfolio companies. This is why we have developed our DEI Code.”

The Code – created by the Abris DEI Working Group in partnership with external experts – has been designed as a practical programme, where tangible results can be observed and measured through Abris’ proprietary ESG Scoring Application. This enables the firm to maximise the programme’s impact, and therefore its ability to transform diverse intellectual potential into inclusive teams with the ability to perform at the highest level.

The six commitments, which Abris aims to achieve across its portfolio companies, starting in 2023, are:

  1. Creating a culture of “DEI Readiness” through education, internal dialogue and the application of best market practices.
  2. Ensuring at least 30% of the underrepresented gender in the composition of supervisory boards and leadership of portfolio companies.
  3. Appointing the Chief People Officer (CPO) as a Management Board member in each portfolio company to elevate HR and DEI topics to the strategic level.
  4. Building formalised and transparent HR systems with industry relevant DEI chapters in each portfolio company.
  5. Prioritising constant learning based on monitoring and reporting via the ESG Scoring Application.
  6. Promoting DEI in the private equity ecosystem, taking leadership on building DEI into relationships with advisors.

Abris strives to take a leadership role in the development of ESG in private equity. Already, DEI programmes implemented by the firm have delivered tangible results; the proportion of women in management roles at portfolio companies rose from 26% in 2021 to 49% in 2022, and over the past year every Abris business has conducted DEI training. The aim of the DEI Code is to build on these positive results, to improve inclusion, and to demonstrate best practice across the firm’s entire portfolio.

Robert Sroka, Value Enhancement Partner at Abris, added:
“DEI is possibly the hardest element of ESG to get right, but one of the most important. Aside from the clear societal reasons for focusing DEI, research clearly shows that diverse teams perform better than uniform ones – often by a big margin. However, our aim is not just diversity, but genuine inclusion. When we achieve truly inclusive workplaces, management decisions, strategic direction and HR policies will all be shaped by diverse, united, motivated, aware and engaged teams. That is our ultimate goal.”

Founded in 2007, Abris seeks to partner with leading mid-market businesses in Central Europe, always balancing strong business growth with an ESG-focused culture, carbon neutrality, DEI commitments and digital excellence. Since formally launching its ESG strategy, Abris has created a range of innovative flagship programmes that support value creation and risk mitigation, including its Corporate Governance Model, Anti-Corruption Program, Climate Manifesto, Human Rights Policy and now its DEI Code.