Tag: Food & Farming

Plant-based Innovation and Climate ETF from VegTech Launches on NYSE.

Plant-based Innovation & Climate ETF from VegTech Launches on NYSE

VegTech™ Plant-based Innovation & Climate ETF (Ticker: EATV), a global ETF of publicly-traded plant-based innovation companies, recently launched on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The first financial product from the VegTech™ Invest advisory, the VegTech™ ETF (Ticker EATV), includes 37 publicly traded companies actively innovating with plants and plant-derived ingredients and producing primary products that are animal-free. VegTech Invest advisors, Elysabeth Alfano and Sasha Goodman, believe these companies positively impact climate change as well as solve some of the world’s most pressing problems such as food security, deforestation, animal cruelty and growing public health concerns.

VegTech: A Pure-Play in Plant-Based Innovation

“We are excited to be what we believe is the first pure-play ETF that invests in companies innovating with plants and producing animal free products. We believe that today’s investors want a more resource efficient, climate friendly, and cruelty-free food and materials supply system…and want to invest their dollars in the same,” says VegTech Invest CEO and CMO, Elysabeth Alfano. “My partner Sasha Goodman and I are excited to offer an ETF that empowers the average person to invest with their values and participate in this large-scale, secular trend.”

“With this ETF, I am excited to drive capital to plant-based innovation companies. I also hope to encourage public companies to lead the way and replace animal products with innovations that are better for people, the planet and the animals,” VegTech Invest President and Fund Manager, Sasha Goodman says.

The Big Shift: A Secular Trend for Health & Sustainability

According to a June 29, 2020, study by Aramark, 65% of Gen Zers want a more “plant-forward” diet, while 79% would eat meatless meals once or twice a week, either now or in the future. Further, First Insight: The State of Consumer Spending noted on October 28, 2021, that “growing plants requires fewer resources than raising animals for meat,” and reported that 68% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products.

A March 23, 2021, report by Boston Consulting Group indicates that the alternative protein market will reach at least $290B by 2035. Indeed, Covid-19 has provided an unexpected boost to the alternative protein industry, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% from 2020 to 2027, according to an April 2021 report from Meticulous Research. That report also noted that an alternative protein-based diet can help reduce the effects of the novel corona virus on at-risk people as there is the presence of an abundance of macronutrients, micronutrients, and antioxidants.

 

About VegTech™ Invest

VegTech Invest™ is an investment management firm advising the thematic ETF, EATV. EATV invests in VegTech™ Companies: those that are actively innovating with plants and plant-derived ingredients and producing primary products that are animal-free.

At VegTech™ Invest, we believe these companies positively impact planetary health, human health, and animal health. We also believe that we are on the cusp of a long-term, secular trend of plant-based innovation that will result in the disruption of the global food and materials supply chain for a more efficient, climate friendly and cruelty-free system. The VegTech™ ETF is dedicated to providing exposure to this key and growing trend. 

For information on the ETF, including the prospectus, visit our website.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) are bought and sold through exchange trading at market price (not NAV) and are not individually redeemed from the fund. Shares may trade at a premium or discount to their NAV in the secondary market. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns.

The fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses must be considered carefully before investing. The prospectus and summary prospectus (if available) contains this and other important information about the investment company, and it may be obtained by calling 1-424-237-8393, emailing info@vegtechinvest.com or visiting EATV.VegTechInvest.com. Read it carefully before investing.

 

The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is the rate of return (RoR) that would be required for an investment to grow from its beginning balance to its ending balance, assuming the profits were reinvested at the end of each period of the investment’s life span.

Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The fund is an actively managed ETF that does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index. Foreign securities may be more volatile and less liquid than domestic (U.S.) securities, which could affect the Fund’s investments. Stocks of companies with small and mid-market capitalizations involve a higher degree of risk than investments in the broad-based equities market.

The fund is non-diversified and may hold large positions in a small number of securities. A price change in any one of those securities may have a greater impact on the fund’s share price than if it were diversified. The Fund is newly organized and has a limited operating history to judge.

