Tag: Energy & Climate

Future 500s Force for Good Forecast 2021-Sustainability and Stakeholder Trends

Future 500’s Force for Good Forecast 2021: Sustainability and Stakeholder Trends

Our indispensable sustainability and stakeholder trend tracker

Force for Good 2021 Report from Future 500--GreenMoneyEach Spring, we publish the Force for Good Forecast, our team’s signature annual report. We do so to help corporate leaders navigate and lead on the year’s most notable social and environmental advocacy trends.

It’s the kind of report you’d usually find behind a paywall, but we provide it for free. Why? When we launched this report a decade ago, we saw a need to elevate corporate awareness of stakeholder engagement and embed it across a company’s business functions. We knew then that it was more than a “nice to have.” Today, it is critical to business success. Plus, it’s a concrete way for us to advance our mission of building trust between unusual allies––like business leaders, activists, and philanthropists––to advance business as a force for good.

Here’s a taste of this year’s lineup:

Resources Shift to Racial Justice
A rising group of activists are gaining influence, attracting funding, and changing the environmental movement’s expectations.

The Renewed Urgency for Biodiversity
Companies and governments have repeatedly fallen short on protecting flora and fauna. Will this time be different?

Will Chemical Recycling Get Cancelled?
Industry is banking on it to close the loop but activists aren’t buying the hype. Can a solution be reached before the technology is thrown to the curb?

Standardizing ESG Disclosures
Mandatory climate risk disclosures are on the horizon. This is the year to ensure they work for you.

Building Electrification
With the transportation rapidly decarbonizing, advocates are turning their attention to another major fossil fuel guzzler: homes and offices.

Reckoning With a K-Shaped Recovery
Income inequality was a simmering issue long before “social distancing” entered our vocabulary. Will the pandemic make it stakeholder capitalism’s first proving ground?

What is Net Zero, Really?
Even heavy emitters are committing to balance their carbon budget. But stakeholders want to know how you’ll decarbonize before they offer applause.

From Community Relief to Resilience
As compounding crises begin to outstrip local capacity, advocates increasingly expect companies to help fill the void.

Can Companies Help Rescue Democracy?
Escalating political polarization is unraveling democracy. CEOs are speaking up like never before, and stakeholders are taking note.

Download the Report

Future 500 has taken our best shot at these trends, but we don’t always call them right. As always, we welcome your feedback. To stay engaged with our work as we provide further analysis into these critical issues, check out our Corporate Affinity Network, or subscribe to our newsletter for regular insights from the Future 500 team.

 

Future 500 is a non-profit consultancy that builds trust between companies, advocates, investors, and philanthropists to advance business as a force for good. Based in San Francisco, we specialize in stakeholder engagement, sustainability strategy, and responsible communication. From stakeholder mapping to materiality assessments, partnership development to activist engagement, target setting to CSR reporting strategy, we empower our partners with the skills and relationships needed to systemically tackle today’s most pressing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges. Want to learn more? Reach out any time.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Calvert Impact Capital Invests in Sunwealth for Solar Access, Energy Savings and Jobs-GreenMoney

Calvert Impact Capital Invests in Sunwealth for Solar Access, Energy Savings & Jobs

Loan finances community-based solar for nonprofits, municipalities and businesses

Clean energy investment firm Sunwealth recently announced a $2.9 million loan from Calvert Impact Capital  to support Sunwealth’s solar access work. Sunwealth will use Calvert Impact Capital’s financing, together with $4.3 million in tax equity investment from private investors, to support 18 solar projects on the rooftops and parking lots of nonprofit organizations, multi-family apartment buildings, houses of worship and commercial office buildings in communities underserved by traditional renewable energy financing. These community-based solar projects will generate enough electricity to power over 300 homes annually, and will provide Sunwealth’s solar customers with $3.8 million in lifetime energy savings. Calvert Impact Capital’s loan will also help catalyze additional investment in Sunwealth’s innovative solar financing model.

Sunwealth brings critical capital to the commercial solar market – supporting solar projects ranging in size from 5 kilowatts to 1 megawatt on building rooftops and parking lots. The company partners with local solar developers and installers to design and construct these projects, which deliver solar access and long-term, meaningful energy savings to building owners and to low- and moderate-income households through community shared solar agreements. Sunwealth helps investors like Calvert Impact Capital put their money to work in these community-based projects, building portfolios that contribute to a more diverse and inclusive solar economy while delivering strong, stable and predictable financial returns.

Calvert Impact Capital’s loan supported projects across five states, including:

  • A 37-kilowatt installation on the rooftop of a multifamily apartment building owned by Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), a nonprofit community development corporation in Brooklyn, NY. This system, installed by Solar Energy Systems, will allow FAC to provide building tenants with $240 in annual savings
  • Two rooftop solar installations totaling 204 kilowatts for the YMCA of Greater Hartford. These systems, installed by Greenskies Renewable Energy, will provide the nonprofit organization with close to $400,000 in lifetime energy savings.
  • A 340-kilowatt system on the roof of Auburn High School, in Auburn, MA. Installed by ACE Solar, this system will provide the school district with $682,000 in lifetime energy savings.

“Investors are looking for proactive solutions to climate change and inequality, two of the most pressing challenges of our time,” said Kevin Fanfoni, Director of Investments at Calvert Impact Capital. “Sunwealth’s model offers both: reducing carbon emissions and delivering solar access and savings to underserved markets, while supporting green jobs and revenues for local small businesses. We’re proud to partner with them to build a more equitable and inclusive renewable energy future.”

“For over a generation, Calvert Impact Capital has helped make impact ‘investable,’” said Jon Abe, CEO of Sunwealth. “They’ve set the standard for investments that deliver social and environmental as well as financial returns – and made those returns accessible to all investors. They’re a key partner as we look to decarbonize, decentralize and democratize our clean energy economy.”

