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Pan-Asian venture capital firm Gobi Partners (Gobi) has on Monday released its 2022 sustainability report, highlighting the firm’s progress towards building more sustainable and diverse companies.

The annual report highlights the performance and management of Gobi’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices as natural outgrowths of its long-standing company mission to invest in underserved communities, Gobi said in a statement.

Following the launch of its inaugural Sustainability Report report last year, Gobi continues to enhance its environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework to address the rapidly evolving, technology-enabled startup ecosystem in Asia.

Typically in its early lifecycle, this entails undertaking materially different risks and needs based on the investment stage, sector and geography.

In line with its mission to connect entrepreneurial ecosystems across emerging markets in Asia, Gobi’s commitments and efforts are concentrated on three specific impact areas: diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), TaqwaTech, and circular economy.

“As the world recovers from the pandemic, we see current market conditions experience a new wave of challenges,

“Our commitment to responsible investing starts with helping our companies navigate the present, while foreseeing a future of opportunities we can scale sustainably,” said Gobi’s Head of ESG and Circular Economy Carlo Chen-Delantar.

Its latest report, spanning April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023, reinforces Gobi’s commitment to fostering ESG practices among its portfolio companies and driving positive impact in the investment space.

With a marked 41 percent increase in portfolio respondents, the report illustrates higher engagement and collaboration levels within the portfolio, showcasing the startups’ significant strides in their ESG journeys as well as increased awareness and dedication to sustainability.

More firms have also aligned their missions with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), demonstrating a commitment to creating a positive impact in response to global challenges.

The report delves into Gobi’s ongoing efforts in embedding ESG considerations within the investment lifecycle to identify and assess material ESG risks associated with potential investments, as well as regional best practices to strengthen policies addressing biases, harassment, inequality, data privacy and security risks, and legal and regulatory risks.

With 92.8 percent of startups declaring positive work-life balance and 89.9 percent of companies recording gender-equal pay, Gobi’s commitment to fostering gender equality remains at the forefront.

Startups that still require guidance in this area will be provided with the necessary resources to push for improvement in ESG policies.

“We are pleased to see the tangible results from our ESG frameworks to generate positive social and environmental impact,

“We hope to continue navigating the intersection between financial viability and positive impact, holding ourselves as well as our portfolio companies accountable for propelling the momentum to a better, more sustainable world,” said Carlo.

While progress has been positive, Gobi acknowledges areas for improvement as outlined in its 2023 ESG goals, including further developing DEI policies and training programs; establishing a resource repository for tools and templates; integrating the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the ESG Data Convergence Initiative; and establishing a circular economy investment thesis for related opportunities.

The report also highlights 22 of Gobi’s portfolio companies, including Aerodyne Group, which focuses on precision agriculture solutions to reduce resource usage and minimize environmental impact through artificial intelligence (AI)-driven, drone-based solutions; Deliveree, a company focused on reducing emissions, boosting driver and small trucking business income, and empowering vendors through their app-powered gig economy, and Clearbot, an organizational partner leading the charge in AI-powered marine services through the construction of advanced robotic technology to revolutionize ocean cleanups.

Gobi Partners claimed itself as the most interconnected Pan-Asian venture capital firm with $1.6 billion in assets under management (AUM).

Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, the firm supports entrepreneurs from the early to growth stages and focuses on emerging and underserved markets.

Founded in 2002, Gobi has raised 16 funds to date, invested in over 380 startups and nurtured 10 unicorns.

Gobi has grown to 15 locations across key markets in Bangkok, Cairo, Dhaka, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur, Lahore, Manila, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore and Surabaya.

As a Participant of the United Nations Global Compact, Gobi Partners is committed to aligning strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption to ensure long-term value creation and sustainability across our portfolio.

The firm launched its inaugural Sustainability Report in June 2022.

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