Tag: Food & Farming

Ten Trends Shaping Sustainability in 2021-from Center for Sustainability and Excellence-GreenMoney

10 Trends That Will Shape Sustainability in 2021 and Beyond

By Research Team, Center for Sustainability & Excellence

The COVID-19 pandemic came in 2020 to reinforce the climate crisis and increase business challenges and risks for investors and C-Suite Executives in several sectors.

Let’s take a look at important trends, based on CSE recent research, which cannot be ignored by organizations. Climate risks, ESG factors for investors, non-economic disclosures, social inequality, ’Circular Economy’ and ‘Carbon Net Zero’ strategies are some of the issues that will be on the top of C-Suite Executives to-do-list of in order to introduce more resilient and sustainable strategies to their organizations for 2021 and beyond.

Here are the Top 10 Trends in sustainable business in 2021:

• Comprehensive consideration of ESG factors and access to capital
In order to mitigate the financial losses of this year, special emphasis will be given on regulating both access to funding and corporate ESG behavior. The trend towards increasing ESG coverage will lead to more disclosures, check and data points. It should be noted that ESG issues are increasingly the focus of investors and regulators in North America.

• Use of ESG ratings and Standards is becoming the norm
Looking at CSE’s latest ESG research in over 600 companies in North America, ESG rating and SASB Standards are increasingly popular to provide information in a manner that is most relevant to their financial stakeholders and investors. Moreover, the TCFD recommendations are gaining traction, as 38% of the top 10 companies are identifying and reporting their climate-related financial risks and opportunities. The number is expected to rise through 2021.

• Climate change risks and transparency
Five years ago, investors committed to align with the Paris Agreement, leading companies into a series of radical changes. Those who still do not disclose environmental data will feel the consequences more than any other year. The organizations that use the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), for the disclosure of the climate-related financial risk, have doubled compared to 2019.

• Changing Policies in financial institutions
The pressure is now transferred to the Financial Sector, calling on them to adopt strategies to reduce the carbon footprint, with restrictions and the phase out of fossil fuel financing. According to the Institute for Economic Energy and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), 150 major global financial institutions have implemented policies to exit coal, with 65 Financial Institutions committing to stricter lending guidelines.

• Reorganization of the supply chain and production
Many companies have recently faced severe supply shortages due to the pandemic. The closure of production sites, the inability to transport goods and much more led not only to the review of suppliers, but also the production process itself. ESG criteria will be further integrated into the supply chain process.

• Circular economy integration
Perhaps the above could be a prelude to change, as the concept of the Circular Economy is going to be consolidated next year and remodeling the production is what many entrepreneurs should be concerned about. Companies need to move fast towards the new commitments to make all packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. More than 400 companies have adopted the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, while companies representing 20% of all plastic packaging produced worldwide have already committed to replacing their packages by 2025.

• Zero Waste
Efforts to eliminate the increased waste problem will continue. This will be achieved through the application of state-of-the-art technology and through an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination between recyclers, designers, packers, manufacturers, companies and governments. According to the National Zero Waste Conference, there are plans to develop policy recommendations for 2021 based on the new goals of the Biden Administration, while the priority is on the market of recycled products.

• Sustainable materials
In light of the zero waste and the circular economy, the transition from plastic to paper has become an increasingly popular option. The use of aluminum cans is expected to increase just as significantly due to its distinctive features – its durability and the fact that it is light weight.

• Social equality as a source of sustainable business
The crisis of Covid-19 came to rekindle something that had been overlooked throughout the last years- the huge levels of inequality in global wealth. In 2021, it is predicted that investors will engage in approaches with innovative practices that will promote equality and could be a source of sustainable business advantage.

• Biodiversity crisis
The pandemic has reminded us that nature is important not only for human preservation, but also for maintaining the world economy. There will be a transformation in the way investors deal with the loss of biodiversity.

 

Article by the Research Team at CSE – Center for Sustainability and Excellence

CSE is a leading boutique firm operating globally that specializes in maximizing your business impact in Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility. For more than a decade, we have been helping professionals advance their careers through our certified on-site, online and group training services globally and supporting companies and organizations to grow and excel through Sustainability consulting and coaching.

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Saving Biodiversity-Investing in Climate Change is Not Enough-by Vicki Benjamin-Karner Blue Capital

Saving Biodiversity: Investing in Climate Change is Not Enough

By Vicki Benjamin, Karner Blue Capital

Vicki Benjamin-Karner Blue Capital-GreenMoneyThe two urgent environmental problems that will define this millennium and our lifetimes are climate change and biodiversity loss. Although both are the result of the actions of mankind, they are distinct issues and their consequences are, inextricably linked. The detrimental effects of biodiversity loss contribute to the magnitude of the climate change crisis, while climate change exacerbates biodiversity loss. Examining the nexus of these challenges is valuable to academics, scientists, and investors alike with a shared interest in finding solutions that simultaneously mitigate both challenges while ensuring the future sustainability of the planet.

Why is Biodiversity Important?