Calvert Impact Capital would also like to thank their pro-bono counsel Jonathan Wilcon and Fannie Law at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP for their dedication and support on this transaction.

 

About Sunwealth

Sunwealth is a clean energy investment firm working to change who has access to renewable energy by changing the way we invest in it. Combining deep experience in solar development and finance with roots in community and impact investing, Sunwealth invests in diverse commercial solar projects delivering clean energy and energy savings to communities while providing strong financial returns to investors and community partners. Since 2014, the company has invested over $50 million in more than 400 community-based solar projects nationwide; the company has delivered targeted returns to investors for 25 quarters with no defaults. In 2021, Impact Assets named Sunwealth to its IA50, a leading list of impact fund managers. 

About Calvert Impact Capital

Calvert Impact Capital invests to create a more equitable and sustainable world. Through their products and services, Calvert Impact Capital raises capital from individual and institutional investors to finance intermediaries and funds that are investing in communities left out of traditional capital markets. During its 25-year history, Calvert Impact Capital has mobilized over $2 billion of investor capital. Calvert Impact Capital also offers loan syndications, where they originate, structure, and administer loans for institutional and accredited lenders seeking environmental and social impact. To date, Calvert Impact Capital has syndicated and/or administered more than $300 million of capital for impact-oriented transactions. 

Under no circumstances is the information contained herein to be considered an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any financial product. Investments are offered only via definitive transaction documents and any potential investor should read such documents carefully, including all the risk factors relating to the investment, before investing.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Domini 2020 Impact Report-GreenMoney

Domini 2020 Impact Report: Opportunities for Positive Change in a Challenging Year

Domini Impact Investments LLC, a women-led impact investment firm, has recently published the Domini Funds 2020 Impact Report, which highlights how investors came together to harness the power of finance to build a better world—despite the world 2020 delivered.

In particular, the report underscores 2020’s most crucial topics — our climate crisis, the novel coronavirus pandemic, and racial and gender inequality. Each of these pressing themes is presented in context with how Domini sets its investment standards, puts its position as an investor to work for positive change, and invests to build vibrant communities. “Impact is when what’s ideal becomes what’s real,” says CEO Carole Laible. “This report is our reality.”

Key Impact Highlights:

To find out more about these initiatives and highlights, download our report.

 

About Domini Impact Investments LLC

Domini Impact Investments LLC is an SEC-registered investment adviser specializing exclusively in impact investing. Domini serves individual and institutional investors who wish to create positive social and environmental outcomes while seeking competitive financial returns. Domini applies social, environmental and governance standards to all its investments, believing they help identify opportunities to provide strong financial rewards to its fund shareholders while also helping to create a more just and sustainable economic system.

 

Before investing, consider the Funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Contact us for a prospectus containing this and other information. Read it carefully. The Domini Funds are not insured. You may lose money. Shares of the Domini Funds are offered for sale only in the United States.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The Domini Funds are not bank deposits and are not insured. Investment return, principal value, and yield will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. You may lose money.

The Domini Impact Equity Fund is subject to certain risks including impact investing, portfolio management, information, market, recent events, and mid- to large-cap companies risks. The Domini Impact International Equity Fund is subject to certain risks including foreign investing, emerging markets, geographic focus, country, currency, impact investing, and portfolio management risks. The Domini Sustainable Solutions Fund is subject to certain risks including sustainable investing, portfolio management, information, market, recent events, mid- to large-cap companies and small-cap companies risks. The Domini International Opportunities Fund is subject to certain risks including foreign investing, geographic focus, country, currency, impact investing portfolio management and information risks. Investing internationally involves special risks, such as currency fluctuations, social and economic instability, differing securities regulations and accounting standards, limited public information, possible changes in taxation, and periods of illiquidity. These risks may be heightened in connection with investments in emerging market countries.

The Domini Impact Bond Fund is subject to certain risks including impact investing, portfolio management, style, information, market, recent events, interest rate and credit risks. The value of your investment will fluctuate with changes in interest rates and could decline if an issuer’s credit rating falls, it goes bankrupt or it fails to pay, or otherwise defaults on payments of interest or principal. The Domini Impact Bond Fund currently holds a large percentage of its portfolio in mortgage-backed securities. During periods of falling interest rates, mortgage-backed securities may prepay the principal due, which may lower the Fund’s return by causing it to reinvest at lower interest rates. Some of the Domini Impact Bond Fund’s community development investments may be unrated and carry greater credit risks than its other investments. Potential risks related to the Bond Fund’s investments in derivatives include currency, leverage, liquidity, index, pricing and counterparty risk. TBA (To Be Announced) securities involve the risk that the security the Bond Fund buys will lose value prior to its delivery, that the security will not be issued, or the other party to the transaction will not meet its obligation, which can adversely affect the Fund’s returns. The reduction or withdrawal of historical financial market support activities by the U.S. Government and Federal Reserve, or other governments/central banks could negatively impact financial markets generally and increase market, liquidity and interest rate risks which could adversely affect the Funds’ returns.

DSIL Investment Services LLC (DSILD), Distributor, Member FINRA. 5/21

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

2021 GreenBiz 30 Under 30 List of Sustainability Leaders

2021 GreenBiz 30 Under 30 List of Sustainability Leaders

Their dreams are bright: Walkable, equitable cities. Clean energy for Native American communities. Planet-healing fast food. Circular outdoor gear. Decarbonized buildings. Electrified mobility. That’s only a sampling of the ambitions of the sixth class of the GreenBiz 30 Under 30.

Our honorees for 2021 are intrepid startup founders, tenacious corporate innovators and determined public servants. The corporations among them include Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Foodstuffs, Gensler, Google, Ignitis Group, National Grid, Starbucks, Unilever and UPS. Other professionals in this group work at values-driven brands, such as Amy’s Kitchen, East West Tea Company, REI and Timberland. Still others are driving sustainability at nonprofit organizations and consultancies.

