Tag: Food & Farming

Organic Valley 2023 Impact Report: Sustainable Food System & Small Family Farms

Farmer-Owned Cooperative’s Carbon Insetting Program Named as a Finalist in the General Excellence Category of Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards 

Fast Company announced its 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards today and out of 2,200 entries, Organic Valley’s innovative carbon insetting program earned recognition as a finalist and received two honorable mentions. An in-depth look at the awarded carbon insetting program, along with the cooperative’s other innovative programs, are detailed in Organic Valley’s 2023 Impact Report, also released in May.

The 2023 Impact Report unveils Organic Valley’s trailblazing initiatives to minimize its carbon footprint and champion small organic family farms to help support a better, more equitable food system.

The pioneering CROPP Carbon Insetting Program (CCIP) takes center stage, offering a groundbreaking approach to carbon insetting by rewarding Organic Valley farmers for implementing regenerative, climate-smart farming practices, such as tree planting and composting strategies. This revolutionary program empowers Organic Valley to work toward carbon neutrality without relying on carbon offsetting while financially supporting family farms’ environmental stewardship.

Organic Valley ambitiously aims to collaborate with roughly 500 farmer-members over the next five years, implementing more than 1,200 climate-smart farming practices.

Organic Valley also features animal care practices in the report including implementing pasture and outdoor access standards, preventative care, and treatment. By focusing on measurable animal welfare outcomes, Organic Valley transcends traditional methods, employing cutting-edge trigger measures to reward farmers excelling in animal care and addressing issues proactively.

In 2022 alone, the cooperative engaged with over 4,000 farms and conducted more than 2,500 farm visits. Organic Valley’s family farms boast an average of 80 dairy cows, a staggering 3.5 times smaller than the industry average, prioritizing Annual Animal Care Check-ins and comprehensive audits every three years.

The report also unveils astonishing statistics: since 1988, Organic Valley farmers have prevented over 540 million pounds of chemicals — the equivalent weight of 360,000 adult blue whales — from polluting land, waterways, and food. Moreover, the cooperative has generously donated more than 19 million pounds of food in the past seven years and partnered with numerous organizations and nonprofits to bolster local communities across the nation.

“While I am new to Organic Valley, having started as CEO in January of 2023, I am excited about what the future will bring. The story of this farmer-owned cooperative is expanding to include the real impact of the farms of Organic Valley – from the way they care deeply for the earth and animals all the way to the future of carbon and climate action,” said Jeff Frank, Organic Valley CEO.

Organic Valley’s 2023 Impact Report stands as a powerful testament to the cooperative’s unwavering devotion to sustainable agriculture and organic farming practices. The Report focuses on three areas:

Care for People – While providing high quality organic food to the world is what we do, our impact on people’s wellbeing stretches far beyond the grocery aisles. Just this year, Organic Valley brought on 84 additional small organic family farms, making it possible for those families to keep farming for generations to come. We have also continued to show our dedication to the health of our employees both on and off the job.

Care for Animals – Over the years, we’ve become known for our outstanding animal care. This year, we’re happy to report that our average dairy herd size is 3.5 times smaller than the national average, with our dairy cows spending more time outside than 95% of the dairy cows in the U.S. Also, our farmers continue to forge ahead of the industry, coming up with new and innovative ways to provide excellent animal care.

Care for the Earth – Our dedication to farming in harmony with nature and combating the climate crisis is stronger than ever. Our dairy farms produce 24% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional farms, making Organic Valley America’s Low Carbon Dairy. They’ve also kept more than 540 million pounds of pesticides off the land since 1988—enough to cover Alaska and California combined.

Additional Articles, Food & Farming, Sustainable Business

Soil Wealth Areas Unlock Investing in Conservation and Regenerative Ag

Soil Wealth Areas Report from Croatan InstituteThe Croatan Institute recently released a report, Soil Wealth Areas: Place-based Financing for Conservation, Rural Communities, and Regenerative Agriculture, summarizing a USDA-funded, feasibility assessment regarding development of place-based financing districts in four regions: North Carolina, Northern California, Oregon, and Wisconsin. The project engaged with numerous place-based partners, 40 farms across 25,000 acres, and diverse groups of investors and stakeholders. The project addressed key issues related to regenerative agricultural investment, conservation finance, and access to capital and land, particularly for small and midscale farmers and farmers of color.

Soil Wealth Areas build upon the success of other agricultural districts, such as conservation districts and farmland protection districts. They are inherently place-based and locally governed by diverse groups of regional practitioners and stakeholders, including farmers, agricultural cooperatives, conservation and community-led organizations, value-chain businesses, food hubs, food and farming advocacy groups, food policy councils, and researchers. By being based in place, Soil Wealth Areas can better respond to local producers and entrepreneurs and help ensure that capital providers are aligned with the imperatives of ecologically resilient and socially inclusive food and agricultural systems.

As part of the North Carolina Soil Wealth Areas, for example, the project team facilitated a capital collaboration with Rural Beacon Initiative and Foodshed Capital, a community development financial institution (CDFI), which financed the conservation acquisition of heirs’ property in an historic Free Black community in Martin County. The farm is now implementing a regenerative transition focused on diversified agroforestry and regional food systems.

“As we assess the systems-scale change that is needed to begin addressing historic BIPOC land loss across the Southeast, flexible capital and creative technical assistance will be crucial to achieving real results. Our partnership with Soil Wealth Areas allowed the co-creation of a vision and strategic plan to secure appropriate, patient capital to finance the future of Free Union Farms,” says William J. Barber, III, Founder and CEO of Rural Beacon Initiative and Free Union Farms. “This step will allow us to accelerate the regenerative transition of our farm and serve as a case study on how a place-based model of collaborative capital coordination can help to address the on-the-ground realities to make communities more resilient. Self-determination for communities is the goal. Flexible capital is the first step.”

“We work on a daily basis with farmers and food businesses who need more access to funding and financing so they can make investments in their operations,” said Dr. Carla Norwood, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Working Landscapes, one of the project’s many place-based partners. “Croatan Institute’s Soil Wealth Areas are helping to create more diverse funding and financing options that can better meet these needs by aligning capital providers and producers in our network to drive catalytic impact in regenerative agriculture.”

“At Croatan Institute, we envision an equitable world where finance supports flourishing communities, vibrant places, and resilient regional economies,” said Dr. Joshua Humphreys, Croatan Institute President and Principal Investigator for this report. “Soil Wealth Areas provide a new way for us to help make that vision a reality in place. Based on over two years of collaboration with farmers, place-based partners, and aligned investors, this report outlines specific recommendations for unlocking new sources of capital to finance more regenerative land stewardship and more resilient rural places.”

Additional examples of how this initiative catalyzed change include:

  • Pilot transactions in North Carolina unlocked more than $725,000 in flexible loan capital and crowdfunding donations for farmers involved in the project. The NC team also piloted a Financial Health Investment Project (“FinHealth”) with two cohorts of farmers of color to provide the kind of financial technical assistance that Soil Wealth Areas will integrate into their operations. This includes financial health coaching, farm business planning, and capital access strategies.
  • In Wisconsin, the project team helped advance policy changes to the state’s Property Assessed Clean Energy program that now extends flexible, land-secured financing to farms making conservation improvements such as managed grazing and agroforestry.
  • On the West Coast, approaches to Soil Wealth Areas differed in California and Oregon. In CA, local leadership will need to drive efforts to coordinate place-based financing at the local level in collaboration with Resource Conservation Districts and aligned capital providers like CDFIs, impact investors, donor-advised funds, and other philanthropic investors.
  • In OR, a more cohesive, statewide dialogue about a Soil Wealth Area model emerged among a growing group of organic farming advocates, land trusts, capital providers, and BIPOC farming groups. The model would ideally be rooted in the state’s diverse agricultural regions.