Biodiversity sustains ecosystems, supplies oxygen for clean air, protects water and soil, and breaks down pollution and waste. Protecting biodiversity contributes to climate stability through terrestrial and aquatic carbon absorption. Economically, biodiversity is a vital source of raw materials for products in industries such as food, pharmaceuticals, textiles, wood, and energy.1  In essence, biodiversity ensures the sustainability of life on earth.

How Does Climate Change Affect Biodiversity?

Climate change, or global warming, is primarily the result of human activity related to the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, transportation, and household cooking. These gases (composed of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) remain in the atmosphere for years, even decades, radiating heat back into the Earth’s atmosphere. This entrapment of radiation results in the warming of the planet’s atmosphere, affecting climate and weather patterns.

Climate change threatens biodiversity by disrupting ecosystems as well as the plants and animals that dwell in them. Changes in weather and seasonality alter food availability and feeding patterns; reproductive cycles and fertility; habitability of location due to temperature, water, and landscape adaptability; and migratory patterns. These migratory patterns result in the introduction of non-native “invasive” species to environments, as rising land and sea temperatures increasingly force species to relocate to cooler climates. In and of itself, this migration can exacerbate climate change.

Other Threats to Biodiversity

As harmful as climate change is to biodiversity, there would be a crisis of species loss even without greenhouse gas emissions and global warming due to resource depletion of wetlands and forests, exploitation of fish and endangered animals for food, and the introduction of invasive species into non-native environments through human movement, such as by boats and ships, and even automobiles.

The causes of biodiversity loss can be summarized into five primary driving factors, easily remembered by the acronym HIPPO (a species currently vulnerable to extinction): habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, human population, and overharvesting.2  Due to the cumulative impact of these factors, approximately 25 percent of all species (estimated to be between 8 and 10 million) are currently endangered, and 1 million creatures are at risk of extinction within this decade.

Potential Solutions

A multitude of remedies that are beneficial in addressing both the biodiversity loss and climate change crises do exist, including nature-based solutions, such as regenerative agriculture or natural infrastructure; emission-capture technologies that reduce the need for disruptive ground extraction; and circular economy strategies that recycle and avoid the need to source new raw materials. Through these solutions and others, farmers can maximize crop yields, communities can protect against natural disasters, upstream energy producers may receive favorable tax breaks, and manufacturers are able to eliminate or reduce the cost of buying new raw materials. These solution sets not only mitigate the biodiversity loss and climate change, but also, offer financial opportunities for cost savings and liability prevention.

Karner Blue Capital Proprietary Research Methodology

Karner Blue Capital (KBC) biodiversity research analysts benchmark companies operating in specific industries considered to have material dependencies and/or impacts on biodiversity and climate change using KBC’s proprietary industry-specific frameworks. Only companies that have met an overall ESG threshold are eligible for consideration. The KBC frameworks, or models are comprised of key performance indicators that represent significant environmental, social and governmental risks specific to each industry. These risks are wide ranging and those attributed to “E” include climate change, resource dependency, pollution and invasive species mitigation. Risks specific to “S” include threats to human health, including pandemics, social license to operate, and changing societal and consumer preferences. Risks specific to “G” include legislative (local and national) regulatory changes and liabilities related to the changes in those rules.

KBC analysts also evaluate industry and company-specific innovations and opportunities, focusing on those that develop technologies to mitigate their impacts, invent alternative products and services that disrupt traditional status quo operating protocols, and seek solutions to the complex problems of biodiversity loss and climate change. Only those companies leading their industry in biodiversity performance are further evaluated for financial opportunity by our investment team. We apply Quality at a Reasonable Price fundamental financial analysis to assess companies in the investable universe on growth, profitability, valuation, and balance sheet metrics to create a portfolio of public equities characterized by both robust sustainability practices and financial prospects. This is the work of Karner Blue Capital. We invite you to learn more here.

 

Article by Vicki Benjamin, CEO of Karner Blue Capital. Vicki is a co-founder of the Adviser and has been its Chief Executive Officer since it commenced operations as an investment adviser in 2018. Vicki maintains a 57% ownership stake in KBC. Ms. Benjamin was a partner at KPMG from September 2005 until February 2015, when she joined Calvert Investments, Inc. as its Chief Financial Officer. She served as the President of Calvert Investments, Inc. from January 2017 through June 2020. She received a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and an M.B.A. from Bentley University McCallum Graduate School of Business.

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Photo by Markus Winkler - Unsplash - GreenMoney 2021 Editorial Calendar

GreenMoney Journal’s 2021 Editorial Calendar

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The GreenMoney Journal team is excited to announce our updated Editorial Calendar for 2021. Truthfully, we spend months deciding on these themes and you’ll notice we have added a couple of new ones for 2021 including ‘Green Impact Bonds’ and ‘Oceans and Climate’

Each issue explores different aspects of the topic throughout the month online and in our biweekly eJournals. Overall, GreenMoney reports on the growing impact of sustainable investing and business on sectors including Organic Agriculture, Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Women’s Leadership, Millennial Activism, Ethical Business, Social Change Philanthropy, Impact Investing, and more. 

And believe it or not, next year 2022 is our 30th Anniversary year!

