The Project objective is to support women’s economic empowerment and gender diversity by supporting sustainable investment in companies that particularly affect women and girls in Southeast Asia.
The Southeast Asia Women’s Economic Empowerment Fund ("SWEEF" or the "Fund") intends to make portfolio investments in small and mid-size enterprises in Southeast Asia that are positioned to drive women’s economic empowerment and gender equality in the marketplace and in the workplace.
The Fund will invest primarily in Viet Nam, Indonesia and the Philippines, and opportunistically in Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Timor-Leste. The Fund's sector focus includes healthcare, education, manufacturing efficiency enhancements, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
AIIB’s Environmental and Social Policy (ESP), including the Environmental and Social Exclusion List (ESEL) and the Environmental and Social Standard 1 – Environmental and Social Assessment and Management (ESS 1) apply to this Project. The Project is categorized as FI as the financing structure involves the provision of funds through a financial intermediary (SWEEF), whereby AIIB delegates to the Fund Manager (Sweef Capital) the decision-making on the investment of AIIB’s proceeds in agreed target sectors i.e., healthcare, education, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and manufacturing efficiency enhancements. The Environmental and Social (E&S) instrument will be SWEEF’s Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS), which is enhanced to be consistent with AIIB’s ESP. Sweef Capital has been advised by AIIB of the need for provisions on labor and working conditions related to renewable energy investments.
The proposed investments in target sectors are expected to have medium E&S risks and impacts, such as the disposal of medical waste, occupational health & safety and others. The investee companies will also apply SWEEF’s enhanced ESMS to its contractors and suppliers. Every investment will be screened to identify the risks and following the categorization, assessment, appropriate mitigation measures will be adopted. Activities included in AIIB’s ESEL will not be eligible for financing. Coal mining, coal transportation and coal-fired power plants, as well as infrastructure services exclusively dedicated to support any of these activities and gas-related investments will also be excluded. All Category A and any investments that may trigger ESS 2 (land acquisition and involuntary resettlement) and ESS 3 (indigenous peoples) are excluded. As a limited partner, the Bank has excuse rights to be excused from a particular investment if it does not meet AIIB’s E&S requirements. The Project Team will conduct prior review and approval on all Higher Risk investments, selected Category B, to facilitate SWEEF’s compliance with AIIB’s E&S requirements.
SWEEF has published on its website a summary of its enhanced ESMS. The name, location and sectors of the investments, will be disclosed within 12 months following financial close. For all Higher Risk investments, SWEEF will be required to disclose annual E&S documentation in English during the preceding 12 months, unless such disclosure is subject to the host country’s regulatory requirements, market sensitivities or consent of the sponsor. In addition, SWEEF will publish an annual impact report in English with a focus on Gender ROITM improvements across its investments.
During project implementation, AIIB will require submission of relevant E&S documentation and semi-annual E&S monitoring reports in English from SWEEF in an agreed format, providing an update on the implementation of the enhanced ESMS, and a summary of the E&S performance of each investment. AIIB will conduct post-reviews of the selection and implementation of investments as part of its regular supervision, comprising engagement with the Fund, potential site visits and detailed review of the E&S documentation of selected investments.
SWEEF has in place an External Communications Mechanism (ECM) as project-level Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM), including contacts and processes to receive and handle E&S related matters. Information of the ECM including the Bank’s Policy on Project-affected People’s Mechanism (PPM) is disclosed in English and in an appropriate manner. The ECM will be made available to Project-Affected People (PAPs) and project contracted workers. SWEEF will require portfolio companies to establish the GRM and disseminating its information to the communities concerned timely in an appropriate manner, which should be accessible, include provisions for anonymity, and hold no risk of retaliation, to receive and facilitate resolution of the concerns and complaints of people who believe they may be or have been adversely impacted by the Project.