ETF distributed by Quasar Distributors, LLC

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

ImpactAssets releases 2022 Impact Investment Fund Managers List - GreenMoney

ImpactAssets releases its 2022 Impact Investment Fund Managers List

Industry’s first publicly available, searchable resource of impact investing fund managers zeroes in on some of the industry’s most impactful managers.

ImpactAssets recently released the ImpactAssets 50 2022 (IA 50), a free annual database for impact investors, family offices, corporate and family foundations and institutional investors that features a diversified listing of private capital fund managers delivering social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.

This year marks the eleventh edition of the IA 50, which now includes the IA 50 Emerging Impact Managers list and IA 50 Emeritus Impact Managers list. Across all three categories, 143 impact fund managers reported assets totaling $116.96 billion invested in a range of asset classes and impact themes. Fifteen managers selected in this year’s showcase reported assets exceeding $1 billion. An additional ten had assets under management between $500 million and $1 billion.

“We’re excited about this year’s IA 50, with its dramatic expansion and diversification of impact fund managers across a spectrum of strategies, geographies and investment targets,” said Jed Emerson, ImpactAssets Senior Fellow, IA 50 Review Committee Chair and Global Lead, Impact Investing with Tiedemann Advisors. “This group of managers reflects the intentionality of our manager selection process to provide investors with a resource that shines a light on the breadth and diversity of impact fund managers. These managers bring unique and informed perspectives to the challenges impact investing is addressing.”

Some Highlights from this year’s IA 50:

Impact Focus – About 18% of IA 50 managers across all three lists focused on clean technology, alternative energy and climate change, making it the top impact theme. Microfinance, low-income financial services, and micro-insurance (16%) comprised the second-largest impact focus. Notably, 12% of funds selected Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as their primary investment theme. The most represented Sustainable Development Goals cited by fund managers included Decent Work and Economic Growth (21%), No Poverty (15%), Reduced Inequality (13%) and Climate Action (9%).

Diversity and Inclusion – While asset management as a whole remains overwhelmingly non-diverse—with approximately 2% of asset managers who are Black, Indigenous or People of Color — IA 50 fund managers are leading with diversity. This is most prevalent among IA 50 Emerging Impact Managers, where 50% reported that 50% or more of their investment professionals were people of color. In addition, 60% reported more than half of their investment professionals were women.

Asset Class – IA 50 fund managers drive their focus on deep impact chiefly in private markets. Managers reported that 55% of their funds are primarily private equity, while 36% are primarily private debt. Private Equity – Early Stage (US), with 22% of all funds, is the most represented focus of managers.

Impact and Financial Return – Although impact investing can offer a range of returns—from concessionary to above-market rates of return—IA 50 managers reported delivering both positive impact and competitive investment performance. A total of 74% of IA 50 managers target market rates or above market rates of return, and 97% reported delivering either in line or above their initial target returns. Emerging Impact Managers reported similar results, with 76% of managers targeting market rates or above market rates of return and 72% delivering either in line or above their initial target returns.

In addition, 25 of the IA 50 fund managers are signatories to the Operating Principles for Impact Management—a framework for investors to ensure that impact considerations are purposefully integrated throughout the investment life cycle—and 18 of the 25 have been verified to date, according to a separate analysis by BlueMark, a provider of independent impact verification services for investors and companies.

“The caliber of this year’s IA 50 lists is a product of the rigorous application scoring and analysis process that the IA 50 Review Committee has fine-tuned through the years,” added Sandra Kartt, CFA, Managing Director, Investments, ImpactAssets. “We’re thrilled to foster the continuing growth of these unique, innovative investing approaches addressing critical issues from climate to racial equity and gender equality.”