All combined, this year’s cohort reports to offices in 12 nations across six continents, including Brazil, Canada, China, India, Lithuania, New Zealand and Rwanda. In the United States, they hail from 15 cities, from Albuquerque, New Mexico to New York City — and several emigrated to the U.S. in childhood.

In addition, most of the honorees find the time to exercise global citizenship beyond their day jobs, mentoring youth, hosting a podcast and launching peer networking groups. Some have helped with disaster relief. Others have lost their own homes to natural disasters.

The GreenBiz 30 Under 30 candidates for 2021 were nominated by GreenBiz readers and community members around the world and selected by the GreenBiz editorial team. We’d like to express our appreciation to the World Business Council for Sustainable Business and Net Impact for helping to cast a global net for this year’s nominees.

Our 30 Under 30 Honorees list follows (in alphabetical order) Read about each of these innovators here.

 

Zack Angelini, 29, Senior Environmental Stewardship Manager, Timberland; Malden, Massachusetts

Vartan Badalian, 28, EV100 Program Manager for North America, The Climate Group; New York City

Mayane Barudin, 27, Regional Director and Tribal Liaison, Vote Solar; Albuquerque, New Mexico

Brock Battochio, 28, Co-Founder & Lead Engineer, Planetary Hydrogen; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Stacia Betley, 29, Sustainability Integration Manager, Amy’s Kitchen; Petaluma, California

Briana Buckles, 29, Sustainability Manager, East West Tea Company; Eugene, Oregon

Maria Eduarda Camargo, 24, Founder, Pantys; São Paulo, Brazil 

Haseena Charania, 29, ESG Communications Strategy Supervisor, UPS; Atlanta

Morgan Collins, 28, Head of Sustainable Finance, Starbucks; Seattle

Chris Dowd, 26, Strategic Partnerships, Social Impact, Google; San Francisco

Francesca Goodman-Smith, 27, Transform Program Leader, Fight Food Waste Co-op Research Center; Brisbane, Australia

Ghislain Irakoze, 21, CEO and Founder, Wastezon; Kigali, Rwanda

Adrienne Johnson, 29, Associate Engineer, Point Energy Innovations, San Francisco

Jamario Jackson, 29, Senior Community Planner, TransForm; Oakland, California

Lina Khan, 29, Senior Sustainability Specialist and Global Design Resilience Practice Area Leader — Government + Defense, Gensler; San Francisco

Erik Landry, 29, Climate Change Specialist, GRESB; Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bonia Leung, 28, Sustainability Consultant, Environmental Resources Management (ERM); London

Laurence Lloyd Lumagbas, 29, Sustainability and Strategic Risk Advisory Services Manager, Deloitte Southeast Asia; Taguig City, Manila, Philippines

Akshay Makar, 27, Founder and CEO, Climatenza Solar; Delhi, India

Marta Misiulaityt, 29, Sustainability Manager, Ignitis Group; Vilnius, Lithuania

Alex Mitoma, 28, Environmental Specialist Associate, Port of Long Beach; Long Beach, California

Sripriya Navalpakam, 27, Sustainability Manager for North America, Unilever; New York City

Taylor Price, 29, Manager of Global Sustainability, AptarGroup; Charlotte, North Carolina

Yangshengjing “UB” Qiu, 27, Partnership Development Executive, Green Monday; Shanghai

Brittany Regner, 28, Assistant Vice President, Environmental and Social Risk, Credit Suisse; New York City 

Elisabeth Anna Resch, 28, Advisor, Global Impact Initiatives, United Nations Global Compact; Santiago, Chile

Harold Rickenbacker, 29, Manager, Clean Air and Innovation, EDF; Washington, D.C.

Yashi Shrestha, 28, Director, Science and Research, Novi; Los Angeles

Dawnielle Tellez, 29, Senior Sustainability Analyst, REI, Seattle

Cassandra Vickers, 27, Clean Transportation Product Developer, National Grid; Boston

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Organic Valley Launches Clean Energy Fund for its Farmers-GreenMoney-June 2021

Organic Valley Launches Clean Energy Fund for its Farmers

New Cooperative fund offers nation’s most farmer-friendly renewable energy loan program.

Organic Valley logo(above) A Wisconsin Organic Valley member farm with Solar panels installed. Courtesy of Organic Valley

Advancing its commitment to regenerative farming systems, Organic Valley is partnering with Clean Energy Credit Union (“Clean Energy CU”) to launch the Powering the Good Loan Fund to provide the best loan terms for farmers seeking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels with renewable energy and efficiencies. The program is first of its kind for both cooperatives, pioneering a unique clean energy loan fund for over 1,700 farmers across the country.

To accelerate energy improvements, Organic Valley and Clean Energy CU will roll out a $1 million fund with plans to expand. As the nation’s largest organic, farmer-owned cooperative, Organic Valley pulls carbon out of the air through regenerative practices like rotational grazing, while also working to reduce carbon emitted wherever possible.

“Organic Valley leads on renewable energy. We have been 100% renewable powered in our owned facilities since 2019, and now we are going a step further,” said Bob Kirchoff, Organic Valley CEO. “We are focused on a whole systems approach to renewable energy, and I’m excited to debut this energy loan fund. From the farm to the shelf, I see renewable energy playing a bigger role in organic food. We are providing farmers a means to reduce their energy costs and become more self-sufficient and sustainable. Farmers who participate in this loan fund contribute to a healthy, regenerative future for the next generation.”

Kirchoff recently spoke about renewable energy as a guest speaker at the Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy Summit.

Loans supplied to Organic Valley farmers through Clean Energy CU will be used for:

  • Solar electric systems to offset farm energy consumption
  • Farm energy efficiency improvements such as plate coolers, VFDs, LED lighting, insulation, ventilation and more
  • Geothermal systems and ground-source heat pumps for farm heating and cooling.

