Welcome to
CDC ESG Toolkit for
Fund Managers

About this toolkitWorking with CDC
Working with CDCWorking with CDC


Working with CDC

Working with CDC

As the UK’s Development Finance Institution (DFI), CDC’s mission is to support the building of businesses throughout Africa and South Asia, to create jobs and make a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places.

Working with CDC

CDC’s relationship with its fund managers on ESG matters begins with verifying alignment, before moving to oversight and support. We consider each fund’s individual characteristics when addressing the challenges and opportunities it faces and do not believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach to ESG management. We challenge our fund managers to help their companies become leaders in their markets on ESG management and offer guidance and experience to help achieve that. CDC guidance comprises a mixture of one on one advice and training sessions that enable peer-to-peer learning as well as advice from us. Our engagement with fund managers takes a number of forms during the life of the fund:

Alignment with CDC's 
Code of Responsible Investing prior to commitment

CDC conducts thorough ESG due diligence on all our funds, to understand their processes, capacity, commitment and track record, (and as necessary, develop a time bound plan if improvements are required to existing capacity, systems and processes). We provide guidance on how management systems and resourcing can be improved, rather than simply passing judgement on whether they meet the requirements included in CDC’s Code of Responsible Investing or not. There is increasing evidence that this approach can help fund managers to attract other investors who are looking for good ESG management systems.

For further information on CDC’s Code of Responsible Investing, please see Understanding CDC’s Code of Responsible Investing.

Alignment with CDC's Policy on Coal-Fired Power Generation and Climate Change Policy

There is a presumption against funds, in which CDC’s capital is committed, making investments in new or existing coal-fired thermal power production for the public grid unless certain conditions are met (see CDC's Policy on Coal-Fired Power Generation for details).

In addition, GPs are encouraged to implement CDC's Climate Change Policy in their portfolio companies in order to proactively assess climate change risks and opportunities and incorporate these factors into investment strategies, with a specific focus on:

  • Energy use efficiency, carbon intensity and on-site renewable opportunities (such as solar, biomass and cogeneration etc).
  • Water use efficiency and water conservation measures.
  • Adaptation and resilience needs and opportunities, and disaster risk management, especially in large infrastructure projects vulnerable to climate-related impacts.
Appointing an E&S officer

CDC expects its fund managers to appoint an E&S officer. Typically, the E&S officer should have appropriate specialist experience.   

Action Plans

Prior to investing in a fund, CDC will review the fund’s ESG Management System and where available, its track record in implementing that system (see Fund ESG Management Systems). Where there are areas that require improvement and where these cannot be achieved prior to closing, CDC will agree an ESG Action Plan with the fund manager to address the outstanding items. The period post-close when the ESG Action Plan is being implemented will typically involve a higher level of ongoing engagement and communication between CDC and the fund.

Reviewing due diligence

To enable CDC to assess whether the fund’s ESG Management System (ESGMS) is being implemented effectively and to provide necessary support and advice, CDC reviews the fund’s first three E&S due diligences. It also reviews all due diligences of high E&S risk companies prior to the fund’s final Investment Committee decision.

Working with other LPs

Where CDC is invested alongside other development finance institutions (DFIs) in a fund, we will endeavour to work with them to provide aligned feedback and support on ESG matters. For example, following a review of due diligence or annual monitoring reports. CDC may also raise ESG matters at Advisory Committee meetings if there is a matter that is material to all Limited Partners.

Site visits

An important element of CDC’s engagement with our fund portfolio includes periodic site visits to funds and their investee companies. These visits enable CDC to understand the progress and on-the-ground challenges encountered by portfolio companies and fund managers when implementing good ESG practices. They also enable CDC to better support and advise fund managers on how to tackle any challenges they face.

Annual reporting

All of CDC’s fund managers are required to submit an annual ESG report. This includes details of the ESG and Business Integrity progress, challenges and plans for each portfolio company as well as changes in the fund manager’s ESGMS. The report also includes information on employee numbers and company performance to enable CDC to track its development impact.

CDC will work with other LPs in the fund to agree a joint reporting template wherever possible to ensure all LPs receive the information they need without the fund manager having to complete numerous templates. CDC’s basic requirements are captured in our preferred reporting template, but we accept other formats as long as they contain the basic information we need.

Training and guidance

CDC provides training for our fund managers on a range of ESG topics. We provide training on how to integrate ESG management into the private equity investment cycle as well as more specific technical training on topics of interest to fund managers (such as labour rights and establishing an effective environmental and social management system). These sessions include practical case study work and discussion, enabling participants to learn as much from each other as from the presenters. To find out if we have any training planned for your region, please get in touch with your CDC contact person.

CDC also produces a range of good practice materials and case studies that aim to increase awareness and help fund managers integrate ESG issues into their operations. See our Topic Briefings for more information.

Support and value adding

CDC is also prepared to spend time assisting managers to develop and embed their own ESMS. This includes assistance with customising tools to their specific pipeline, considering how ESG upside can be captured, providing bespoke training for the investment team, providing advice or simply answering questions with respect to specific investments. We can draw upon the experience gained across our portfolio of funds and direct investments as well as our contact networks to provide advice.

Serious incident reporting

CDC requires that any serious incidents involving portfolio companies that result in loss of life, severe permanent injury or severe permanent damage to health, a material adverse environmental or social impact or a material breach of law relating to an environmental, social, or Business Integrity matters, including financial irregularities, are reported to us promptly. Through subsequent communications with the fund manager, CDC will discuss what root cause analysis has been done and the nature of the follow up actions to ensure they are appropriate and adequate to address the identified risks, and to prevent similar actions from occurring in future. See CDC Good Practice: Preventing Fatalities and Serious Incidents for guidance on how to investigate and report serious occupational health and safety accidents.