Following this first phase, Croatan Institute is establishing a national Soil Wealth Community to share learnings about the development of Soil Wealth Areas and place-based financing opportunities. In North Carolina, a new implementation phase of Soil Wealth Areas has begun in coordination with place-based partners, such as Rural Beacon Initiative and Working Landscapes, which is leading a parallel USDA Climate-Smart Commodities project focused on regenerative agriculture and soil health among farmers working with regional food hubs across the state.

This initial $2.5 million feasibility phase of Soil Wealth Areas during 2020-2022 was funded by a $700,000 Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and $1.8 million in private-sector contributions from a wide array of project partners, investors, foundations, and aligned initiatives.

Download a copy of the report here. 


About the Croatan Institute

Croatan Institute is an independent, nonprofit research and action institute whose mission is to build social equity and ecological resilience by leveraging finance to create pathways to a just economy.

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

Making Best Farming Practices Work for Investors

By Brian Zisk, Climate and Capital Media

This fintech dealmaker wants to restore America’s Great Plains by combining investors, land purchases, regen ag, renewable energy leases and the right boots on the ground.

Climate and Capital Media Featured NewsAmerica’s first great climate crisis was the “dust bowl” of the 1930s, a manmade environmental catastrophe that greatly eroded sections of the Great Plains in the United States. An insufficient understanding of the Plains ecosystem led to extensive deep plowing of 100 million acres of topsoil, displacing the native, deep-rooted grasses that normally trapped soil and moisture during drought and high winds to grow large quantities of wheat to supply World War I.

The deprecation of the land has continued, but entrepreneurs and investors, including Bill Gates, see a growing opportunity to acquire land at a favorable price to generate substantial monetary & cultural value with renewable technology while regenerating the depleted soil.

Tim Luckow is the founder and CEO of the Colorado-based fintech startup Farm Holdings, which provides a flexible investment platform at the intersection of land restoration, regenerative agriculture, and clean energy production.

Veteran Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur Brian Zisk spoke to him recently to find out more. 

Key points:

  • Farm’s projects are designed to match accredited investors with seasoned farmers and ranchers who want to expand and improve farmland to make a positive climate impact. Farm sets up investment deals through SPVs and earns its revenue by charging a fee.
  • One key to project success is undertaking initiatives projects is to co-locate clean energy development with grazing or farming operations.

Brian Zisk: Hi Tim. Thank you for taking the time to chat. Please tell us what you’re doing at Farm and why?

Tim Luckow: I started Farm out of an effort to try to restore as much land as possible and soon became obsessed with soil and soil erosion. We’re learning a lot about what you need to do to make regenerative agriculture work financially for investors, including partnering with farmers and ranchers around the collocation of clean energy with regenerative agriculture.

Brian: Are you the first to do this?

Tim: While we are not the first to address these issues, I think we’re doing it in a slightly different way.

Our model depends on partnering with great farmers and ranchers looking to expand, which I think is relatively unique to Farm Holdings right now. There are a lot of transition funds in agriculture saying, “You’re going from conventional agriculture to organic or regenerative agriculture, and we can help you with a three to five-year funding plan to get through that transition.

Brian: Please tell me about your deal structures. It’s not exactly a fund. Is it more like a series of investment syndicates?

Tim: We think of Farm as a platform.

At this point, we’re doing Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) for specific deals for accredited investors. We’re building a track record of doing individual projects with individual operators. We are working to do multiple projects with each partner. So, when we do a project with somebody like Breadtree Chestnut Farms out in New York, it’s not just to do one project. It’s to expand with them for years to come.

On the other side, we’re building our investor network, and we’ve got a little bit over $100 million in expressed demand, mostly just through word of mouth, which is very exciting as it shows that the demand is there and that now it’s an execution game. We need to ensure that the projects we bring to investors are sufficiently attractive.

Brian: How much capital have you deployed to this point?

Tim: We’re just launching our first accredited projects right now.

We did a small parcel in southern Colorado early last year. We’re just now going out with one for Breadtree Farms, which is a $650,000 offering to expand their chestnut farms in New York. Next will be one with a group called Ranchlands, a $7 million offering for the 80,000-acre Paint Rock Canyon Ranch in Wyoming. We have about 10 projects in the works. These types of projects take a while to pull together but we’re moving faster with each one. As a startup, it’s all about finding the right people and projects to partner with and convincing them, and then figuring out how we do this better and more efficiently.

It’s not a pure carbon play by any means nor a pure real estate play. Farm is an ecosystem play as new markets come online, such as biodiversity credits, ecosystem services, and business lines like that. 

Brian: What are you looking for in a partner? What are the parameters that would allow you to work with them?

Tim: The first is a strong track record on the operator side.

Many of these folks have over a decade of working in the space with these practices. We’re looking for leaders in their local community, folks who employ many people in that community. folks who have gotten creative to survive over multiple decades. We’re interested in people aligned with our vision who want to restore landscapes, not just looking for a perfect ranch in perfect condition.  

Brian: How about carbon credits? Are they substantial enough to significantly affect the finances of your projects?

Tim: We think of carbon credits as an additional revenue stream rather than a primary one.

We have looked at many carbon projects on their own and as parts of other projects and couldn’t make the numbers work where carbon was the primary revenue stream.

From an investor standpoint, it is tough as there are a lot of assumptions and very long timelines, especially not knowing the value of carbon credits far down the road.

Brian: So where does the additional revenue come from?

Tim: While we’re looking at projects where the primary revenue stream tends to be lease payments and revenue shares from an agricultural operation, we’re even more interested in energy leases.

A clean energy lease from a wind or solar developer can be 10x the price of an agricultural lease.

Farm’s original idea was to go buy large swaths of land and co-locate clean energy with regenerative agriculture, and what we’ve found working with agricultural operators is they are extremely open to that. Something similar has already happened historically multiple times, during the oil and gas booms, etc. Drive around Colorado, where I live now, and you’ll see oil and gas rigs on the corner of farmland most of the time.

Brian: When people invest, they want the best financial return. Do you project competitive financial returns, or are people backing Farm projects more for the additional environmental benefits?

Tim: While much of our investor community comes from an environmental standpoint, we care deeply about making the returns competitive.

We target 8%+ on our projects. With land appreciation and joint ventures, we believe we can get there. Other platforms in this space have pretty significantly outperformed their target returns. That is our hope over time, for regenerative agriculture to be a good investment, especially if you have an ownership stake in the land.

Brian: Does this investment require taking a new look at how you value land?

Tim: Yes. There are misaligned incentives at this point.

We are working on deal models where our operating partner has equity in the land, which will be important over time. Overgrazing is the classic example of where you lose value in these sorts of projects. When you’ve got a land manager with no equity stake in the land, and their entire livelihood depends on the weight of their cows, they have the cows eat as much grass as possible. They’re not thinking about the value of the land. They’re just thinking, “How will I feed my family this year”? As soon as they have a stake in the land value, it becomes a question, “is it worth me grazing that portion of land beyond this point? Is the value of keeping the land healthy worth more than that?” I believe this dynamic is underrated right now. Once folks understand and share part of the upside, it becomes an expansion game.

Brian: What do you charge for managing the investment?