This is a great example of cooperation among cooperatives to pursue our aligned missions,” said Blake Jones, Volunteer Board chair of Clean Energy CU. “Organic Valley is already helping to protect the environment through regenerative and organic farming practices, and now they’re going one step further by supporting the installation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for their farmer-members. In addition to the environmental benefits, we’re also excited about helping family farmers throughout the USA to lower their energy costs and improve the bottom line of their independently owned farms.”

The two cooperatives are experienced with advancing renewable energy and are now combining forces to accelerate renewable energy installations on farms across rural America.

 

About Organic Valley

Organic Valley is America’s largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation’s leading organic brands. Founded in 1988, the cooperative represents nearly 1,800 farmers in 34 U.S. states, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom and achieved $1.1 billion in 2019 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a wide range of organic dairy, egg and produce products. As a leader in pasture-based, regenerative organic farming, Organic Valley works with nature, not against it. For more information visit – https://www.organicvalley.coop. Organic Valley is also @OrganicValley on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Clean Energy Credit Union

Clean Energy Credit Union is a not-for-profit, financial services cooperative that focuses exclusively on providing loans for clean energy and energy-saving projects such as electric vehicles, e-bikes, solar electric systems, geothermal heat pump systems, and other green home improvements. Clean Energy Credit Union is an online/digital-only and federally chartered credit union that serves its members throughout the USA. For more information visit – https://www.cleanenergycu.org

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Can We Pay Farmers to Store Carbon Emissions - by Marcello Rossi-CCM

Can We Pay Farmers to Store Carbon Emissions in Their Fields?

By Marcello Rossi, Climate & Capital Media

CCM Featured news for GreenMoney readersModern agriculture releases carbon into the air. But a new generation of startups is paying farmers to put it back into the ground.

Simply cutting CO2 emissions is not enough, says the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To slow global warming, we need to actually remove carbon from the sky. But how?

But as companies turn to the latest carbon-capture technologies, one low-tech solution has been gaining ground: Carbon farming, or regenerative agriculture, an approach rooted in millennia-old techniques that can pull carbon from the air and put it back into the soil. A new generation of startups is connecting carbon-emitting companies with farmers willing to use regenerative techniques to offset it.

Paying Back the Carbon Debt

Plants are natural carbon sponges, absorbing CO2 during photosynthesis. But plowing and tilling oxidizes the soil, in turn releasing more CO2 than crops can naturally consume, causing what scientists call this imbalance “soil carbon debt.” A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that 12,000 years of agriculture has stripped away 8% of the earth’s carbon. Scientists estimate that adds up to a soil carbon debt of 133 billion tons.

Carbon farming relies on methods that allow crops to absorb more CO2 than is being released. These include no-till cultivation, in which the residue of previous harvests is left behind rather than being tilled away; cover cropping, in which a carpet of vegetation protects the soil; and rotational grazing, in which livestock only graze in one section of pasture at a time, allowing the rest of the field to regenerate.

These techniques have been around for thousands of years, but using them to fight global climate change is a relatively new phenomenon, and governments and nonprofits are beginning to incentivize farmers to adopt them. Montana-based nonprofit Western Sustainability Exchange runs a carbon payment program for ranchers in the state, and this year the state of California will award more than $22 million in grants to aspiring carbon farmers.

As in so many other areas of the environment, innovation has yielded a promising strategy. Creative investors are creating a new industry that connects carbon-emitting companies with farmers willing to capture it.

Creative investors are creating a new industry that connects carbon-emitting companies with farmers willing to capture it.

One standout is the Boston-based Indigo Ag, which has developed a marketplace in which companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint can purchase offsets from farmers. At launch, farmers will earn $15 per ton sequestered. Indigo Ag’s Terraton Initiative aims to fund enough regenerative agriculture to soak up one trillion tons of atmospheric carbon—roughly the same amount humans have emitted since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Indigo Ag vice president Ed Smith says the Terraton Initiative already involves thousands of growers working more than 18 million acres of farmland. “Using farmlands to capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide is the only solution I know of that already exists, is affordable, and can be rolled out on a global scale,” he says.

Seattle-based social enterprise Nori is another startup investing in agriculture-based carbon offsets. Christophe Jospe, the company’s chief development officer, says it plans to use a blockchain-backed platform where carbon-emitters seeking to reduce emissions can pay farmers directly for the carbon they sequester. Nori won’t charge listing fees; farmers will get 100% of the value of the carbon removal, about $15 per ton. Initial outcomes are promising. During a pre-sale earlier this year, a Maryland farmer earned $115,000 for offsetting roughly 8,000 tons of carbon. More than 150 farmers working 500,000 acres are involved in the program, and Nori is planning another sale for later this year.

Another market backed by a consortium of food and agriculture giants that includes General Mills, McDonald’s, and Cargill, is currently running a pilot program that is scheduled to expand across the United States in 2022. Beyond the U.S., AustraliaCanada, the U.K, and France have existing or planned markets for agricultural-based carbon offsets.

Unknowns and challenges

Yet as millions of dollars flow into regenerative agriculture markets and initiatives, there remain doubts about whether the approach will actually deliver meaningful emissions reductions and slow climate change.

Global farmlands have the capacity to absorb and store billions of tons of carbon in the soil annually.

According to a report published last by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, global farmlands do have the capacity to absorb and store billions of tons of carbon in the soil annually. But getting there is a complicated process that depends on what happens on hundreds of millions of farms working with varying types of soilclimatic conditions, and a range of other variables, not all of which are clearly understood by scientists.

