Gender Equality at CASEIF IV

To build a brighter future, invest in women 

On the 8th of March 2022, Lafise Investment Management (LIM) publicly announced that their CASEIF IV fund will be a Flagship Fund under the 2X Challenge. CASEIF IV is the first flagship fund in the region and achieving this status of a Flagship Fund is built on many years of experience with working on gender equality in investees through CASEIF I, II and III. 

The Norfund team recently spoke with the Director General of LIM, Erick Lagos, Humberto Suarez, Corporate Governance Officer and Sustainability and Gender Officer, Patricia Velez, to discuss the motivation and implications of the recent commitment for CASEIF IV under the 2X Challenge.  

Paradise Ingredients – change from the top  

LIM has long recognized the importance of gender equality. One of the success stories in this regard is the portfolio company, Paradise Ingredients, a food and beverage company in Costa Rica that was acquired by CASEIF III in 2016.  

Since 2017, the company has adopted a code of ethic, seeking to integrate gender equality into organizational practices, by requirement of CASEIF III. Several concrete initiatives followed this code which led to an increase in women as line managers and middle management promotion.  

The LIM team emphasizes that change was possible because Paradise Ingredients embraced such changes.  

There was commitment from the top, and the rest of the organization followed’

Humberto Suarez, Corporate Governance Officer and Sustainability and Gender Officer 

CASEIF IV’s commitment under the 2X Challenge 

LIM has monitored and reported on gender balance in its portfolio companies to, among others, Norfund for several years and had already adopted the 2X criteria before certification.  

As part of CASEIF IV’s commitment under the 2X Challenge, the fund is adopting a gender lens investing approach to build a minimum of 30% 2X qualified deals at the portfolio level. The team is hence receiving support from IDB on gender lens investing training.  

There is a commitment to support portfolio companies of CASEIF IV to implement gender smart practices, including the implementation of gender action plans. Patricia Velez has been hired as a new gender officer and together with external providers, she will support portfolio companies in their journey towards gender equality. Mr. Erick Lagos emphasizes that it is essential to make a difference during the lifetime of the investment that will last, even after exit.  

 ‘To empower women and advance women to management positions will lead to positive results and is part of the strategic growth of our companies’

Patricia Velez 

Norfund will support the implementation of the gender smart initiatives through its contribution to the CASEIF IV Technical Assistance Facility (TAF).  

Commitment also at the fund manager level 

LIM also has the ambition that CASEIF IV, as a 2X Flagship Fund, will be catalytic in the region. The team recognizes that this also requires commitment at fund manager level and will maintain women’s representation within its team at 40% or more. Current level is 50%, up from 27% under CASIEF III. In addition, one seat in the CASIEF IV Investment Committee is occupied by a woman.  

This commitment on the part of CASEIF is a clear example of Lafise Investment Management’s foresightedness and this is no surprise as we have seen them being pioneers in the region leading many progressive initiatives over our 20-year partnership. We look forward to seeing more fund managers in the region taking up the 2x challenge since we view this as not only what is right but also as, just good business.

Heidi Achong, Investment Manager Norfund 

CASEIF IV and Norfund 

  • CASEIF IV is the fourth private equity fund raised by LAFISE Investment Management Limited (“LIM” or “The Manager”), a General Partner joint venture between Norfund and LAFISE Group.  
  • CASEIF IV will focus on small and medium sized growth-oriented companies in Central America, Colombia and Dominican Republic.  
  • In 2020, Norfund committed a USDM 20 investment to CASEIF IV 
  • Norfund is also providing Business Support to the CASEIF IV Technical Assistance Facility through which LIM will directly support its portfolio companies on gender equality