In addition to Emerson, the IA 50 Review Committee is comprised of impact investment experts and leaders, including Lauren Booker Allen, Senior Vice President, Impact Advisory, Jordan Park Group; Mark Berryman, Managing Director of Impact Investing, The CAPROCK Group; Ronald A. Homer, Chief Strategist, Impact Investing, RBC Global Asset Management (US) Inc.; Jennifer Kenning, Senior Advisor, IA 50 Review Committee and CEO & Co-Founder, Align Impact; Karl “Charly” Kleissner, Ph.D., Co-Founder of Toniic and KL Felicitas Foundation; Justina Lai, Chief Impact Officer and Shareholder, Wetherby Asset Management; Andrew Lee, Managing Director, Global Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing, UBS Global Wealth Management; Tony Lent, Co-Founder, Capital for Climate; Malaika Maphalala, CPWA® Private Wealth Advisor, Natural Investments, LLC; Cynthia Muller, Director of Mission Investment, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Rehana Nathoo, Founder & CEO, Spectrum Impact; Stephanie Cohn Rupp, CEO and Partner, Veris Wealth Partners; Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Co-Founder and Principal of Blue Haven Initiative; and Margret Trilli, CEO and CIO, ImpactAssets.

The ImpactAssets Investment team led by Kartt conducted the application scoring and analysis process, and collaborated with Align Impact on fund analysis.

  

About the ImpactAssets 50 

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

The IA 50 is not an index or investable platform and does not constitute an offering or recommend specific products. It is not a replacement for due diligence. To be considered for the IA 50 2022, fund managers needed to have at least $25 million in assets under management, more than three years of experience as a firm with impact investing, documented social and/or environmental impact and be available for US investment. Additional details on the selection process are available here.

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

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

About ImpactAssets

ImpactAssets is an impact investing trailblazer, dedicated to changing the trajectory of our planet’s future and improving the lives of all people. As a leading impact investing firm, we offer deep strategic expertise to help our clients define and execute on their impact goals. Founded in 2010, ImpactAssets increases flows of money to impact investing in partnership with our clients through our impact investment platform and field-building initiatives, including the IA 50 database of private debt and equity impact fund managers. ImpactAssets has more than $2 billion in assets in 1,700 donor advised fund accounts, working with purpose-driven individuals and their wealth managers, family offices, foundations, and corporations. ImpactAssets is an independent 501(c)(3) organization.

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

Investing in Women, Impacting the World

By Stella Tai, Praxis Mutual Funds

Above: Stella meeting with representatives from SunCulture, an organization connecting rural farmers with solar power.

 

Stella Tai-Praxis Mutual FundsIn my 15-year career working as a woman in impact investing and its various facets geared towards investing in women, I have learned that communities and families benefit greatly when women thrive economically.

In December 2021, I had the privilege of visiting several organizations in Kenya supported through Praxis Mutual Funds’ commitment to community development investing. This was alongside a visit to my family in my birth country, after five years of being away. This article is a personal reflection on how impact and gender lens investing delivers real-world impacts – and how advisors can help their clients understand those impacts.

Impact investment moves capital to where it’s needed most. This often revolutionizes the lives of women and girls. During my visits, I saw what capital was achieving, on the ground among rural women, many of whom were poor, and on small farms using affordable products developed and customized to meet their needs. This solidified the importance of this work in my mind.

Gender lens investing (GLI) is critical in closing global gaps in access to capital and thereby increasing human capital wealth, education and helping countries achieve their full developmental potential. In a more diverse and equal society, everyone benefits.

Project in Kenya

Many rural women in Kenya face specific and unique challenges such as a lack of easy access to clean water and affordable clean energy. When there are appropriate interventions, these women are placed on the fast track to achieving economic milestones that can propel them and their families into the middle or the upper-middle class.

The organizations I visited were not founded with the primary purpose of helping women, but by evaluating the results of these investments through a gender lens, it becomes clear that the positive effects on the lives of women and girls are disproportionately greater.

SunCulture client Mrs. Ndegwa: Local women farmers are able to access solar-powered farming technology because of SunCulture.

SunCulture – This organization focuses on providing energy access through solar home and irrigation systems. About 65 percent of land in sub-Saharan Africa is tilled, plowed, weeded and watered manually. I met with two industrious women farmers whose lives had been transformed by access to energy.