Tim: We’re basically doing a percentage of invested capital and an annual management and reporting fee.

We’re justifying the 1% annual fee by planning to do a lot of work around natural reporting in addition to financial reporting. That’s part of where the impact angle comes back in. It’s going to be really interesting to see as concepts like natural capital grow. We want to be in that space. We want to work with natural capital firms and models, and there’s a lot of untapped value in the land and these landscapes when you apply that lens.

Brian: How do you balance the factors? For instance, this seems like it would be a very advantageous model for solar farms, but from my understanding, they basically strip-mine the land.

Tim: That definitely happens sometimes, though not always.

Some concepts like Agravoltaic are growing in the West right now, where you’re grazing sheep or goats around solar. They’re showing that if you do solar panels a little bit higher, you can actually provide shade and run cattle under them.  

Brian: Do you share practices regarding how people can best manage land?

Tim: Regenerative practices need more of a megaphone than secrecy.

A lot of them are known, and a lot of them are hard to implement. It’s hard to manage the landscape properly, and there are a lot of variables. There are a lot of ways that things can backfire. The aim is to build a land network and then enable younger farmers to access to the land network without risking an entire project.

Brian: What do you find most interesting that I haven’t asked? Is there anything that you’d love to try to get across about what you’re doing?

Tim: A land network that can be optimized over time will be incredibly valuable.

There’s so much complexity, and every landscape has differences. Once you’re gathering data continuously and seeing what works and what doesn’t, and what works together, you can make better use of it. Hundreds of millions of acres have zero- or one-use today that could be repurposed with a better climate and soil and biodiversity perspective.

The Value of Partnership. Beyond just the land, I get really excited about partners enabling each other. We’ve had an agro-forestry group benefitting from having cattle and bison ranchers in the network because then they can plant trees on that range land. They can’t justify an entire project based on this alone, but this is a nice little additional revenue stream. There can be a carbon revenue stream, and some can add shade and value to the property.

We have a variety of solar developers who are enabled by access to the grassland’s acreage. What gets really interesting is called behind-the-meter use. It sets up the opportunity for another lease next to an energy project and to use that electricity before it hits the grid. It could be an indoor farm, crops or crypto. You could charge your electric tractors.

Brian: What’s gating Farm from massive success? What would you do if you could blow through one thing that was blocking you?

Tim: It would make it easier for anybody to invest in these projects.

We’re currently offering under the 506c JOBS Act, and that’s why I can talk about some of this stuff. My dream for Farm is that anybody can use it like a stock trading app and invest in these projects. All of a sudden, you are looking at your land and natural capital values next to stocks and assets like that, and regenerative land is an asset class that should be in that group.


Article by Brian Zisk, who is a seed investor in and advisor to Chia Network, the eco-friendly cryptocurrency of the future being developed by Bram Cohen. He was the Head of Market Development for Chia Network prior to the network launch. Brian is a founder of BuzzMakers, Inc., which has produced 19 SF MusicTech Summits, 7 Future of Money & Technology Summits, and the Maui MusicTech Experiment. He is a co-founder of the SF MusicTech Fund. Additionally, Brian is a Board Member Emiritus and Co-Founder and of the Future of Music Coalition and has been a Board Member and/or Strategic Advisor for a wide variety of tech companies and non-profits.

Article reprinted with Permission as part of GreenMoney’s ongoing collaboration with Climate and Capital Media.

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

Regenerative Ag Sustains & Revives Local Communities

By Tracey Ryder, Edible Communities

Tracey Ryder Edible CommunitiesI believe that excellent storytelling has the power to change lives and that it is the emotional, human connection to others that makes us care, that effects change and that illuminates the humanness of others to a point we can’t ignore. And this simple concept is the foundational pillar of the work Edible Communities has done for the past two decades and continues to do.

With 75 community-based, food-focused magazines throughout North America and an annual audience of 20 million readers, I can no longer count the number of stories we’ve published that have literally changed lives. About 18 years ago, I was visiting a cheesemaker with the publisher of one of our magazines. The publisher was writing a story about a young woman who was hand pulling fresh mozzarella cheese and the photographer was busy taking photos. At some point during the interview, the cheesemaker said: “I don’t think you should publish this story about me. I’m probably going to be out of business by the time it’s in print. I’ve sold all the shares I can sell in my business and I’m just not making it.” The publisher responded: “Just hang on until the story comes out. I really believe it will help you.” I’m happy to report that all these years later, the cheesemaker is thriving, and her business did not fail. This is just one of the hundreds of times I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the power of honest, authentic storytelling in action.

But what we don’t talk about often enough is the other side of the storytelling equation, which is the sparks that are ignited when readers engage with a story that makes them take action and make change.

The very best phone call I can receive at our office is one that goes like this: “I’ve lived in this community my whole life and I had no idea we had all of these amazing people here.” That is the kind of awakening the Edible Communities magazines make possible. We write stories about local farmers, fishers, food producers, winemakers, craft brewers, food and agriculture organizations, and you, dear readers, take notice and act. And it’s not the purely transactional call to action advertisers want you to take, but rather, you buy local because it supports your neighbors, your kid’s schoolteacher who is making jam on weekends or your community leader who is trying to feed the homeless more nutritional foods.

It’s the very symbiotic exchange that happens between writer, reader and subject that makes us care — and more importantly — makes us feel connected. As the author, Robin Wall Kimmerer so eloquently writes in her book, Braiding Sweetgrass, “All flourishing is mutual,” and I could not agree more. Moreover, when that flourishing happens between members of a community, it is even more powerful.

Regenerative Parallels

When it comes to flourishing at the agricultural level, regenerative agriculture has become a hot topic over the past few years. While it is more recently trending, our Edible Communities network has seen it implemented at the local, grassroots level since we started writing more than 20 years ago. Regenerative agriculture offers an alternative approach that prioritizes both food production and environmental stewardship. Our work addresses this daily and seeks to find solutions.

In a way, the local, independent magazine network we have created from one small newsletter out of Ojai, California, has a lot of parallels to what makes regenerative agriculture smart and sustainable.

Edible Communities – From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up 

A seed won’t grow unless you plant it in soil that is already fertile and ready to nourish new life. We have found this to be true in the communities where our magazines are planted. Our magazines are only successful if the region and community they serve are willing and ready to uplift and support the stories and companies that are in the pages.

Regenerative agriculture depends on biodiversity to ensure a healthy environment for cultivation, and that mix is very much dependent on what region of the country, elevation and weather conditions are present. In the same way, each of our magazines is incredibly unique and thrives on the diversity in growers, purveyors, chefs, restaurants, policy advocates and readers who make up the community. The stories told in the pages of Edible Bozeman are entirely different than those in Edible South Florida, but they relate to and with their readers and their community.

Like with agriculture, it takes water to grow, and with a media network, it takes a village to ensure we are filling each other’s buckets with new ideas, encouragement, mentorship, motivation and sometimes a simple helping hand. Our network is a community within a community, and every member helps fill and carry buckets for their neighbors when needed.

Adopting regenerative agriculture is not the easy way, but it is the right way. It is not a way to get rich quick. It takes someone who is passionate about the work they are doing and what they are contributing to their community and to future generations — it’s a long-term investment. I see this passion daily in the efforts of our editors and publishers to continue telling important stories.

Edible Communities - Future Flourishing

Future Flourishing

Today, most of the news we see is highly charged with differing opinions and divisiveness. Media outlets are owned by media moguls who are more about advertisers’ dollars than honestly reporting the news. Regardless of what side of the aisle you’re on, you’re not getting the honest story. Independent media outlets are being challenged to the utmost today — between supply chain issues and drastically increased costs — yet we need them more than ever.

