Under the theme of ‘scaling access to essential products and services for all,’ Bamboo Capital Partners, the asset management arm of Palladium’s impact investing business, has released its 2021 Impact Report. The annual report quantifies the organisation’s innovative financing work across 30 developing countries in a difficult year overshadowed by the ramifications of the pandemic.
Bamboo is celebrating several victories, including the ABC (Agribusiness Capital) Fund’s deployment of all available money to smallholder farmers’ cooperatives and small agribusiness companies and continued investment through their energy fund, BEAM, to support the growth of BBOXX, a decentralised solar energy company in Africa. And as Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Bamboo Founder and Managing Partner notes, the organisation also made great strides in strengthening their own impact management processes across several new themes.
“We strengthened our gender and climate approaches, adapted our ESG [environment, social, governance] risk management to new profiles of investees, and contributed to the creation of an industry tool to assess impact in agriculture,” de Schrevel shares.
Additionally, the team became a signatory to the Operating Principles for Impact Management and disclosed their impact and ESG risk management processes in compliance with the European regulation on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial sector (“SFDR”), a critical initiative to bring more transparency and eliminate impact-washing.
Global Impact at Scale
The report details how cumulatively, Bamboo’s investee companies have positively impacted 238 million lives around the world, supported over 53,000 jobs, 18,000 of which were for women, and avoided 14.6 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. These funds and companies span sectors, from agriculture and technology to financial inclusion and energy access, but no matter the sector or focus, all contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For Florian Kemmerich, Bamboo Managing Partner, technology is a critical component of achieving the SDGs and ensuring social development. “While many barriers still remain, digital technologies such as telemedicine, fintech, or remotely monitored off-grid energy systems have helped increase the accessibility and affordability of the delivery of essential goods and services.”
Of the many lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught the world, one that continues to come up is that technology and the access to technology is, and will continue to be, key to ensuring equitable and sustainable development around the world. But as Kemmerich notes, there are still millions of adults worldwide without access to or an account in a bank, and only 30% of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa is online.
He shares how Bamboo is working to address these issues through funds like BLOC Smart Africa, which is based on the premise that technology can facilitate affordable access to essential products and services for consumers in Africa and help reduce the environmental impact of human activities, which often disproportionately affect those in developing countries. “BLOC Smart Africa is a blended finance fund, leveraging public resources to unlock private capital at scale,” Kemmerich explains.
“The Fund is a partnership between Bamboo and Smart Africa, a pan-African alliance that has the ability to scale initiatives across the continent, in addition to providing technical assistance on the ground with access to technology ecosystems, including incubators and accelerators to help source deal flow.” Looking forward with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),
Bamboo’s belief is that impact investments are critical in supporting the recovery of developing economies, especially those hit hardest by the pandemic. SMEs, the backbone of many economies and often the main source of employment in developing nations, will need enormous support in the coming months and years to not only ensure a more resilient future but to limit the backslide of progress on the SDGs.
For Palladium, the strategic partnership with Bamboo, announced in 2020, continues to be critical in increasing and amplifying positive impact on a global scale. According to Palladium CEO Christopher Hirst, tapping into private capital to tackle these issues is key to success, and to Palladium’s partnership with Bamboo.
“In 2021, COVID-19 exacerbated the global challenges we already faced; challenges that haven’t gone away while the world’s attention has been focused on the pandemic,” he says. “Never before has our mission felt more urgent or in need of investment.”
Together, Bamboo and Palladium have mobilised more than US $1.02 billion of impact investment funds and manage private and public funds in 90 countries.
Read the report, for more on our partnership with Bamboo Capital Partners, check out ‘Palladium Teams up to Launch Lebanon Economic Empowerment Fund’, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.