SunCulture off-grid solar panels and tech provide smallholder farms with reliable lighting, water generation and mobile charging
SunCulture off-grid solar panels and technology provides smallholder farms with reliable lighting and mobile charging.

With access to a water pump for their wells, they could irrigate their farms more efficiently and increase productivity. The energy then led to increased yields and higher incomes for their households, which in turn meant that these women could invest in their children’s educations – creating more opportunities for the future of their families.

BioLite cookstoves provide a safe way to cook food - Praxis Mutual Funds
BioLite cookstoves provide a safe way to cook food, charge electronic devices, and generate light for families in Kenya.

BioLite – BioLite developed a clean energy cookstove and home lighting solar system with USB ports for charging devices like cell phones. They aim to bring electricity to the nearly 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who are not connected to the national electricity grid and the hundreds of millions more who live with unreliable connections and are plagued by frequent blackouts.

Investors need to appreciate the benefits these stoves offer women specifically. To meet the domestic needs of their families, many rural women often walk hours to fetch water or carry wood for cooking, which can be arduous and takes time away from a girl’s education or a woman’s economic opportunities. These regionally appropriate innovations not only connect the whole families with electricity, but the stoves allow women to cook more safely and redeem precious time to better themselves educationally, economically and socially.

What Does the Future Hold?

Impact investments with a gender lens are projected to increase over the next decade across all asset classes. In recent years, we’ve seen growing demand from investors to take gender into account when considering impact investing.

Additionally, the projected wealth transfer to women is predicted to increase from about $50 trillion in 2015 to $72 trillion, that is two-thirds of the worlds’ wealth, by 20301. Women investors are more likely to demand increased inclusivity, diversity, and values-aligned investing, which may lead to increased consideration of gender in impact investing.

Gender-lens investing is a field that will continue to grow, considering the increased attention and engagement with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)*. SDGs relevant to gender include SDG 5 (gender equity), SDG 10 (reduce inequality), SDG 8 (sustainable economic growth) and SDG 7 (sustainable energy).

The SDGs aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. As more investors and investment companies call for alignment with these goals, gender equity and equality will become areas of greater interest for impact investors.

What Can Financial Advisors Do?

Advisors interested in impact investing that incorporates a gender lens should initiate the conversation. They can open the door to a discussion on a client’s gender lens investing goals by engaging with clients on how they can better align their portfolios or a portion of their portfolios with their values.

Secondly, advisors can familiarize themselves with gender lens investing topics and be ready to engage with the clients, especially women, as their percentage of global wealth continues to grow.

Another option for advisors is to encourage the use of donor advised funds that hold immense opportunities for increasing a client’s impact. DAFs are a powerful tool that allows investors interested in aligning their investment portfolios with their values to make charitable contributions while simultaneously getting tax benefits.

Advisors and/or their clients can take part in insight trips and observe how their funds contribute to improvement in the lives of women and girls. This is a great way for younger people to be inspired at the start of their investment journeys and for established investors to confirm the difference their investments are making in the world.

One of my hopes is that, as an industry, we might build greater collaborations around gender lens investing themes. For example, investment firms, both for-profit and non-profit, and other stakeholders such as government entities interested in gender lens investing can collaborate on sharing information, participating in deals, spurring innovation, building systems of educating clients and thereby accelerating greater amounts of capital flowing into this theme.

The cumulative effect of all these efforts will deliver real impact and will also help investors understand the range of possibilities available on the investing spectrum — from 100 percent philanthropic to 100 percent market-rate returns and everything in between.

How Praxis Approaches Community Development Investing 

By committing approximately 1 percent of its funds to Community Development Investing nationally and internationally, Praxis has further deepened its commitment to GLI. This investment is managed by Calvert Impact Capital, a nonprofit investment firm that makes loans to roughly 100 mission-driven organizations worldwide with high impact social and/or environmental focus such as micro-finance, affordable housing and cooperatives.

As of 2021, the CIC portfolio had impressive gender impact numbers. Women represented:

  • 70% of the end clients of the borrowers.
  • 53% of the borrower staff.
  • 42% senior leadership in borrower organizations.
  • 43% of the board of directors.