In the same way, “big ag” is dominating with its dollars and pushing food based on value, not values. The work being done to prioritize regenerative agriculture practices is immense, but we still need to get food on the table for a growing population.

The only way to help essential ideas flourish is to continue talking about them, continue reminding each other what is important and continue supporting those people doing the work to get us there.

Whether it’s your local Edible magazine or any other independent media, I hope you will support it. These outlets play a crucial role in this realm by promoting transparency, accountability and education and by advocating for sustainable practices that protect the environment, support local economies and promote social justice.

We really are all connected, from the ground up. And in this crazy post-pandemic world, we need connections more than ever. And what could be better than remembering, each and every day, that all flourishing is mutual… 


Article by Tracey Ryder, co-founder and CEO, Edible Communities — the nation’s largest media company dedicated to the sustainable food movement, which has allowed her to build an extensive network of relationships with mission-driven brands and their founders for over 20 years. Edible Communities currently publishes nearly 80 titles across North America and won the Publication of the Year Award from the James Beard Foundation. Edible Communities reaches 20 million readers each year. In 2022, the company celebrated its 20th anniversary. 

Ryder has been a marketing and communications consultant for food and agriculture companies for the past three decades and has a deep understanding of consumer trends and brands. Today, she works with several companies creating custom publications, websites, and marketing materials, and is a trained chef and recipe developer. She is a regular speaker at conferences and events on various topics relating to independent media, food and agriculture.

Additional Articles, Food & Farming, Sustainable Business

The Untapped Climate Opportunity in Alternative Proteins

By Sagar Tandon, Beyond Animal

Sagar Tandon Beyond AnimalClimate change is one of the biggest threats facing our planet today. With greenhouse gas emissions continuing to rise, it is imperative that we find innovative solutions to reduce emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change. One promising solution is the development of alternative proteins, which could offer a significant and untapped opportunity for climate financing.

Alternative proteins, which include plant-based proteins, cultured meat, and fermentation-based have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture drastically. Animal agriculture is responsible for a significant portion of global greenhouse gas emissions, with estimates ranging from 14.5% to 51% of all emissions. By developing alternative proteins, we could significantly reduce these emissions and help to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The numbers speak for themselves. According to a report from RethinkX [1], a think tank focused on technology-driven disruption, alternative proteins could capture up to 10% of the global meat market by 2035. This shift would result in a reduction of up to 2.4 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, equivalent to taking 527 million cars off the road. Furthermore, the report suggests that this shift could save up to $1.4 trillion in environmental costs by 2050.

Biodiversity and Animal Agriculture

The animal agriculture industry significantly impacts biodiversity, which refers to the variety of living organisms and ecosystems on Earth. A recent paper published in Nature[2] mentions if we continue the same level of meat production and consumption, then 17,000 species are under threat of extinction.

Here are some key ways animal agriculture affects biodiversity:

1) Habitat loss and fragmentation: The expansion of animal agriculture often leads to converting natural ecosystems, such as forests and grasslands, into agricultural land. This results in the destruction of habitats for many plant and animal species, which can lead to their decline or extinction. Fragmentation of habitats can also occur when natural ecosystems are broken into smaller patches, reducing genetic diversity and increasing vulnerability to environmental stressors.

2) Soil degradation: Animal agriculture significantly contributes to soil degradation, negatively impacting plant and animal species that depend on healthy soils for survival. Soil degradation can lead to reduced soil fertility, erosion, and desertification, which can result in the loss of habitat for many species.

3) Water pollution: Animal agriculture is a significant source of water pollution, mainly through the runoff of excess nutrients and antibiotics from animal waste. This can lead to the degradation of aquatic ecosystems and the loss of aquatic species.

4) Introduction of invasive species: The transportation of livestock and their feed across borders can lead to the introduction of invasive species that can compete with native species for resources and disrupt ecosystems.

5) Climate change: Animal agriculture significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. Climate change can significantly impact biodiversity, including changes in temperature and precipitation patterns that can negatively impact the survival of many species.

Cattle ranching is the most significant cause of deforestation in the Amazon, accounting for around 80% of the destruction.[3] This activity is primarily driven by the global demand for meat, leading to the clearing of vast areas of land to make space for cattle ranching. In Brazil, cattle ranching has been the leading cause of deforestation since at least the 1970s, with government figures attributing 38% of deforestation from 1966-1975 to large-scale cattle ranching. Today, the figure is closer to 70%.[4] 

Alternative Proteins as a Climate Financing Opportunity

These numbers highlight the significant potential of alternative proteins as a climate financing opportunity. By investing in developing and scaling alternative proteins, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create economic opportunities, and contribute to sustainable development.

In addition to the environmental benefits, alternative proteins offer other potential advantages. Plant-based proteins, for example, can be produced with significantly less land, water, and other resources than traditional animal agriculture. This can help to reduce pressure on natural resources and promote more sustainable food production. Cultured meat, meanwhile, could offer a more humane and sustainable alternative to traditional meat production, potentially reducing animal suffering and improving animal welfare.

Additionally, over 60% of all emerging infectious diseases worldwide have zoonotic origin.[5] Livestock production is one of the most significant contributors to the spread of zoonotic diseases.

In the BCG report, Food for Thought: The Protein Transformation,[6] the environmental impact of alternative meat and dairy is compared with animal-derived meat.

Investment in plant-basded meat delivers biggest emissions cuts -- Guardian

  • The shift to alternative beef, pork, chicken, and egg alternatives will save more than 1 gigaton (Gt) of CO2e by 2035—or about 0.85 Gt CO2e in 2030. This is equal to decarbonizing most aviation or shipping industries, or about 22% of the building industry. The following graph clearly shows how much investment in plant-based meat reduces emissions compared to other sectors.[7]
  • Producing animal alternatives emits 30% to 90% fewer GHGs than conventional meat, fish, dairy, and egg production. 
  • Cultured meat requires up to 78% less water than beef, and plant-based meat requires 99 percent less water than conventional meat.

We need to shift the narrative around food and sustainability. This means emphasizing the positive benefits of alternative proteins, including their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce/eliminate animal suffering, while also acknowledging the challenges and limitations of these technologies.

Investment Gap

According to the BCG report, Food for Thought: The Protein Transformation:

  • Almost 30 million tons of bioreactor capacity for microorganisms and animal cells will also be needed in the base case, requiring up to $30 billion in investment capital.
  • The extrusion capacity needed for plant-based proteins will require up to $28 billion in investment.

Just alone in APAC (Asia-Pacific), according to a report published by the PwC, Rabobank, and Temasek[8] – $750 billion in additional funding is needed by 2030 to meet the rising protein demands.

In conclusion, alternative proteins offer a significant and untapped climate financing opportunity. By investing in developing and scaling these technologies, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change but also create economic opportunities and contribute to sustainable development. To fully realize the potential of alternative proteins, we need to address the challenges and limitations of these technologies and shift the narrative around food and sustainability toward a more positive and inclusive vision of the future.


Important reference links:

Dawn of the Climavores

Food systems account for more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions

Climate-friendly foods: are alternative proteins the way forward?

Food system impacts on biodiversity loss

The way we eat could lead to habitat loss for 17,000 species by 2050

Factory farms are an ideal breeding ground for the next pandemic

Article by Sagar Tandon, Partner at Beyond Impact.