2021 Editorial Calendar Themes

March 21 Our Money Stories: Truth Be Told
April 21 Women and Investing: Changing the World
May 21 Annual All-Videos Issue: SRI, ESG and CSR
June 21 Investing in Sustainable Agriculture
July 21 The World of Green Building and Energy
August 21 Circular Economy and Sustainable Business
September 21 Oceans and Climate (new theme)
October 21 Community Impact Investing
November 21 Green Impact Bonds (new theme)
December 21 Women and Investing: Outlook on 2022
January 22 Our Special 200th Issue: Readers Favorites
February 22 Millennials and Money: Next Gen of Impact

If you are interested in working with us, you can find more information here: Advertising and Sponsorships here on greenmoney.com and in our biweekly eJournals.

We are also always looking for good content. If you have news to submit, contact founder/publisher Cliff Feigenbaum.   

Subscribe to our free biweekly eJournal here.

 

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Starbucks Announces Mellody Hobson as Next Board Chair-GreenMoney

Starbucks Announces Mellody Hobson as Next Board Chair

Currently serving as vice chair of the Starbucks board of directors, Hobson will succeed current chair, Myron E. Ullman, III upon his retirement in March 2021

Starbucks Corporation recently announced that Mellody Hobson will serve as the company’s next non-executive chair of its board of directors starting in March 2021. Hobson, who first joined the board as an independent director in 2005 and was appointed as the board’s independent vice chair in 2018, will succeed Myron (Mike) E. Ullman, III. Ullman, who has served on the board since 2003 and has served as its chair since 2018, will retire from the board in March 2021, and Hobson will assume the role of chair in connection with the Starbucks Annual Meeting of Shareholders in March 2021.

“It has been remarkable to be a part of the Starbucks board for nearly 18 years as this enduring company has grown with a mindset of prioritizing its people and its customers,” said Ullman. “It also has been an honor to serve as the chair of the Starbucks board, and to support and oversee the relationships of trust built with our stakeholders. With its Mission and Values as its guide, I am confident in the future of the company.”

“From the very beginning, I set out to build a different kind of company – one in which all decisions were to be made through the lens of humanity,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks modern day founder and chairman emeritus. “As a member of the board for the last 18 years and board chair since my departure, Mike has been instrumental in ensuring Starbucks answers its higher calling to be a different kind of public company. I am grateful to him for all his contributions and his enduring partnership to me and to Starbucks. Mellody has been a trusted advisor to me and the company for more than 20 years. She is a fearless leader defined by her grace and wisdom. She has long embraced the purpose of Starbucks and, along with the leadership team, will continue to reimagine Starbucks future through the foundation of its past. My heart is full and thankful that Starbucks will have Mellody’s leadership as chair.”

In addition to serving over 15 years on the Starbucks board of directors, Hobson is the co-CEO of Ariel Investments, LLC, a global value-based asset management firm. In this role, she is responsible for management, strategic planning and growth for all areas of Ariel Investments outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as Chairman of the Board of the company’s publicly traded mutual funds. Prior to being named Co-CEO, Hobson spent nearly two decades as the firm’s President. Beyond Starbucks, she has brought invaluable experience to boardrooms across the nation. She currently serves as a director of JPMorgan Chase. Hobson is also a past director of Estée Lauder Companies and served as Chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation until the company’s sale.

“I am thrilled and honored to take on the role of chair,” said Hobson. “Over nearly two decades, I have seen the company continue to elevate and transform its business – adapting to various market environments and evolving consumer trends. I look forward to working with the board and talented leadership team on accelerating our strategy, supporting our valued partners, and continuing to create significant value for all of our stakeholders.” Hobson continued, “On behalf of the board, I would also like to thank Mike for his strong leadership, and all of his invaluable contributions.”

Hobson also serves as Chairman of After School Matters, a Chicago non-profit that provides area teens with high-quality after school and summer programs. Additionally, she is vice chair of World Business Chicago; co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art; and a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). She is a member of The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute.

Hobson earned her AB from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. In 2019, she was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented annually to a Princeton graduate whose career embodies a commitment to national service. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Southern California. In 2015, Time Magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world.

Other members of the Starbucks Board of Directors include: Richard Allison, Roz Brewer, Andy Campion, Mary Dillon, Isabel Ge Mahe, Kevin Johnson, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Satya Nadella, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Clara Shih and Javier Teruel.

 

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with more than 32,000 stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at https://stories.starbucks.com or www.starbucks.com .

Note to Readers – Read Mellody Hobson’s article on “Women and the Future of Investing” that she wrote for GreenMoney in 2015.

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Rodale Inst Invests $2M in IVF to Grow Organic Acres

Rodale Institute Invests $2M in IVF to Grow Organic Acres

(Above) An agri-penuer working with MN Main Street Project – a beneficiary of Iroquois Valley Farmland – MSP uses a poultry-based regenerative system to develop farming opportunities for Latinx immigrants working in the food system.

Impact investment with Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT will provide farmer-friendly leases, mortgages, and lines of credit for farmers transitioning to organic.