Gauging soil carbon variations is another issue. Recent technological advancements have helped bolster the credibility of soil carbon measurement, yet existing methods cannot accurately establish whether one particular farm is actually decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

These uncertainties compound the well-documented challenges in establishing reliable carbon offset programs. Studies have shown that such schemes, like cap-and-trade programs adopted by the E.U. and California, can vastly overestimate reductions, paying participants vast sums for carbon cuts that may never occur. Critics also argue these programs can provide large polluters with a massive loophole for emitters, allowing them to claim declining emissions while refraining from taking serious action to transition away from fossil fuels.

Environmental groups, investors and scientists are enthusiastic about innovative carbon capture processes in agriculture.

Environmental groups, investors, and scientists are enthusiastic about innovative carbon capture processes in agriculture, and the best way to sustain these new programs, says Gilles Dufrasne, a policy officer at Brussels-based Carbon Markets Watch, is to involve and connect local and national policymakers in a global effort that includes rigorous regulation, communication and transparency. “We need our policymakers and legislators to resist wishful thinking and establish rigorous rules and processes that deliver actual greenhouse gas reductions rather than shifting pollution around,” she argues. “But it takes cooperation and political will to do so, and I see very little of both today.”

The sad question: When will governments and political leaders embrace the imperative of cooperation in cooling the planet?

 

Article by Marcello Rossi, a science and environmental freelance journalist covering climate change and the human impact on the environment. His works appeared in National Geographic, The Economist, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, Nature Climate Change, Smithsonian, Outside, Quartz among other publications.

Article reprinted with permission. GreenMoney Journal and Climate & Capital Media have a strategic partnership. 

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Betterment Harvest-Ag-Tech in Appalachia

Betterment Harvest: Ag-Tech in Appalachia

By Mark LaVerghetta, Land Betterment Corporation

Mark LaVerghetta-of Land Betterment CorpWe are at the forefront of a transformational shift throughout the Appalachian region and parts of the Midwest. As the United States incrementally and increasingly migrates away from fossil fuels as an energy source, the region has been left with a tremendous void in terms of lost economic opportunity.

The coal industry was once both the prominent source of energy in the U.S. and a major economic driver for this region. Today, thermal coal accounts for approximately 20 percent of the country’s generated electricity; down from approximately 40 percent in 2014. Due to specific mining conditions and cost structures, thermal coal mined from most of the Appalachian region has fallen below the economic margin, and much of the industry in the region has been forced into bankruptcies and out of business.

The downturn in the thermal coal industry has not only left the region with a void of economic opportunity and a declining tax base, but the associated coal mining bankruptcies have left a mounting number of abandoned and unfunded and under-funded environmental liabilities.

Land Betterment Corporation, a pending B-Corp, focuses on environmental solutions and a commitment to positive social and environmental impact by upcycling former coal mining and industrial sites to create sustainable community development and job creation. The company is taking a fresh yet practical approach in bringing real solutions to address these problems. Land Betterment’s two main divisions, Environmental Solutions and Sustainable Development, take a customized and holistic approach to remediate lands left behind by the legacy of the coal mining industry and other industrial activity, and repurpose certain parcels of land to bring business and jobs that fit a more modern-day economy. These new business lines focus on rebuilding or introducing an economic ecosystem in the region that is more sustainable and create jobs that are desired and fit the skillset of the local, yet displaced work force. The Company currently has Sustainable Business lines that include industries such as recycling, container-based housing, craft spirits, bee farming and Ag-Tech.

As a small example of Land Betterment’s work, its Ag-Tech division, Betterment Harvest, is currently building on the regional momentum to bring a scalable and community-based approach to sustainable agriculture which utilizes state-of-the-art, science-based practices that maximize productivity and profit while minimizing environmental damage. These technologies include a range of applications, such as indoor hydroponic systems installed in renovated and repurposed existing industrial buildings selectively positioned throughout eastern Kentucky. This sustainable development exemplifies how Land Betterment repurposes prior industrial sites left by a declining industry into new technologies that the community can embrace.

As another example, Land Betterment recently successfully bid to acquire control of a shutdown elementary school in Perry County, Kentucky. Land Betterment plans to renovate the Willard Elementary School, which was closed in 2018, and repurpose the school and surrounding property into an ag-tech center to focus on vertical and greenhouse farming. The closed school has approximately 4 acres of developable land which Land Betterment plans to upcycle into a local agriculture tech center and utilize the interior of the school for sophisticated vertical and greenhouse farming to grow various produce and plant propagation.

On this particular acquisition, Mark Jensen, Land Betterment’s Executive Chairmen commented that “We are really excited about the development of our Betterment Harvest division and the local adoption we are seeing. The Willard School is a great example of how we are approaching the Ag-Tech industry. The local community was happy to see the shutdown school repurposed for economic and community development. The region has a ton of old infrastructure and mining lands in need of environmental repair. We see the potential that these lands have in other industries, such as agriculture, and the region is in need of an economic shot in the arm. Additionally, the Appalachian region makes for an ideal Ag-Tech hub as its location places it within a one day drive of the majority of the U.S. population. The highly skilled, local workforce is excited about new opportunities, and we are excited to bring a scalable and solution-based approach to support the regional momentum in the Ag-Tech industry. The Appalachian region and the U.S, as a whole needs better access to healthy foods. With the U.S. increasingly relying on food imports, an efficient and sustainable agriculture hub in Appalachia address a lot of problems. For one, it reduces the transportation and diesel use of imported produce. It also helps in rejuvenating a region with a real and positive impact. We’re not just providing fresh produce and jobs to the communities; we’re also teaching future generations about agriculture and health”

To help advance Land Betterment’s business model in this region of the United States, the Company currently has access to over 13,000 acres of land to help foster new industry. Land Betterment is also working with the local technical college to support the activity of its Ag-Tech operations as well as to promote the education and relevant technical skill development. Mr. Jensen added, “We are excited to be at the forefront of the tremendous potential for the region to develop sustainable business practices to address some of the regional and national problems.”