Sagar was involved in setting up 2 funds – Gray Matters Capital, edLABS & Australian Govt. DFAT backed impact fund. Led investments in 18 early-stage ventures. Mentor at Good Food Institute India & APAC, Founders Institute Food APAC and Fashion for Good, Netherlands.


[3] Amazon Deforestation: Why Is the Rainforest Being Destroyed?, by Rachel Graham

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

Climate Risks Threaten Investor Appetite for Intensive Livestock Production

By Sofía De La Parra, FAIRR Initiative

Sophia De La Parra - FAIRR InitiativeAt first glance, investment in the meat and dairy industry looks attractive. Global meat consumption is expected to grow over the next decade to a projected increase of 14% by 2030, according to the FAO. The changing global climate, however, poses significant risks and opportunities not just to this growth trajectory, but to the fundamentals of the industry.

From the rising price of feed to desertification of grazing lands and increasing regulation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock production, climate-related risks require an extra layer of analysis for asset allocation in the sector and present opportunities for transformative change in the decades ahead.

The Paradox of the Animal Protein Sector: Both a driver of climate change, and at risk from it

Readers of GreenMoney Journal are probably well-aware of the climate and environmental impacts of the animal agriculture sector. For instance, it releases more GHG emissions than every car on the planet combined, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that 14.5% of all global anthropogenic GHG emissions come from livestock production. The animal agriculture sector uses 30% of the planet’s freshwater resources and continues to be the largest driver of deforestation. It also has a large part to play in the ‘silent pandemic’ of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

What is less well reported however, and of increasing concern to financial institutions, is that the meat and dairy industry not just contributes to climate change, but is uniquely vulnerable to its effects.

A warming world, for example, means increasing heat stress on cattle. Animals that experience heat stress may have lower productivity given reduced fertility, liveweight gain and milk yield as well as immune system problems that make them more susceptible to certain diseases. Climate change increases the probability of extremes, and these fat tails have real world impacts, as we witnessed last summer when the death of thousands of cows was reported after a weekend with extreme climate conditions.

FAIRR research on material climate-related costs shows potential increases between 4-35% by 2030 and 3-53% by 2050, relative to 2020, for livestock companies based in North America, with the largest cost driver being higher animal feed prices. Thus, damaging the profitability of many meat and dairy companies, as well as those suppliers and clients that rely on them if costs are passed on.

With many of its assets operating in already water stressed areas, the livestock industry is vulnerable to decreasing freshwater quality. The sector must manage this risk alongside those it faces from increasing AMR, carbon prices and action to reduce global methane emissions.

Investors are increasingly aware of, and acting on, these risks. It is why the FAIRR Initiative, which is focused on helping investors understand risks and opportunities related to intensive livestock production, has become one of the world’s fastest growing investor networks with supporters managing over $70 trillion of assets under management (AUM) joining the network since 2016.

Pricing in Climate Risk

Data and research conducted by FAIRR supports investors in assessing systemic risks that might negatively affect the returns of their portfolios in the long run. According to FAIRR’s Climate Risk Tool, a group of 40 of the largest livestock producers face an estimated $23.7bn total decrease in earnings in 2030 compared to 2020 due to climate factors in a ‘business as usual’ scenario – based on assumptions including that the world is on track to reach 2C of warming by 2100, and that consumption of meat and dairy continues in line with current trends as the population grows to 9.2 billion in 2050. Potential hits to profits are driven largely by an increase in climate-related costs that include higher feed prices and more expected carbon taxes on emissions from livestock production.

Regulatory Risk

One of the biggest concerns for investors is that far too few meat and dairy companies are monitoring and reporting on these risks adequately. For example, by aligning the reporting to the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework which is now mandatory in locations such as the UK and New Zealand.

FAIRR’s research of 60 of the largest meat, fish and dairy firms shows 70% of the world’s largest meat, fish and dairy companies assessed since 2019 still do not disclose any animal-farming or feed-farming GHG emissions. This lack of carbon footprint disclosure can significantly impact the financial performance of companies given upcoming climate regulation by exposing them to litigation and reputational risk, as well as the prospect of increased carbon taxes. For example, by 2025 New Zealand plans to introduce an agricultural emissions pricing mechanism, which as FAIRR’s research found can impact the country’s livestock farmers through cost increases, higher debt, and potential curbs on production.

Preserving Long-term Value

Climate risk is becoming an increasingly material issue and it is crucial that investors and companies act now or risk losing out in the future. Livestock companies are both exposed to climate risk and are exacerbating climate challenges, impacting investors’ returns. However, only six out of 40 of the largest meat and dairy companies assessed have conducted climate risk scenario analysis. A relevant exercise that the TCFD recommends is to develop strategic corporate plans that are more flexible or robust to a range of plausible future states and help them take advantage of the opportunities and adequately manage risks.

Investors expect returns to reflect the risk held. This means companies that fail to manage risks or miss opportunities related to climate change will likely have financial impacts, such as an increased cost of capital.

What are Investors Doing About it? 

These figures highlight the urgent need for meat and dairy companies and their investors to mitigate the clear risk to the bottom line. This includes exploring decarbonization strategies, such as diversifying sources of proteins towards those that have lower environmental impacts and reducing the carbon footprint of livestock. Investors are also asking companies to share their action plans around the implementation of clean food technologies, improved farming practices and adoption of innovative solutions.

For example, a group of investors has engaged with 23 leading food manufacturers and retailers, including firms like Walmart, Conagra and Kroger, to encourage them to reduce their reliance on animal-derived products and increase exposure to more sustainable proteins (e.g., plant-based proteins). Companies are still navigating the challenges of reaching scale and reducing costs, yet alternative proteins have a key role to play, especially in the mid and long term, as the alternative protein market is forecast to grow 13%-35% by 2030 and 9%-14% by 2050 in relation to its size in 2020 in developed countries.

As a result of our engagement, eight out of 23 global food companies now have targets to increase the volume and sales of meat and dairy alternatives and/or reduce brand-level emissions. 100% of the companies in the engagement are now investing in the development of plant-based products.

Investors are also engaging to reduce the industry’s emissions. FAIRR’s Global Investor Engagement on Meat Sourcing is supported by an $11 trillion investor coalition and focused on six leading fast-food companies with a combined cap of more than $281 billion, including the likes of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Domino’s Pizza and McDonalds. The investors urged companies to de-risk their meat and dairy supply chains by setting ambitious targets to reduce GHG emissions as well as reduce water consumption.

As of June last year, all six of the fast-food companies have now publicly set, or have committed to set, science-based targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Chipotle has gone one step further by committing to reducing Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 50% by 2030.

Sectorial scenario analysis and company-specific data is essential for investors to make more informed investment decisions. Such data allows deeper conversations between investors and companies which can use that dialogue to develop more sustainable practices that not only mitigate climate risks, but also enhance long-term profitability and create value for all stakeholders involved.

Ultimately, collaborative engagements, supported by data, provide a powerful platform for investors to achieve their goals. And, despite the complexities of the challenge, a well-managed transition within intensive livestock production is necessary to address climate risks that are already impacting the bottom line.


Article by Sofía De La Parra, Investor Outreach Manager at the FAIRR Initiative. She is responsible for strengthening and expanding FAIRR’s investor network. Sofía leads FAIRR’s outreach work in the United States and collaborates on outreach in other global markets. She works closely with investor members to integrate material ESG issues and develop sustainable food systems as a key priority. 