Rodale Institute, the global leader of regenerative organic agriculture, is “putting its money where its mouth is” by investing $2 million dollars with Iroquois Valley Farmland Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), a farmland finance company that works with mission-driven investors to provide organic and regenerative farmers land security through long-term leases and mortgages.

The Board of Directors at Rodale Institute approved the decision to invest a portion of the organization’s endowment fund and general operating budget with Iroquois Valley in an effort to increase land access for organic farmers across the country and boost organic acreage, a core tenet of Rodale Institute’s mission.

Rodale Institute has been researching the benefits of regenerative organic agriculture for over 70 years, focusing on growing the organic movement through science, farmer training, and consumer education. This investment makes Rodale Institute one of the top 5 shareholders in Iroquois Valley, allowing the Institute to support organic farmers while responsibility stewarding its assets and growing its endowment.

Rodale Intitute-In Organic We Trust-1947“Rodale Institute has always been committed to socially responsible investing,” said Maya Rodale, Co-Chair of Rodale Institute’s Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest with Iroquois Valley, whose mission to put more organic farmers on more organic acres couldn’t be more in line with ours. We are taking the opportunity to make a difference in the world with our investments—because the future is organic.”

Despite the organic market reaching $55 billion in the U.S. in 2019, only 1% of U.S. farmland is certified organic. Programs like Rodale Institute’s Organic Crop Consulting service, which puts trained agronomists on transitioning farms in a one-on-one mentorship model, are working to bridge that gap. However, land access and capital remain a barrier for potential organic farmers across the United States.

Iroquois Valley seeks to break down those barriers by purchasing farmland and entering into a lease agreement or underwriting a mortgage for organic farmers who are looking to start or expand their operation. Rodale Institute’s investment allows Iroquois Valley to purchase more land and offer those resources to farmers nationwide.

With the availability of farmable land decreasing every year, the power of Iroquois Valley to purchase land quickly for organic farmers who may not have access to traditional funding sources is critical in ensuring the growth of the organic movement. Iroquois Valley also offers lines of credit for organic farmers who need to jumpstart their operation. Iroquois Valley’s portfolio currently includes over 60 farms on more than 13,000 acres in 15 states.

“One of our founding goals at Iroquois Valley was simply to support organic farmers in growing their businesses and stewarding more land,” explained Iroquois Valley co-founder and board chair, Dr. Stephen Rivard. “We believe that more land in organic production is essential to changing both our food and healthcare systems. Rodale Institute’s investment will allow us to deploy more capital to organic and transitioning farmers who are building healthy soils and supporting healthy outcomes for people & planet. We are proud to partner with Rodale Institute and work together toward an organic future.”

Rodale Institute’s impact investment with Iroquois Valley not only increases land access for organic farmers but ensures responsible investment and growth of Rodale Institute’s endowment in a way that aligns with its mission. “Impact investing” refers to investments that provide capital to address social or environmental issues while generating a financial return. Rodale Institute’s bylaws state that “up to 100% of investment assets should be allocated to socially responsible investment opportunities.”

“Investing in farmland is an excellent addition to our already diverse portfolio,” said Elaine Macbeth, Rodale Institute’s Chief Financial Officer. “This addition allows for more stability in our portfolio and creates an investment that is inflation-resistant during adverse market conditions while upholding the mission we work towards every day.”

One example of the direct impact of Rodale Institute’s investment is Main Street Project, a nonprofit based in Northfield, Minnesota. Main Street Project uses a poultry-based regenerative system to develop farming opportunities for Latinx immigrants working in the food system.

Iroquois Valley, through the help of their investors, was able to scale up Main Street Project’s model to a 100-acre farm where the organization can document the economic, ecological, and social impacts of regenerative livestock on a family-farm level. Iroquois Valley’s support has also allowed Main Street Project to increase training opportunities for upcoming and established farmers looking to integrate regenerative poultry.

In addition to advancing the impact of Rodale Institute’s investments, Iroquois Valley is also utilizing Rodale Institute’s research, farmer training, and educational resources, such as consulting, to assist their clients with the economics of transition.

Rodale Institute has always believed that investment in organic agriculture is an investment in rural communities, farm families, and public health. Investing in Iroquois Valley’s diversified portfolio of farmland allows the Rodale Institute to spread its impact across the United States, moving closer to an organic future.

Source: Rodale

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Calvert Impact Capital 2020 Impact Report-by Jennifer Pryce

Calvert Impact Capital 2020 Impact Report & 25th Anniv.

By Jennifer Pryce, Calvert Impact Capital

October 2020 marks an important anniversary for Calvert Impact Capital. Twenty-five years ago, on October 25, 1995, we sold the first Community Investment Note®. Today, our cumulative Note sales are over $2 billion, but that journey began with a single check. What started as a novel, somewhat eccentric idea — aligning your investments with your values — is now gaining significant momentum.

Over the past 25 years, we have grown from a three-person shop, sending fliers through direct mail to teachers, nurses, and firefighters, to a firm with over $575 million in total assets, raising capital from hundreds of brokerage firms and institutions and thousands of individuals, who can now invest with us for as little as $20. We’ve made nearly 1,000 loans and investments to over 500 organizations across 100+ countries, supporting hundreds of thousands of businesses and benefitting millions of lives around the world.