Click here to learn more about Land Betterment and its impact investment opportunities.

 

Article by Mark LaVerghetta  After spending 20 plus years on sales side securities advisory, Mark has been dedicated to delivering shareholder and stakeholder value. As for the Vice President of Corporate Finance and Communication for American Resources Corp (Nasdaq: AREC) he drives retail and institutional investor communication and strategy. As a Co-Founder and Chief Governance Officer of Land Betterment (Private pending B-Corp) he ensures proper operational and corporate governance while growing sustainable businesses. Mark is a graduate of University of Virginia with a B.A. in economics while playing varsity Lacrosse.

Energy & Climate, Featured Articles, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

IA 50 2021 free database logo

ImpactAssets’ IA 50 Impact Investment Fund Managers List

Industry’s first publicly available, searchable resource of impact investing fund managers sees record number of applicants and assets, reflecting the innovation and exponential growth that the IA 50 has helped to spotlight over the past decade.

 

ImpactAssets logo

ImpactAssets recently released the ImpactAssets 50 2021 (IA 50), a free online database for impact investors, family offices, financial advisors and institutional investors that features a diversified listing of private capital fund managers delivering social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.

This year marks the tenth edition of the IA 50, and despite a tumultuous year, total assets under management (AUM) among selected fund managers jumped to a record $228 billion in 2020, up from $181 billion in 2019. Thirteen managers selected in this year’s showcase reported assets exceeding $1 billion. By comparison, in the IA 50’s inaugural year, assets totaled just $6.8 billion.

The IA 50’s Emerging Impact Manager list, which debuted in 2020 and spotlights newer fund managers that demonstrate potential to create meaningful impact, also saw significant growth. The number of emerging fund managers across a variety of themes and geographies included in this year’s list grew to 41, up from 16 managers in 2020. Total AUM increased to $917 million, up from $397 million last year.

“When we launched the IA 50, we knew there was tremendous potential for impact investing, but realized many interested investors weren’t aware of the incredible range of impact fund managers available to them. As the field has evolved, we have also become aware of the large number of innovative fund managers not identified via our traditional networks,” said Jed Emerson, ImpactAssets Senior Fellow and IA 50 Review Committee Chair. “More recently we have expanded the lens of our process to capture more breadth and diversity of impact fund managers and in doing so have also chronicled the progress made by impact investors as well as the work that still needs to be done.”

This year’s list revealed several investing trends:

CDFIs Take Center Stage –  Seven Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) were selected in this year’s IA 50, reflecting the critical role CDFIs have played during the COVID-19 pandemic — from distributing PPP loans to supporting small businesses within rural, indigenous and low-income communities, and communities of color. These organizations represent both national and locally-focused community funders and manage a combined $18.7 billion in assets which are catalyzed for creating jobs, building affordable housing and financing community services in underserved low-income communities.

New Category –  In another reflection of the growth of impact investing, the IA 50 added a new Emeritus category this year highlighting 27 managers with a combined AUM of $8.8B. These fund managers have been on the IA 50 for at least five years; 10 managers have been on the list for all 10 years of the IA 50. The Emeritus list enables the IA 50 to continue to recognize the important contributions of these established managers, while making room for deserving new managers.

Investment Targets –  In 2020, the global pandemic and subsequent economic downturn affected communities worldwide, and IA 50 fund managers focused on some of those hardest hit.? A total of 63% of managers targeted investment in rural communities, while 54% specifically benefitted people of color and 48% were focused on advancing women-led businesses. Two-thirds (67%) of managers said their firm focused on underdeveloped markets where the market is relatively new, emerging or subject to systemic challenges. 

Diversity and Inclusion –  ?While fund management remains overwhelmingly non-diverse, IA 50 fund managers are leading with diversity. This is especially true of the IA 50 Emerging Impact Managers, where 51% reported more than half of their investment professionals were women and 54% said more than half of their investment professionals were people of color.

Impact and Financial Return   ?Impact fund managers remained focused on delivering both positive impact and investment performance. A total of 87% of IA 50 fund managers targeted market rate or above rates of return and 92% delivered either in line or above their target returns. Emerging Impact Managers reported similar results, with 63% targeting market rates of return or above, and 98% delivering either in line or above their initial target returns.

“The growth we’ve seen in the IA 50 over the past decade is reflective of the growth, maturity and increased diversity of the impact investing industry as a whole,” added Sandra Osborne Kartt, CFA, Director, Investments, ImpactAssets. “Along with the Emeritus and Emerging Impact Manager lists, this year’s IA 50 represents the vast array of impact themes and strategies available to impact investors today.”

In addition to Emerson and Osborne Kartt, the IA 50 Review Committee is comprised of an expanded group of impact investment experts and leaders, including Lauren Booker Allen, Senior Vice President, Impact Advisory, Jordan Park Group; Mark Berryman, Managing Director of Impact Investing, The CAPROCK Group; Ronald A. Homer, Chief Strategist, Impact Investing, RBC Global Asset Management (US) Inc.; Karl “Charly” Kleissner, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Toniic and KL Felicitas Foundation; Malaika Maphalala, CPWA® Private Wealth Advisor, Natural Investments, LLC; Cynthia Muller, Director of Mission Investment, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Rehana Nathoo, Founder & CEO, Spectrum Impact; Stephanie Cohn Rupp, CEO and Partner, Veris Wealth Partners; Fran Seegull, Executive Director, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Ford Foundation; Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative; Julia Sze, CFA, Impact Investor, Julia W. Sze Consulting and Margret Trilli, President and CIO, ImpactAssets.

Osborne Kartt and Jennifer Kenning, CEO and Co-Founder of Align Impact and IA 50 Senior Investment Advisor, led the ImpactAssets and Align Impact Investment teams in the application scoring and analysis process.