Impact investing through a gender lens is an accelerator to gender equity and equality not only in the United States but globally. If we want to effectively give people the tools they need for economic and educational advancements, focusing on raising the economic power of women is a key step in creating lasting change. That is why at Praxis Mutual Funds, we are committed to making real impacts when it comes to gender equity and why we are passionate about showing advisors the effects of gender lens investing.

 

Article by Stella Tai, Stewardship Investing Impact and Analysis Manager

Stella provides primary leadership for the promotion, integration and development of impact investing and reporting. Before joining Praxis, she was assistant vice president of Lending at FINANTA, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in Philadelphia. Stella has served on the board of Chariots for Hope, a nonprofit supporting a network of eight children’s homes in Kenya, her country of origin. Connect with Stella on LinkedIn.

Footnote:
[1] “Here’s who will benefit the most from the $59 trillion ‘Great Wealth Transfer’”: Bankrate, Sept. 25, 2018
*  In 2015, the UN announced the Sustainable Development Goals as a call to action for countries, governments, funders, and investors to unite to accomplish 17 global goals. These goals recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. The UN has provided a framework of specific indicators to measure progress and a timeframe to achieve them by 2030, both of which reinforce the urgency and crucial nature of this work.

About Praxis

Praxis Mutual Funds is a leading faith-based, socially responsible family of mutual funds designed to help people and groups integrate their finances with their values. Praxis is the mutual fund family of Everence Financial, a comprehensive faith-based financial services organization helping individuals, organizations and congregations. To learn more, visit praxismutualfunds.com and everence.com, or call 800-348-7468.

Consider the fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before you invest. The fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus contain this and other information. Call 800-977-2947 or visit praxismutualfunds.com for a prospectus, which you should read carefully before you invest.

Praxis Mutual Funds are advised by Everence Capital Management and distributed through Foreside Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA. Investment products offered are not FDIC insured, may lose value, and have no bank guarantee.

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

We Cant Afford Polluted Water by Gloria Reuben Waterkeeper Alliance

We Can’t Afford Polluted Water

By Gloria Reuben, Waterkeeper Alliance

(Above photo credit: Unsplash – Tim Mossholder)

Gloria Reuben Waterkeeper AllianceFor far too long, protections for clean water and other environmental regulations have been framed as an impediment to a strong economy. When in reality, the opposite is true. Water is the foundation of a stable and growing economy and thriving communities. Protecting everyone’s right to clean water is a moral obligation. And it’s also a financial necessity. We simply can’t afford polluted water.

Defending our shared resources from pollution means that businesses and municipalities need to invest in smart water management strategies which hinge on reliable infrastructure, policy, and regulation. Thankfully, there has been great progress with the signing of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill last November. However, the $55 billion set aside for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater projects doesn’t fully address the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) projections of more than $800 billion in combined funding needs. The short-term costs are daunting, yet they pale in comparison to the long-term costs of pollution and cleanups, not to mention the countless lost opportunities therein.

As an example, there are over 1,300 Superfund remedial sites in the United States. According to a 2015 EPA report, over 50 million Americans live within three miles of a Superfund site. Nonetheless, the program has been relatively successful and helped right a lot of wrongs by cleaning up and remediating a lot of toxic sites. For signs of progress, look no further than to the Whole Foods supermarket on the shores of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, or to the herd of American bison roaming the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Denver. Both of these Superfund sites prove that cleanups work. But surely, preventing these areas from becoming toxic wastelands that require billions of dollars in cleanup would have been the more sound investment.

Until somewhat recently, these remediation projects were funded by a trust paid for from a tax on gasoline. Since 2000, however, the American taxpayer has largely been responsible for the $21 billion in costs. And that is just for the cleanup. It says nothing to the deleterious effects these toxic sites have on property value or, more importantly, people’s health outcomes and the related costs. According to researchers at Kansas State University, freshwater pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus alone costs taxpayers over $4 billion a year.