Despite the challenging year, we’ve continued to do what we do best: build a more equitable and sustainable world by connecting capital with communities that need it. And the need is stronger than ever. We have already deployed $100 million this year to new and existing portfolio borrowers. In March 2020, we began arranging COVID-19 recovery funds to support Main Street businesses across America, designing them intentionally to reach low-income communities, women-owned businesses, and entrepreneurs of color through trusted local community lenders. We were named mid-sized Asset Manager of the Year by Environmental Finance, and our Community Investment Note® balance passed $500 million for the first time in our history.

We are proud of our success, but know our work is far from over. This is especially important to recall now, when a global pandemic, stark displays of systemic racism and injustice, and near-daily evidence of a rapidly changing climate have made it clear our systems are failing us.

The clarity of our vision, the strength of our mission, and the experience and knowledge we have built up over the past 25 years anchors our work and points us towards the future. Our history shows that it is possible to use the capital markets in service of sustainability and opportunity. But it will require matching the lofty rhetoric that often characterizes this space with equally inspiring action.

The challenges we face are daunting, but we remember that the journey to $2 billion started with one check and the refusal to believe the status quo was the best we could hope for.

We must think bigger, move faster, and work together. To that end, Calvert Impact Capital is forging new partnerships, developing new products, and reaching new audiences and new markets. We are committed to meeting this moment with the urgency it demands and we are grateful to have you all as partners in our work. Together with your support, we can continue connecting capital and communities, working towards a more equitable world.

Investing in a More Equitable World-2020 Impact Report-Calvert Impact Cap

Download a copy of the Calvert Impact Capital’s 2020 Impact Report – Investing for a More Equitable World .

 

Article by Jennifer Pryce, President and CEO of Calvert Impact Capital. For nearly a quarter of a century, Calvert Impact Capital has strived to make markets work for more people, more often, by investing in communities overlooked by traditional finance. Calvert Impact Capital invests through organizations that on-lend to people and businesses in the US and over 120 countries. In 2017 the organizations in their portfolio provided more than $5 billion to finance everything from solar panels in Tanzania and small businesses in Texas. 

Over the past decade, Jenn has shaped the strategic direction of Calvert Impact Capital to focus on innovation, sustainability and scale. Under her leadership the organization has expanded the sectors it works in, developed new products and services, and committed to sharing their knowledge and expertise with the field on key topics like gender lens investing. Calvert Impact Capital remains committed to ensuring impact investing is accessible to all investors, large and small, having worked with more than 17,000 individuals, institutions and advisors to raise $2.5 billion since their founding.

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Biomimicry and Business-How Companies are Using Natures Strategies-by Margo Farnsworth

Biomimicry & Business: Companies Using Nature’s Strategies

New book blends stories of five successful companies – Nike, Interface, Inc., PAX Scientific, Sharklet Technologies, and Encycle – which partner with nature by deploying biomimicry.

Could a shark help you gain a new market sector? Could a lily or a bee help tame your energy needs? These biological champions have inspired strategies enabling companies to boost profits while helping people and the planet as well. The Biomimicry Institute was pleased to announce a new book which was released in late October, and the author has generously offered half of the proceeds to support our organization’s mission in furthering biomimicry education and application.

Margo Farnsworth’s Biomimicry and Business: How Companies are Using Nature’s Strategies blends snapshots of five successful companies — Nike, Interface, Inc., PAX Scientific, Sharklet Technologies, and Encycle — which decided to partner with nature by deploying biomimicry, the practice of observing then mimicking nature’s strategies to solve business challenges. The book details how the five companies discovered the practices, introduced them to staff, engaged in the process, and measured outcomes.

“Biomimicry and Business is exactly what the movement needs right now—examples of people successfully practicing biomimicry to help heal their part of the world,” said Janine Benyus, Co-Founder of the Biomimicry Institute. “This book represents the next step and will be important in the annals of this emerging discipline.”

By revealing the stories of each professional’s journey with lessons they learned, then providing resources and issuing a challenge and pathway to do business better, this book serves as a tool for entrepreneurs, seasoned professionals, and students to emulate nature’s brilliance, apply it at work, and contribute to a healthier, more prosperous world.

“When I learned about what the Biomimicry Institute was doing, I realized how I could help my MBA students launch companies that could make gains for nature and humanity, while still having a profitable business,” said Farnsworth. “In writing this book, my goal was to help business partners who want to do well by doing good in an impactful and lasting way. This book is a map for those around the world who are passionate about biomimicry and are looking to get the practice into their business.”

Biomimicry offers a path to healthy profit while working in partnership, and even reciprocity, with the natural world. If you’re looking at new ways to conduct business—look to nature for your next business partner.

You can also watch a recent webinar with Margo Farnsworth and special guest Dr. Anthony Brennan, founder of Sharklet Technologies, one of the companies featured in the book.

 

To learn more about Biomimicry and Business and purchase your copy visit routledge.com/9780367552596.

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Why Climate Finance? Why Now? by John Howell-Climate & Capital Mediua-GreenMoney

Why Climate Finance? Why Now?