Prior to this, Sofia led the Sustainable Proteins collaborative engagement, which targeted 23 food companies and had 84 investor signatories with $23bn AUM. Before joining FAIRR in March 2021, she led the project finance venture at Naked Energy Ltd, a clean-tech start-up. Sofía also worked as a Rating Analyst at S&P Global, following Latin American companies across different industries, including retail, consumer products and building materials. 

Sofía holds an MSc (Distinction) in Climate Change, Management and Finance from Imperial College London and a first-class BA in International Business Management from Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de Mexico. She also holds a CFA certificate in ESG Investing.

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

Three Trends Driving the Growth of Organic Agriculture

By Craig Wichner, Farmland LP

Craig Wichner of Farmland LP-2023Blueberries at Burns Farms, Planting Phase 2

It was a breakout year for organic agriculture in 2022. Consumer demand for organic food continued its steady rise, with strong prices for producers, rising land values and excellent returns for investors.

Beyond these results, three significant trends were sharply apparent last year that will continue to affect not only organic farming but the entire agriculture sector – rising consumer demand for healthy food, the fragility of the conventional farming system and investor interest in sustainable farmland practices.

Organic’s Strong Market Fundamentals

The organic market is enjoying strong momentum. Demand is growing because consumers increasingly recognize the benefits of pesticide-free healthy organic food. They also see that conventional chemical-based farming and food production are increasingly industrialized and commoditized, harming the environment and producing unhealthy, pesticide-laden food.

Today, organic food is a $56 billion market and represents 6% of all U.S. food sales. Demand is growing at 13% annually and is constrained by a lack of supply, since organic cropland is only 1.2% of all farmable acreage in the U.S. and is growing by just 7% yearly. The result is a 50-200 percent price premium for organic produce.

Those strong fundamentals were reflected in our business, too. Farmland LP marked its 14th year in operation in 2022, and we have demonstrated over that time that organic farming is profitable at scale. Today, we manage more than 16,000 acres, valued at $250 million, and 40 crops are grown on our farms. By converting conventional farmland to organic, we have increased rents from $300/acre to $750/acre. We have also increased revenue per-acre up to ten times by converting from commodity crops to higher value and permanent crops.

Conventional Farming is Vulnerable

Last year, the organic sector was able to avoid many of the pitfalls that disrupted traditional agriculture. The war in Ukraine was a colossal blow to conventional chemical-based farming because it sparked a price jump in natural gas, a key input for the fertilizer on which it depends. Fertilizer costs for conventional farmers reached record levels in 2022 and accounted for 36 percent of a farmer’s operating costs for corn and 35 percent for wheat, according to the USDA[1].

Meanwhile, the cost for compost, the main fertilizer for organic acreage, was up only marginally.

It’s not just the impact of the Ukraine war that showed how fragile conventional farming is today. Climate change is also affecting costs and output. Climate change is expected to produce rainstorms of higher frequency and severity, with potentially devastating effects on farming. Heavy rains late in the growing season in the Midwest impact the drying period needed for corn production and are a stark illustration of these risks.

Very few farms – and certainly almost no industrial-scale producers – are adapting their management methods to the realities of climate change.

By contrast, we invest with climate change in mind. We use computer modeling and satellite mapping to identify farms that are well placed to withstand climate shocks. Once we add them to our portfolio, we convert the acres from environmentally damaging, chemical-dependent commodity crops to an organic and regenerative system that can be productive, profitable and resilient as climate change advances.

Overcoming the Barriers to Organic Production

There are significant barriers to converting farmland to organic. It starts with the way farmland is owned. Approximately 40% of US cropland is owned by absentee landlords. Many received it generations ago during the Homestead Acts, but now their descendants live in cities and no longer farm directly. Most of this land is farmed by tenant commodity farmers who farm one or two crops, usually corn and soybeans. Expertise is another barrier, as owners and tenants often lack the knowledge on how to transition to and farm organic crops.

But perhaps the most significant barrier is economic. It takes three years to convert land to Certified Organic and at least five years for value-added permanent crops to reach full production. Absentee owners would have lower rental income during this transition period, as would tenant farmers. And the tenant farmers also would not benefit from the increase in land values once the organic conversion is completed.

(There are also deeply entrenched federal policies that subsidize industrial farming and impede the growth of organic, but that is topic for another time.)

We have overcome these barriers through our operating expertise, market knowledge and, most importantly, our capital structure, which enables us to make the multi-year investment in organic conversion.

Let’s look at an example. We acquired Burns Farm, a 4,000-acre farm in northern California, in 2013. It had been farming the same three crops for 50 years, rotating them about every five years. It had no organic acres or permanent crops.

Today, after completing the conversion process, 80% of the farmable acreage is Certified Organic and grows a dozen permanent and row crops, from organic blueberries, green beans and squash to olives and almonds. Revenue per organic acre is up more than 2x to $800/acre today, and the appraised value of the farm has increased 3.0X since we acquired it.

Investors Want Sustainable Farmland Investments

Finally, the past year has seen a dramatic rise among investors for sustainable farming opportunities as they seek to align their capital allocation with their values.

Sustainability is at the heart of our strategy, and we do not compromise on returns. Indeed, many of our 1,000+ investors participate in our funds because of our sustainable farming practices and favorable financial performance. They understand that best-in-class soil health and farmland management practices drive both financial returns and ESG benefits.

And, unlike most other farmland managers, we can document our environmental improvements. In a USDA study[2], our first farmland investment fund demonstrated $21.4 million in net ecosystem benefits using regenerative farm management practices at scale. There is economic value in clean water, diverse pollinator habitats and healthy soils.

We advise investors – both individuals and institutions – to watch for managers that make marketing claims about sustainability. Empty rhetoric and greenwashing have spread into farmland investing like an outbreak of ragweed. Any farming standard that supports chemical-based monocropping cannot be considered “sustainable,” no matter how appealing its branding might be.

Our practices have made Farmland LP the highest-rated company globally for corporate sustainability, according to HIP Investor, a leading independent sustainability ratings service. Our 82.0 rating (of a possible 100) places Farmland LP as #1 in HIP Investor’s worldwide corporate universe of 10,000 corporations, as well as at the top of the agricultural real estate investment trust (REIT) category, the closest comparable peer group.

In the year ahead, we expect capital to continue to flow into the sector as more investors recognize the benefits of farmland investing. Managers that can demonstrate their positive impact on the environment and a track record of favorable returns will be best positioned to attract investor capital – and help drive the growth of a more sustainable food system.


Article by Craig Wichner is CEO of Farmland LP, the largest manager focused on organic and regenerative farmland in the US, with 16,000 acres in Washington, Oregon and Northern California valued at $250 million.

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

Public Equity Investing in Sustainable Food and Agriculture

By Paul Hilton, Trillium Asset Management

Trillium’s Sustainable Opportunities thematic suite of public equity strategies aims to address global sustainability challenges in three core areas:  climate solutions, economic inclusion, and healthy living. Since 2008, Sustainable Opportunities has looked to identify companies benefiting from the shift to a more sustainable economy. As an intersecting theme, sustainable food and agriculture cuts across these issues, and yet it is a difficult theme to play in public equities.