Hudson-River-NY-Waterkeeper-Alliance
Hudson River, New York; Waterkeeper Alliance

When it was passed 50 years ago, the Clean Water Act was intended to solve a lot of these problems. However, it continues to be weakened by a lack of enforcement and is often skirted by polluters. A common refrain is that it’s too expensive to be compliant, and that these types of environmental regulations are akin to red tape choking out business. But, what’s rarely mentioned are the lost opportunities related to the businesses that will never be created on account of pollution. Industries like tourism, recreation, agriculture, fishing, and more rely on clean water.

Towns and cities should be tripping over themselves to have the cleanest water and be as environmentally friendly as possible. It would attract more business, as well as more people. That is what is happening in Buffalo, New York, where tens of millions of dollars were spent as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Since that time, the city has seen a huge uptick in water-based recreation, along with several new residential buildings and commercial developments, including a brewery. They are even seeing some population growth. Needless to say, people don’t want to live in a polluted place.

Businesses, too, can benefit from investing in clean water and the environment, as corporate stewardship can be a powerful recruiting tool. According to an IBM survey from 2021, over 70 percent of job seekers hope to work for an environmentally sustainable company. Conversely, a reputation built for years can be wiped away immediately if the company is seen as jeopardizing people’s right to clean water.

When viewed through the lens of environmental justice, it is almost impossible to calculate the costs of pollution. That’s because contaminated water and toxic waste are not just bad for one’s health, they are also bad for one’s potential. It’s difficult to precisely quantify the opportunities lost to a life hampered by pollution. However, it’s easy to say that a young child drinking unsafe water and breathing polluted air will have a harder time growing up to become a leader in science, or discover a life-saving medicine. In this way, pollution not only robs the individual of their own fulfillment, it also robs the rest of us from the contributions that they could have made.

Knowing all of this, we must view environmental regulations and other forms of stewardship as crucial to a strong and just economy. Infrastructure must be vigorously funded as an investment that will help American citizens and their businesses. Furthermore, laws protecting the environment should also be seen as protecting our bottom line. A fully enforced Clean Water Act, as an example, won’t hurt businesses. On the contrary, these types of laws may very well end up fostering all sorts of new job creation, while also saving the taxpayer a lot of money.

A healthy economy and a healthy environment are not mutually exclusive. In fact, both will thrive when they work in concert. Our economy, and nearly every aspect of our lives, need clean water to thrive and blossom. We can continue to ignore this vital connection…. But it will cost us.

Article by Gloria Reuben, president of Waterkeeper Alliance, an organization that strengthens and grows a global network of grassroots leaders protecting everyone’s right to clean water.

  

Growing up in Toronto, Canada, Gloria Reuben distinctly remembers when it was forbidden to wade into Lake Ontario because of toxicity and high bacteria levels — it’s an experience a young child may not fully comprehend but can never forget. Now, decades later, she lives a few minutes from the mighty Atlantic Ocean and is filled with gratitude every time she visits its shores for its cleansing presence, primal rhythm, and healing power. Whether day or night, each visit to the water anchors Gloria in her commitment to do whatever she can to protect drinkable, swimmable, fishable waterways for generations to come.

As president of Waterkeeper Alliance, Gloria represents more than 350 Waterkeeper groups on six continents and amplifies our organizational vision for drinkable, fishable, swimmable water. The Waterkeeper movement’s clean water warriors are on the front lines of our global water crisis, fighting for the future of the planet, the world’s great water sources, and the communities surrounding them.

An actress and social activist, Reuben served as a Trustee with Waterkeeper Alliance from 2007 to 2010, before becoming an advisor to Vice President Al Gore’s environmental organization, The Climate Reality Project. Reuben previously served on the Advisory Council of the National Wildlife Federation and the Leadership Council for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In addition to her life’s work as an environmental champion, Reuben is an actress, singer, and published author whose credits in television include ER, Raising the Bar, Marvel TV’s Cloak & Dagger, City on a Hill, and Mr. Robot. She has also starred in films, including Lincoln, Admission, and Reasonable Doubt. In 2007, Gloria won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for her portrayal of Condoleezza Rice in David Hare’s play, Stuff Happens. Gloria’s first nonfiction book, My Brothers’ Keeper. Two Brothers. Loved. and Lost, was published in November 2019.