By John Howell, Climate & Capital Media

Climate and Capital Media-logo“Why climate finance,” you might ask?

In 25 years of reporting on sustainable business, I have become fascinated by the pivotal relationship between capital and innovative solutions to climate-related issues.

Over the past few years, I have engaged with organizations, companies, conferences, webinars, and workshops about several varieties of values-based investing, especially the increasing number pointed toward ESG, impact investing, and SRI strategies and practices that address climate change. Each of these variants contains its own sub-categories, variously defined by institutional and individual investors, research firms, financial advisors, analysts, and academics. These, in turn, are connected to a rapidly growing range of products being introduced to activate the concepts, from green bonds to target-specific impact funds and ESG ETFs.

This unprecedented activity is among the most exciting developments in a time that could use more good news. It can also get confusing — fast. As a field, climate finance is a pioneering effort, based on analysis of data and science to generate new methodologies but by definition, one that creates new, uncharted paths within the financial sector.

As a field, climate finance is a pioneering effort that creates new, uncharted paths within the financial sector.

Speaking of definitions, when l went looking for a coherent way to assess the concept of climate finance, I found this one by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Standing Committee on Finance:

“Finance that aims at reducing emissions, and enhancing sinks of greenhouse gases and aims at reducing vulnerability of, and maintaining and increasing the resilience of, human and ecological systems to negative climate change impacts. This definition represents finance for climate change in its broadest form as it relates to the flow of funds to all activities, programs or projects that support climate change-related projects, whether mitigation or adaptation, anywhere in the world.

This expansive mandate is being filled to the brim with concrete action. Some selected recent examples:

How to make sense of this exponentially expanding field of activity?

Our newsletter is one answer. Climate Finance Weekly, or CFW, provides a concise yet comprehensive weekly digest of news and insights about investing with climate-related capital, curated for context.

At Climate & Capital Media, we believe CFW is a vital link between climate-finance activity and the growing audience of financial professionals who want to know more to advance their practice. Its voice is journalistic in tone and draws on experience in the field. CFW fills a gap between the occasional coverage in the mainstream financial media and the deep data of trade publications and white papers.

As a best-practice guide in evaluating support for budding entrepreneurs, there is a strong case to be made for looking closely at capital that filters for solutions to climate change. That’s the general mission of Climate&Capital and the specific focus of CFW, which will look at climate-finance activity in detail.

There is a strong case to be made for looking closely at capital that filters for solutions to climate change.

“What gets the money gets done.” That’s how one prominent ESG investor put it in a recent seminar, replying to a question as to why investment in climate change solutions is a worthy idea.

Indeed, climate finance is seeing record inflows of capital. Globally, $71.1 billion globally was recorded between April and June of this year, pushing worldwide sustainable assets under management to a new high of more than $1 trillion. Sustainable fund flows in the U.S. for the first half of this year totaled $20.9 billion, nearly as much as the record $21.4 billion set in 2019 for the entire year. And 2019’s flows were four times the previous record for one year. These are large numbers that can make a big difference.

As for that “why now” question, the simple answer is to take a look at recent heat records. This past summer — June through August — ranked fourth hottest and among the driest one-third of all summers. The last five years rank as the hottest on record, according to NOAA, and the organization’s scientists predict that each year in the next decade will be among the top ten warmest years globally.

Last month was the hottest September on record. Earth’s average temperature was 0.05ºC warmer than the previous record, set last September. We’re two-thirds of the way to the 1.5º C that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says will irretrievably change life as we know it by 2030. The future of global warming is now.

Our work at Climate&Capital and in the CFW newsletter is to help you navigate all this; to avoid and manage the rapidly escalating risks of global warming while acting on opportunities in the new climate economy.

Join me as I chronicle the new Climate Age. Sign up for the CFW newsletter here.

 

Article by John Howell – a writer, editor, and broadcaster who oversees the Climate Finance Weekly newsletter and advises on communications and media strategy. He was co-founder, editorial director, and chief of thought leadership for 3BL Media, for which he managed all original editorial content, wrote, and edited newsletters, and created the Brands Taking Stands initiative. He has worked as an editor and contributor for Elle, Artforum, and High Times magazines, developed new media for Hearst Magazines, and created communications for Calvin Klein, Polo/Ralph Lauren, and The Body Shop. He lives and works in New Hampshire and Maine.

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Tree planting at a World Tree farm with investors-World Tree USA-GreenMoney

Swing Out Sister: How Women Founders Can Shine in 2021 and Beyond

By Dr. Cathy Key, World Tree USA

Above: A tree planting event at a World Tree farm with investors: (from left to right) Michelle Bonsu, Marlene Lewis, Kevwe Omologe, Emily Lewis.

Dr.Cathy key-World Tree USA“Sisters are doin’ it for themselves,” sang Aretha Franklin in 1985. “We’re standing on our own two feet and ringing our own bell.” That powerful call to women to stop hiding in the shadows of men is now thirty-five years old. Yet, it is still as relevant today as it was then.

