responsAbility Commits to Gender Equality: Climate fund qualifies for the 2X Challenge

November 20205 min readClimate Finance

Zürich, 12 November 2020 – responsAbility Investments, a leading Swiss sustainable asset manager, commits to apply a gender lens to its investments through one of its climate funds. With this commitment, the climate fund, a private debt fund addressing lack of access to clean power primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and South-East Asia, qualifies for the 2X Challenge. The 2X Challenge is a leading initiative deploying and mobilizing capital to empower women and enhance their economic participation in emerging markets.

The fund qualified for the 2X Challenge by meeting the Employment Criteria with at least 50% of its portfolio companies actively improving and providing quality employment for women. The energy sector is one of the least gender diverse sectors with only 32% of the workforce being women (IRENA 2019). Applying a gender lens will help the climate fund ensure that female talent is attracted and retained, and that they can contribute to this growing industry. 

responsAbility is supported by FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, and the European Investment Bank (EIB). FMO is a member of the 2X Challenge and the EIB has adopted the 2X Challenge Criteria, which aims to advance opportunities for women through enterprise support, leadership, and career progression, quality employment, and products/services that enhance women’s economic participation. The 2X Challenge aims to identify eligible companies directly or through financial intermediaries that are committed to one or more of these areas. It exceeded its target of $3bn in commitments in June 2020. 

“We applaud and support responsAbility's commitment to apply a gender-smart investment lens to its climate fund and to joining the 2X Challenge,” said Jorim Schraven, Director Impact and ESG at FMO, the Dutch development bank. “We see responsAbility’s climate fund setting an example by supporting women’s economic empowerment in the energy sector, and we are looking forward to partnering together to deliver towards the climate action and gender equality SDGs.” 

Thomas Östros, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) said,“Supporting gender smart investment is smart economics. It is vital to enhance business productivity and to catalyse economic growth, social cohesion and social justice. As the EU bank, together with our partners, we are committed to ensuring that our investments benefit all parts of our communities equally. I am very proud to be supporting responsAbility’s climate fund with FMO, which qualified today for the 2X Challenge.”

Antoine Prédour, Head of Climate Finance at responsAbility commented that, “Success always includes a holistic outlook and I am proud to be part of this initiative. It’s about time that gender equality is being considered a must, no matter the type of investment.”

responsAbility is piloting a gender smart investing framework for its fund to promote the advancement of gender equity and other social and environmental outcomes for the benefit of its businesses. To do so, it receives technical assistance from Power Africa, and advisory services from leading impact and gender advisors Sagana and Catalyst at Large.

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About responsAbility Investments AG (  A leading impact asset manager with a 17-year track record, responsAbility manages USD 3.5 bn of assets invested in over 300 ESG-managed high-impact companies across 76 emerging economies. Since the company's inception in 2003, responsAbility-managed funds have invested over USD 10 bn in private debt and private equity to companies in the sectors of sustainable food, financial inclusion and climate finance whose business models directly support the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  responsAbility is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, and has local offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lima, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo, Paris and Tbilisi. Owned by various reputable Swiss and international financial institutions, private investors and its own employees, responsAbility is registered with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA. 

About FMO ( FMO is the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. As a leading impact investor, FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing countries and emerging markets by investing in ambitious projects and entrepreneurs. FMO believes that a strong private sector leads to economic and social development and has a 50-year proven track-record of empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With a committed portfolio of EUR 9.7 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private sector developments banks globally. For more information: please visit

About the European Investment Bank The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union (EU) owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals both in Europe and beyond.  To enhance the positive impact of its activities on gender equality and empower women and girls, the EIB Group adopted a Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment and a Gender Action Plan, with the aim of embedding gender equality and, in particular women’s economic empowerment in the EIB’s business model. It covers its lending, blending and advising work within and outside the EU.  The EIB is also committed to driving gender equality in the workplace. The EU Bank champions diversity and inclusion not only because of the undeniable business benefits they bring, but also because of their power to enrich the working environment for all staff. More information: The EIB gender equality initiatives


FMO – the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank Monica Beek +31 6 4663 7868

EIB Anne-Laure Gaffuri  +352 437 983 689/+352 691 284 679 Press Office: +352 4379 21000


Stephanie Bilo
responsAbility Investments
+41 44 403 0553

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