 

About the ImpactAssets 50
The IA 50 is the first publicly available database that provides a gateway into the world of impact investing for investors and their financial advisors, offering an easy way to identify experienced impact investment firms and explore the landscape of potential investment options. The IA 50 is intended to illustrate the breadth of impact investment fund managers operating today, though it is not a comprehensive list, Firms have been selected to demonstrate a wide range of impact investing activities across geographies, sectors and asset classes.
 

The IA 50 is not an index or investable platform and does not constitute an offering or recommend specific products. It is not a replacement for due diligence. In order to be considered for the IA 50 2021, fund managers needed to have at least $25 million in assets under management, more than three years of experience as a firm with impact investing, documented social and/or environmental impact and be available for US investment. Additional details on the selection process are available here.

 The IA 50 Emerging Impact Manager list is intended to spotlight newer fund managers that may demonstrate future potential to create meaningful impact. Criteria such as minimum track record or minimum assets under management may not be applicable.

 The IA 50 Emeritus Impact Manager list illuminates impact fund managers who have achieved consistent recognition on the IA 50. 

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is the leading impact investing partner for individuals, families and philanthropists tackling the world’s greatest challenges by investing in the world’s brightest ideas. We make it easy for our clients to “discover, connect and invest” in game-changing entrepreneurs and funds. Founded in 2010, ImpactAssets increases flows of money to impact investing with our 100% impact investment platform and field-building initiatives, including the IA 50 database of private debt and equity impact fund managers.  

The ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund is an innovative vehicle that empowers donors to increase the impact of their giving by combining it with strategic, sustainable and responsible investing to build a sophisticated philanthropic endowment. The Fund currently has more than $1.4 billion in assets in 1,400 donor advised funds, working with 350 wealth advisors across 60 financial services firms.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Claire Smith-Beyond Investing platform

Beyond Investing–World’s First Vegan Investment Platform

Summary

Beyond Investing logoClaire Smith (pictured above), the founder of the Beyond Investing platform, is a financial markets veteran of 35 years, whose career takes in JP Morgan Chase, UBS, Albourne Partners as well as running her own consulting business for 5 years. The Beyond investment management companies, formed in 2017, comprise Beyond Advisors, parent of Beyond Investing LLC, the advisor to the world’s first cruelty-free and environmentally friendly ETF and Beyond Impact Advisors, a specialist in investing in plant-based and cruelty-free start-ups and animal-replacing foodtech and biotech. In addition, Claire has co-founded Beyond Animal, a tech platform with the aim of accelerating the growth of the vegan economy, through the provision of a funding portal for vegan businesses which benefits from a FINMA No Action letter and FCA regulatory cover.

Background

Claire took a Masters in Chemical Engineering and Business Management at Imperial College London but moved into finance in 1985, since working in chemicals and oil refining, the primary jobs available to chemical engineers at the time, were unappealing given her concern for animals and the environment. Initially trained as a credit analyst at Chase Manhattan Bank, Claire switched into options dealing in London’s embryonic options markets, developed warrants trading and issuance, and ultimately ran the London convertible sales desk in 1995, structuring multiple bespoke derivatives transactions before leaving UBS in 1998.

After a period of time as a freelance journalist, during which she published over 125 articles in the financial press, and consultant on fund research to London funds of funds, Claire joined Albourne Partners in 2004, assuming responsibility of quantitative equity strategies, taking in systematic quantitative equity, convertible arbitrage and volatility and hedging strategies. She was admitted to the partner program in 2007 and became a shareholder of Albourne in 2010.

In her philanthropic work, Claire founded 100 Women in Finance in Geneva in 2007 and oversaw its growth in Switzerland through till 2014, as a member of the London Board, organizing over 100 events, including seven Galas which raised well over $1 million for charity. Claire served on the Board of AVVEC, a Geneva-based charity that provides support to victims of domestic violence. She is the President of Beyond Cruelty Foundation, formed in 2018 to campaign for zero animal exploitation and to fund safe havens for animals. She co-founded a group to campaign against testing of GMO canola seeds in the English countryside in 1999.

Mission

Claire is motivated to use her skills in the financial arena to invest for a kinder, cleaner, healthier world. Being vegetarian/vegan since the age of 15, her primary area of focus is the avoidance of animal exploitation, with associated benefits for human health and the environment, in particular climate change and preservation of biodiversity, a global problem. The investment thesis of the platform is to deprive companies that cause harm to animals and the environment of investment and to deploy capital towards those companies who are engaged in plant-based or animal-replacing products and services.

Change in society comes from an alignment of three levers, Consumers, Citizens and Capital. Consumers have a role to play in choosing sustainable and cruelty-free products, provided these are made available on the market. Citizens can campaign for laws, regulations, subsidies and fiscal policies to be amended in favor of protecting animals and the environment. Capital is a vital piece of the puzzle, since what gets financed gets done, and conversely, the withdrawal of financing constrains damaging companies. Claire aims to direct global Capital flows in such a way that support the efforts of Consumers and Citizens and enable the growth of companies providing solutions and the decline of companies whose practices harm animals and destroy biodiversity.

Around the world there is a clear trend for Capital to become more conscious and multiple investing structures need to be set up. Vegans have till now had nowhere to put their money given the near absence of fund products that address their concerns. Equally, vegan founders have been starved of capital to fund and grow their businesses. It is these needs that Claire seeks to address through her Beyond initiatives.

The Platform

As opposed to focusing in one narrow area of financial markets, the Beyond Investing platform seeks to provoke capital flows across the spectrum of capital markets and funding.

Within the large cap space, Beyond Investing designs cruelty-free and climate-friendly investing programs in public equity markets and is the architect of the US Vegan Climate Index, a stock index which screens out all animal exploitation and fossil fuel and other causes of harm to humans and the environment, from a US market benchmark. The first instrument on this Index was listed on the NYSE as the US Vegan Climate ETF (ticker: VEGN) in September 2019. With around 280 stocks, and largely market cap-weighted, this product provides a solution for retail and institutional investors who wish to embed cruelty-fee and environmentally friendly principles in their core US large cap allocation.