The three general categories of sustainable food and agriculture investments in public markets include:

•  Agricultural and irrigation equipment

•  Food production and distribution

•  Food retailers, food service, and restaurants

The planet needs more food, and more equitable food distribution, to meet the needs of a growing global population. According to the World Health Organization, roughly 45% of deaths among children under 5 years of age are linked to undernutrition. A 2021 FAO study found that 690 million people globally are hungry, 8.9% of the world population. And yet we are faced with a scarcity of resources made more insecure based on the growing threats related to climate change, including extreme weather events, invasive pest spread, and plant migration. Agriculture and food production are a big part of the climate change problem, representing 19-29% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Unfortunately, many large companies focused on agriculture in the public markets have been involved in factory farming, deforestation, prevalent use of pesticides, and excessive water consumption. Some have also been implicated in land grabs that have helped to push smaller farmers out of business. On the other hand, smaller, new-to-market companies have their own issues. Many are in an earlier phase of their business cycle and are often unprofitable, some have small market caps and are more volatile, and many have a very short financial history. In the post-covid period, some new entrants have seen their shares decimated as growth expectations came down in a rising interest rate environment. We’ve seen stocks like Beyond Meat fall to just a fraction of the IPO value as competition grew and the projected sales curve never materialized. As we look to identify solutions-focused companies, there must be a high bar to determine companies that are not just “green-washing” as well as identifying companies with well-developed business strategies, proven management, strong balance sheets, and enough scale to compete.

This article does not attempt to touch on the work on sustainable farming in other asset classes beyond public equities, such as that being done by smaller, private companies, through green bonds, CDFI loan funds, or farmland REITS.  For more information about these investments, see this paper from Croatan Institute.

Some public equity strategies will also engage companies through shareholder advocacy to push them on a variety of issues related to sustainable food. Trillium began engaging companies on food more than 20 years ago, when it became the first investment firm to file a shareholder proposal on the issue of animal welfare. In 2002, Trillium also became the first sustainable investment firm to file a shareholder proposal on the issue of GMO labeling at Whole Foods Markets. More recently, we have engaged on issues including food waste, packaging, and climate targets. 

Advocacy in Action – WhiteWave Foods: Palm Oil Impacts (2016)

Palm oil is a commodity that has attracted high profile scrutiny for its role in deforestation and human rights abuses. Given consumer and regulatory demand, many companies have committed to tracking and reducing pesticide use, leaving laggards at a competitive disadvantage.

WhiteWave Foods [acquired by Danone in 2017] sourced 100% of its palm oil through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) mass balance certification system. WWAV also specifies in its Supplier Code of Conduct that its suppliers must protect areas of High Conservation Value (HCV). However, due to shortcomings in the RSPO Principles and Criteria, these actions alone do not ensure that the palm oil in WWAV products has not contributed to deforestation or human rights abuses. For example, the RSPO does not mandate protection of High Carbon Stock (HCS) forests or peatlands, two carbon-rich forest ecosystems that are commonly cleared for palm oil cultivation.

In 2016, several high-profile food manufacturing companies committed to specific protections for all forest types, including HCS forests and peatlands, in addition to stronger human rights protections. Through a shareholder proposal, Trillium sought a similar specific commitments from WhiteWave to demonstrate their stated intention to “affect positive change by expecting ourselves and our suppliers to constantly seek – and create – opportunities to source more responsibly.”

Trillium was pleased to withdraw the shareholder proposal after management agreed to disclose at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, that demonstrates how WWAV works to curtail the company’s actual impact on deforestation and human rights violations, beyond simply purchasing RSPO mass balanced palm oil. For more information: Trillium’s WhiteWave Foods Engagement

Trillium Sustainable Food & Agriculture Holdings*

Trillium’s Sustainable Opportunities strategy holds companies that we believe are strategic ESG leaders with above-average operating fundamentals and growth opportunities over the long-term in three core areas: climate solutions, economic inclusion, and healthy living — including sustainable food and agriculture solutions leaders.

Below are a few companies held within our portfolio with business models clearly exposed to sustainable food and agriculture, and that highlight our exposure across the sustainable food and agriculture solutions supply chain.

Kerry Group – With origins as a small dairy company in Ireland, Kerry Group is now a large global multinational food ingredients and flavorings business. The company has a goal to reach over two billion people with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030 with programs including partnering to help indigenous farmers in Madagascar produce sustainable 100% certified organic vanilla, improving farm productivity in Kenya, and working to fight malnutrition in Niger. Kerry’s taste and texture solutions also help food companies produce meat alternatives that taste better and have improved nutritional profiles as well as smaller environmental footprints. 

McCormick – As a producer of spices and flavorings, McCormick has increased its focus on healthy product development and transparent labeling, with a growing mix of products using designations such as organic, non-GMO, and BPA-free. Through its Sustainable Sourcing Framework, McCormick seeks to source all herbs and spices sustainably, with standards for farmer resilience, women’s empowerment, and ethical behavior. The company seeks to improve and measure smallholder farmer skill/capacity, income, access to financial services, education, and nutrition/health.

Xylem – A leading global water company, Xylem produces a number of products for the agricultural market, including pumps, mixers, and water handling systems, as well as products to treat and analyze wastewater. Per the company, the agriculture industry is responsible for 70% of the world’s water use. Xylem’s energy efficient products help small farmers reduce energy consumption for irrigation, which is a major cost of business.

* This list is not inclusive of all Trillium Sustainable Opportunities portfolio holdings or all sustainable food and agriculture holdings. These companies were selected based on breadth of business models in the sustainable food and agriculture arena.


Article by Paul Hilton, CFA, Portfolio Manager and Research Analyst at Trillium Asset Management, covering the Consumer Discretionary sector and is the lead Manager for the Sustainable Opportunities strategy. He is also a member of the portfolio management team for the Green Century Balanced Fund, for which Trillium serves as a sub-advisor. Prior to joining Trillium in 2011, he was Vice President of Sustainable Investment Business Strategy at Calvert Investments and also previously held senior positions within Calvert’s Equities and Marketing Departments.

Paul also served as Portfolio Manager for Socially Responsible Investing at The Dreyfus Corporation, then a division of Mellon Bank, and as a Research Analyst in the Social Awareness Investment (SAI) program at Smith Barney Asset Management, then a division of Citigroup. Paul started his career as an Analyst with the Council on Economic Priorities, a non-profit known for an influential consumer guidebook called “Shopping for a Better World.” 

Paul is former Board Chair of US SIF, former Treasurer of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), and founder of the Social Investment Research Analysts Network (SIRAN), the first U.S. network of sustainability analysts. He is a member of CFA Society Boston and a Chartered Financial Analyst, and holds Master’s degrees in Anthropology from New York University and Education from Roberts Wesleyan College. Paul is a frequent speaker on topics related to approaches to SRI/ESG investing and the growing market for products in this space.

Important Disclosure Information.

This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. The specific securities were selected on an objective basis and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. Information and opinions expressed are those of the author and may not reflect the opinions of other investment teams within Trillium Asset Management. Information is current as of the date appearing in this material only and subject to change without notice.

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

Domini Impact Investments Releases 2022 Impact Report

The Report Highlight Action on Climate Transition, Forest Protection, and Workers’ Rights

2022’s environmental and social challenges brought about ambitious work and new solutions. The need for climate action intensified, and companies are responding with improved reporting, better jobs, and new decarbonization efforts. Deforestation continues to threaten biodiversity, but the global community is coming together to end nature loss this decade. And while war and persecution persist, governments and companies are stepping in to defend human rights.

Domini’s new report underscores how our impact investment standards, in-house research, and corporate engagement helped to address some of 2022’s most pressing issues — across the environment, human dignity, racial equity, gender, and more.

“Encouraging companies to deepen their sustainability efforts was a focus of our work in 2022,” said Domini CEO Carole Laible. “We understand finance’s role in helping drive progress. We leveraged it to support the climate transition, safeguard nature, and promote equity.”