While many women have come out of the kitchen and into the boardroom, there is still a long way to go. While women represent 40 percent of entrepreneurs1:

  • Female founded start-ups received only 2.7 percent of venture capital in 20192
  • Women entrepreneurs received only 9 percent of the investment overall3
  • Only 12 percent of venture capital decision makers are women4
  • Only 7 percent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs5
  • Women make $0.82 for every dollar that men make6

These are pretty gloomy statistics, especially when women-founded companies have a proven track record for performance:

  • Investments in companies with female founders perform 63 percent better7
  • 70 percent of the most successful funds have female partners8
  • 80 percent of purchasing decisions are made by women9

So, what’s a girl to do? How do women founded companies make their mark in what is still very much a man’s world?

This year World Tree became the highest funded female-founded company on Wefunder. We raised over $2 million and became the third most funded company on the platform ever. Here are three things I’ve learned on our investment journey.

Prepare to Knock Their Socks Off

I joined World Tree as Chief Operations Officer in 2015, alongside founder Wendy Burton. Our vision was to transform forestry with a fast-growing tree that we would give to farmers for free, train them to grow, and harvest for profit.

It never occurred to us that gender would impact our ability to attract investments and build the business. In retrospect, that was naive. We were disrupting the bluest of blue industries — forestry — with a business model focused on cooperation, sustainability, and profit-sharing.

Our tree even had heart-shaped leaves and a female name: The Empress.

Wendy would come back from meetings shaking her head, “They didn’t even listen,” she would say after talking to rooms full of foresters (all men).

We started doing pitch events, with audiences that were 95 percent men in suits. We prepared like our lives depended on it. Our materials, pitch decks, financials, and offering documents were first class. We knew our stuff and it showed.

It was common to walk into a room at 9 a.m. and be totally ignored. We would pull our shoulders back, walk to the front of the room, and start talking. After a few minutes you could hear a pin drop: we had their attention.

Heart-centered Business is Good Business

Our core mission at World Tree is to “Elevate, Educate, and Innovate for the Planet.” We value people and we value Mother Earth. Our business is designed to address big issues like climate change, poverty, and deforestation. We value our team, our farmers, and our investors as real people and part of our mandate is that our employees love their lives.

In Aretha’s day this focus on people and the planet would be called fluff and nonsense. Today, it’s called good business practice. Sustainable, regenerative businesses make more profit, have better performance and more robust share prices than their counterparts.10

Running a heart-centered business comes naturally to most women, and this is a strong suit that will continue to help us make an impression in the market.

Surround Yourself with Good People

As a female founder, your most important role is to maintain the company’s vision. This is easy at the start, but gets harder over time especially when you are in the crunch of raising capital.

If you are a woman who is good at multi-tasking and someone who is reliable at getting things done (most women entrepreneurs are) then sooner or later your vision is likely to get lost in the mix. You will be burning the midnight oil working on contracts, offering documents, and marketing materials. Things you could hire other people to do at least as well as, if not better than, you.

Hiring good people to take care of the day to day will be critical for you to keep the vision alive. Save your energy for meetings that will really bring the company forward.

Conclusion

Last year 21 female-founded tech companies broke through the $1 billion evaluation mark. These “unicorns,” along with thousands of other successful women entrepreneurs, have been leading the way for our next generation of women in business.

Across North America there are accelerators, pitch events, and angel networks set up purely to focus investment dollars on women owned businesses. Women are supporting each other and the more we do that, the closer we will get to a level playing field. As Aretha said:

“Can you see, can you see, can you see,

There’s a woman right next to you…ho ho… ”

 

Article by Dr. Cathy Key, President of World Tree USA LLC, an agroforestry company that grows trees for the purpose of carbon drawdown and timber production. Dr. Key oversees the Company’s operations in 5 countries.

With a PhD in Anthropology, specializing in the economics of cooperation, Dr. Key brings a unique perspective to the way we can do business. She  has presented World Tree to Canadian and US audiences on the stage of conferences including the Social Finance Forum and Sustainatopia, as well as investment groups in cities throughout North America.

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

Moving Beyond Child Labor-Faith Investors Must Pay Greater Attention to Market Decisions-by Julie Tanner-Christian Bros Investment Serv

Moving Beyond Child Labor: Faith Investors Must Pay Greater Attention to Impacts on Children from Our Market Decisions

By Julie Tanner, Christian Brothers Investment Services

Julie Tanner-CBIS(Above – Julie Tanner at the Vatican attending the Address of his Holiness Pope Francis during The Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World that was held in November 2019.)

Faith investors have long engaged companies and governments on exploitative practices involving child labor. They have also weighed in on negative infant formula marketing, violent video games, and obesity impacts from junk food over the past four decades. In fact, faith investors are typically the first shareowners to flag negative business impacts on children.

However, children are increasingly affected by corporate practices extending far beyond labor and other traditional focus issues. It is critical for faith investors to take the lead in highlighting the full range of harms facing young people, and build broad coalitions to work with companies and governments to advance children’s rights.

At Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), we have focused on protecting children from sexual exploitation online since 2016. Our work on this issue has revealed a larger problem: Too often, children are not considered in corporate dialogues on human rights, or the due diligence companies conduct before launching a product or service. We hope that by working together, investors can help change that dynamic.