The US Vegan Climate Index is the first of a range of stock and bond indexes that enshrine the same set of policies, in Europe, Asia, emerging markets, and globally.

Whereas in current stock markets, there are few purely vegan and cruelty-free companies, there are several impending IPOs in the space, due to their rapid growth. To exploit this growing market sector, Beyond Investing has created a small to midcap growth strategy, called the Vegan World strategy, by sifting through global listed equity markets for companies whose products already adhere to vegan principles and could benefit from increasing demand for cruelty-free products. This portfolio of 30-60 stocks provides a thematic play on the vegan theme, spread across the entire food and materials supply chain.

At the bottom end of the scale, Beyond Impact’s vegan venture capital offering is proactively seeking out high potential start-ups and early stage growth companies whose products are superior, scalable and sustainable and thus have the potential to save many animals lives, as well as targeting exceptional investment returns. Since 2017, the portfolio has made investments in 23 companies segmented across themes of cultivated and plant-based replacements to products derived from animals, healthy vegan convenience foods, animal testing alternatives and cruelty-free lifestyle products.

Lastly, Beyond Animal seeks to provide funding solutions through drawing in a wider audience of investors. Beyond Animal will leverage the commitment of the vegan community, as well as the broader support of sustainable and impact investors globally, to provide access to funding to companies across all sectors and geographies, provided that their products accelerate the transition to a kinder, cleaner, healthier world.

Important Information Regarding VEGN

It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Shares of any ETF are bought and sold at market price (not NAV), may trade at a discount or premium to NAV and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns. Investments in mid-cap securities involve additional risk such as limited liquidity and greater volatility. The index methodology may cause the Fund to underperform the broader equity market or other funds which do not utilize such criteria. The Fund’s return may not match or achieve a high degree of correlation with the return of the underlying Index. To the extent the Fund utilizes a representative sampling approach, it may experience tracking error to a greater extent than if the Fund had sought to replicate the Index. The fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses must be considered carefully before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information about the investment company, and it may be obtained by calling 1-800-617-0004 or visiting www.veganetf.com . Read it carefully before investing. Beyond Investing LLC is the adviser to the US Vegan Climate ETF. VEGN is distributed by Quasar Distributors, LLC.

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Featured Articles, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Green Century Funds celebrates 30th Anniversary-GreenMoney

Green Century Funds Celebrates their 30th Anniversary

Green Century is pleased to commemorate its 30th anniversary in 2021.

“When Green Century was launched in 1991, aligning your investments with your values was no easy feat. Thankfully, a group of nonprofit leaders in The Public Interest Network recognized the need and desire for environmentally-responsible investing,” said Jim Starr, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Green Century Funds. “Thirty years later, Green Century’s unique and authentic approach to sustainable investing is more popular than ever.”

The assets under management (AUM) of the Green Century Funds have grown more than 60% in just two years.

Green Century has celebrated a number of milestones in its three decades of operation:

  • In 1991, Green Century launched its Equity Fund, one of the earliest environmentally-screened environmental, social, and governance (ESG) mutual funds in the U.S.
  • In 1992, with the launch of the Balanced Fund, Green Century became the first family of environmentally-screened ESG mutual funds in the U.S.
  • In 2009, the Green Century Balanced Fund became the first mutual fund in the U.S. to calculate its carbon footprint.
  • In 2014, having long previously divested from coal and large oil and gas corporations, Green Century jettisoned the last remnants of any fossil fuel holdings and became the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified mutual funds in the U.S.
  • In 2016, Green Century launched its MSCI International Index Fund, the first fossil fuel free, diversified, and responsible international index fund available to investors in the U.S.
  • In 2018, Green Century was the first financial institution in the U.S. to be recognized by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, as a Hall of Fame financial institution.

“Green Century owes its success to the vision and foresight of the nonprofit leaders who launched Green Century, especially Mindy Lubber, who served as Green Century’s first president and Doug Phelps, who was Green Century’s primary architect and remains an invaluable member of our board of trustees,” said Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich. “We also are grateful to all of the other members of the Board of Trustees who have volunteered their time over the years and all of Green Century’s employees, past and present, whose tireless work helped make this milestone a reality. Now, onto the next 30 years of environmental impact.”

 

About Green Century Capital Management

Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are the first family of fossil fuel free, responsible, and diversified mutual funds in the United States. Green Century Capital Management hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is the only mutual fund company in the U.S. wholly owned by environmental and public health nonprofit organizations.

You should carefully consider the Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. To obtain a Prospectus that contains this and other information about the Funds please click here, email info@greencentury.com , or call 1-800-934-7336. Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Stocks will fluctuate in response to factors that may affect a single company, industry, sector, country, region or the market as a whole and may perform worse than the market. Foreign securities are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, regional economic and political conditions, differences in accounting methods, and other unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers. Bonds are subject to a variety of risks including interest rate, credit, and inflation risk. A sustainable investment strategy which incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria.

This information has been prepared from sources believed reliable. The views expressed are as the date of this writing and are those of the Advisor to the Funds.

The Green Century Funds are distributed by UMB Distribution Services, LLC. 235 W Galena Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 3/21

Additional Articles, Energy & Climate, Food & Farming, Impact Investing, Sustainable Business

Signup to receive GreenMoney's monthly eJournal

Privacy Policy
Copyright © GreenMoney Journal 2021

Global Events Calendar

View All Events

june

14junAll Day18Responsible Investor: RI Europe 2021 Conference – virtual

15junAll Day17Circularity 21 Conference – virtual

15junAll Day18US SIF 10th Annual Conference: Forum 2021 - virtual

X