Here are some Highlights from Domini’s work and impact in 2022:

Domini Strength In Numbers 2022 Impact ReportReduced carbon intensity – All Domini equity funds continued to be less carbon intensive than their respective benchmarks. We also saw a stronger commitment of companies held in each of the funds to setting science-based targets.

  • The Domini Impact Equity Fund’s portfolio was 64% less carbon intensive than its benchmark in 2022. 53% of our portfolio companies have set or committed to set science-based targets to reduce emissions.
  • We also worked with banks on net-zero targets, encouraging measurement and goal setting on financed emissions and, when relevant, the phase-out of the most polluting sectors.

Preserving forests and nature – We have a long-term initiative to protect and preserve forests. It’s important that we work towards ending deforestation this decade. 

  • We dialogued directly with several companies—communicating investor expectations around deforestation policy commitments, demonstrating how supply chains can be transformed, and helping ensure respect for human rights where deforestation may impact communities or rightsholders. 
  • We took part in key conversations at the United Nations’ COP15 conference on biodiversity and Climate Week NYC 2022, helping guide leaders towards a new international biodiversity framework.

Lifting up climate justice Transitioning to a lower-carbon economy needs to be an equitable, holistic process that doesn’t leave anyone behind. 

  • Our standards helped us identify and invest in companies that are seeking and listening to input from their workers as part of efforts to make their business operations more sustainable. 
  • We also identified companies that provide workers with strong labor protections and fair wages—or are retaining or hiring workers from carbon-intensive roles, who bring valuable expertise to the low-carbon transition.

Direct dialogue with companies – Investors have a powerful voice. Direct dialogue, collaboration, and partnerships play a crucial role in improving corporate governance and encouraging stronger policies.

  • Our advocacy with companies, regulators, and other decision makers totaled to 382 engagements. Nearly half of these incorporated a racial justice lens, aiming to help create change at the intersection of race and other environmental and social issues.
  • Many companies—even those not domiciled in Russia—may be impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine through supply chains, workers, and direct operations. We engaged with companies to conduct enhanced human rights due diligence as they evaluate the appropriate way forward.
  • We encouraged supermarket chains to join the Milk with Dignity program and the Fair Food Program, which aim to ensure concrete protections for farmers, farmworkers, and other at-risk workers in the supply chain.

Read the full report here.


About Domini Impact Investments LLC:

Domini Impact Investments LLC is a women-led SEC registered investment adviser that harnesses the power of finance to help create a better world. With an exclusive focus on impact investing, we aim to help drive positive outcomes for our planet and its people while seeking competitive financial returns. Our continuous innovation and caring, diverse community fuel tomorrow’s prosperity as we endeavor to make “investing for good” the way all investing is done.

Before investing, consider each Fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Contact us at 1.800.582.6757 for a prospectus containing this and other important information. Read it carefully.

An investment in the Domini Funds is not a bank deposit, is not insured, and is subject to certain risks, including loss of principal. An investment in the Domini Impact Equity Fund is subject to certain risks, including impact investing, portfolio management, information, market, mid- to large-cap companies, and small-cap companies risks. An investment in the Domini International Opportunities Fund is subject to certain risks, including foreign investing, geographic focus, country, currency, impact investing, portfolio management, and information risks. An investment in the Domini Sustainable Solutions Fund is subject to certain risks, including sustainable investing, portfolio management, information, market, mid- to large-cap companies, and small-cap companies risks. An investment in the Domini Impact International Equity Fund is subject to certain risks, including foreign investing and emerging markets, geographic focus, country, currency, impact investing, portfolio management, and quantitative investment approach 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. An investment in the Domini Impact Bond Fund is subject to certain risks including impact investing, portfolio management, style, information, market, interest rate, and credit risks.

The Adviser’s evaluation of environmental and social factors in its investment selections and the timing of the Subadviser’s implementation of the Adviser’s investment selections will affect the Fund’s exposure to certain issuers, industries, sectors, regions, and countries and may impact the relative financial performance of the Fund depending on whether such investments are in or out of favor. The value of your investment may decrease if the Adviser’s or Subadviser’s judgment about Fund investments does not produce the desired results. There is a risk that information used by the Adviser to evaluate environmental and social factors, may not be readily available or complete, which could negatively impact the Adviser’s ability to evaluate such factors and Fund performance.

The Domini Funds are only offered for sale in the United States. DSIL Investment Services LLC, Distributor, Member FINRA. Domini Impact Investments LLC is the Funds’ Adviser. The Funds are subadvised by unaffiliated entities.

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

Green Century Funds President Named to Prestigious Barron’s List

Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Funds, was named to Barron’s 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance, joining the ranks of prominent women including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other notable names in finance.

Samuelrich has been an articulate and powerful voice in promoting environmentally and sustainable investing for the past 10 years at the helm of Green Century Funds. She and others have taken diverse paths into positions of prominence on Barron’s fourth annual list

From innovators to change agents, she joins financial leaders at the Federal Reserve, the International Money Fund, Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, and other senior leadership positions in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. Samuelrich is one of a few women honored on the list to work in the responsible investing field. The list of women, all based in the U.S., is chosen by a panel of Barron’s writers and editors and is based on external and internal nominations, according to Barron’s

“I am truly honored to be chosen to join these influential and groundbreaking women in finance,” she said. “At Green Century Funds, we help individuals genuinely align their investments with their values by keeping their money out of environmentally harmful industries such as fossil fuels, tobacco, and factory farming. We also flex our power as shareholders and successfully get companies to cut carbon footprints, plastic pollution, deforestation, and other environmentally harmful practices. We work with about 100 companies each year to bring about change and hold them accountable.”

After majoring in economics at Boston College, Samuelrich gained more than 25 years of experience in corporate engagement and environmental and public health advocacy. Her comments have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, Barron’s, Morningstar, the New York Times, and many other outlets. She was named to InsideClimate News’ inaugural list of Climate Action 30 in 2022 and recently completed her second term on the Board of Directors of the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (US SIF).

She has attracted attention for her ability to take strong positions and educate the public and financial advisors about greenwashing, ESG criteria, divestment, engagement, and other practices. 

The Green Century Funds have experienced 341 percent growth under her leadership and her efforts advance its goal of aligning people’s investments with their values.

The Green Century Funds are one of the pioneers of fossil fuel free mutual funds with about $1 billion in managed assets. Green Century Capital Management is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds and is owned by nine Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), nonprofits that advocate for environmental and public health issues. This unique ownership structure means that every dollar Green Century earns managing its Funds can support those nonprofit organizations and their critical work to protect the environment and public health and enact positive public policy.   

An investment strategy that incorporates environmental, social and governance criteria may result in lower or higher returns than an investment strategy that does not include such criteria. 



°Green Century Capital Management, Inc. (Green Century) is the investment advisor to the Green Century Funds (The Funds). The Green Century Funds are one of the first families of fossil fuel-free, environmentally responsible mutual funds. Green Century hosts an award-winning and in-house shareholder advocacy program and is a 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 visit www.greencentury.com , 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.

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. 

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

Signup to receive GreenMoney's monthly eJournal

Privacy Policy
Copyright © GreenMoney Journal 2023

Website design & development by BrandNature

Global Events Calendar

View All Events


26sepAll Day27The ESG Forum 2023 - virtual

26sepAll Day29Greenbuild International Conference and Expo – DC

27sepAll DayESG in Fixed Income Global Series 2023 - NYC