When CBIS became the first investor to engage tech, social media, and telecom companies on child sexual exploitation four years ago, few businesses were discussing this growing threat. We drew inspiration from Pope Francis’ sense of urgency on the issue, and Catholic social doctrine that implores us “to engage in a battle… against the violations of the dignity of [children] caused by sexual exploitation.”

At the time, there wasn’t much research to make an investment case for change. We were driven by a moral conviction that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies needed to tackle the escalating spread of child sex abuse material online. When we surveyed our Catholic investors on 40 issues related to human dignity, economic justice and environmental stewardship, child sexual exploitation online emerged as a top concern.

In 2017, CBIS conducted interviews and learning sessions to a broad range of experts on preventing child exploitation. We also began working with child welfare advocates to refine our requests of ICT companies. In addition, CBIS performed due diligence on U.S. and international legal frameworks that compel or prevent companies from taking appropriate action. We discovered that U.S. law compels several types of ICT companies to report child sex abuse content when found, but not to actively seek it out. With that revelation, we knew we needed to raise awareness among fellow investors and build alliances to amass enough influence to convince companies to rethink their core strategies.

Today, CBIS is part of a growing coalition of investors pressuring them to do more to protect children online from sexual harm and broader exploitation. In collaboration with issue experts, we seek to convince ICT companies to improve their practices to more effectively identify, disrupt, and prevent child sexual grooming and abuse on the internet.

Our work focuses not only on eliminating certain activity, but addressing the fact that the entire ecosystem around internet technology is not “fit for purpose” to keep children safe. We now ask companies to assess child rights and risks across their enterprises to truly evaluate their impacts on their most vulnerable stakeholders. We have also raised the issue of “safety by design,” asking ICT companies to consider user and child safety at the start of the process of designing a new device, service, or app.

Beyond moral arguments, we now know there is a strong investment case for these engagements. ICT companies are now widely held components of many investor portfolios. However, without effective practices to protect children from sexual exploitation online, they face brand, reputational, and legal risks. Companies may also feel direct financial consequences in the form of advertiser boycotts. In fact, in addition to engaging the ICT sector, CBIS seeks to exert indirect influence by educating online advertisers to push for higher child safety standards when deciding where to spend their marketing dollars. CBIS has also encouraged data plan and device sellers to ask device makers to consider child protection during the design process.

Since beginning our work with ICT companies, CBIS has seen progress on multiple fronts:

  • Apple Corporation implemented a policy in 2017 of removing apps from its App Store, and reporting the companies to authorities, if they are found facilitating human trafficking or child sex abuse. In 2019, Apple revised its user policies to indicate it was pre-scanning user materials in the iCloud to identify child sex abuse imagery.
  • Facebook has launched a child sexual exploitation video detection tool. After plans for more widespread encryption drew concern from observers, Facebook launched a multi-year plan to detect grooming and child sex abuse through metadata analysis of user information and other tools.
  • Alphabet platform YouTube announced new restrictions on users’ abilities to post comments after family videos received unwanted attention from pedophiles. YouTube also removed hundreds of accounts over these incidents in 2019.
  • Verizon and AT&T agreed to conduct a child rights and risk impact assessment across their businesses in 2020. Both also recently launched internal Online Safety Committees, and now report to their boards on online safety and child exploitation issues.
  • Six of the companies CBIS has engaged have committed to reporting metrics around preventing child sexual exploitation online. All companies we have engaged thus far increased their involvement in initiatives such as child protection groups, abuse reporting hotlines, improved detection tools, and awareness-building campaigns.

In 2019, Pope Francis proclaimed that investors and asset managers must hold ICT companies accountable for eradicating child sex abuse activity from their platforms and products. Now more than ever, investors must galvanize to heed this call to action—and fulfill the the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals to drive down violence and exploitation facing children worldwide.

Together, we must demand better performance and disclosure from companies, identify leading practices, and help spur industrywide cooperation on child protection. With 800,000 children going online for the very first time every day, we are called upon to take responsibility for our investments in the ICT sector by calling for an internet that works for children.

 

Article by Julie B. Tanner, Managing Director – Catholic Responsible Investments SM, Christian Bros Investment Services

Ms. Tanner leads the development and implementation of CBIS’ Catholic Responsible Investments SM Program and oversees a team responsible for Catholic investment screening, engagement and proxy voting activities. In addition, she crafts substantive agreements and strategic initiatives with boards and senior management in order to positively influence corporations and their impact on society. She is a member of the governing board of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and is a member representative of Partners For The Common Good, which provides critical financial products and services to low-income people and communities.

Prior to joining CBIS in 2002, Ms. Tanner spent ten years in the financial services industry, most recently with JPMorgan Chase, before moving to lead the Finance and Environment Program at National Wildlife Federation. Ms. Tanner holds a B.A. from Rutgers University, an M.B.A. from Pace University, and an M.S. from North Carolina State University.

 

The securities identified and described do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for CUIT Funds, CBIS Global Funds and separate managed accounts. For a complete list of securities please contact CBIS. The reader should not assume that an investment in the securities identified was or will be profitable.

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

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