 

Note to Reader: This is GreenMoney’s third article from Waterkeeper Alliance, here is their 2020 article by Mary Beth Postman on The Future of Water.

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

Navigating the Canals of Water Investing by Garvin Jabusch and Betsy Moszeter Green Alpha Advisors

Navigating the Canals of Water Investing

By Garvin Jabusch and Betsy Moszeter, Green Alpha Advisors

Garvin Jabusch and Betsy Moszeter of Green Alpha AdvisorsWater is elemental. Crucial for life as we know it. Finite in supply—particularly fresh water—it is chronically degraded by pesticides, herbicides, fossil fuels operations, discarded plastics, and countless other contaminants. Add it all up and it seems like the perfect combination of inelastic demand and diminishing supply. In fact, 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely-managed drinking water services and 4.2 billion people don’t have safely-managed sanitation services. In the U.S. alone, fully one in six gallons of the fresh water we produce is wasted through old, leaky, deteriorating infrastructure, equaling 6 billion gallons of treated water wasted every single day before it has a chance to be consumed or otherwise put to productive use.

The easy math: we need more, and better access to, safe fresh water. It seems very straightforward to invest in freshwater solutions and enjoy the returns. But, invest in what, exactly?

Time to Do Your Homework

Key to deciding what to invest in is discerning what not to invest in, or, at least, what is more or less likely to give us the market exposures we had in mind. So, tonight’s homework assignment: scour the list of water-themed ETFs available on any given brokerage platform. Look at the underlying holdings. You will find companies that produce water infrastructure…but almost none of it is for recycled or recyclable water projects. You will see companies in water ETFs’ 10 Largest Holdings lists that have little water exposure at all, such as a firm that garners only six percent of its revenues from water testing and 94 percent from entirely different industries and activities. Keep looking, and you will find water utilities with no sustainability, stewardship, or other related efforts behind their sale of water. They are in charge of the earth’s most precious resource while failing to demonstrate good stewardship of it. In fact, many water-themed ETFs hold utilities that derive a material portion of their revenue from selling water to fracking companies.

As is so often the case in ESG investing, it pays to do your homework, and to know that your fund manager is doing theirs, too.

The Value of Water: A Growing, Global Risk by The World Economic Forum (WEF) highlighted the critical need for investors to take action on the water shortage. This striking report outlines a comprehensive list of risks and opportunities related to freshwater scarcity across all industries globally. In fact, according to WEF’s analysis, water scarcity will not just slow economic growth and exacerbate social inequalities, but is one of the greatest risks to global stability. Activities like selling water for use in fracking fluid will not decrease our economy’s freshwater risks.

The Value of Water report concludes that:  Water security has increased in importance for investors; private sector actors have a vital role to play in securing water supplies through investments in infrastructure and technology solutions; a growing number of opportunities exist to invest in water-related projects that have positive environmental and social outcomes.

It is time for investors to pay attention and consider where their money can do the greatest good when it comes to one of our most precious resources: fresh water. Advisors should resist the temptation to “blanket” buy a water fund or ETF and call it good enough. Rather, in order to navigate the complex and increasingly urgent issue of freshwater scarcity, they should consider if what they buy are genuine, significant, sustainable water solutions that help to mitigate and to assist in adapting to the real-world problems confronting us. This is important in terms of sending market signals that only true solutions have value, and in increasing our probabilities of competitive investment returns. Inadequate or false solutions will not ultimately hold value.

Never Stop Questioning for a Better Future

Clearly one purchases a mutual fund or ETF because they have faith in their professional manager, and because they may not have the time or inclination to do the research and pick stocks to determine what the constituents of a portfolio should be. However, before buying a fund, performing a small amount of homework on the largest holdings list can go a long way to ensure the fund’s investment committee has the same vision of the future as you and/or your clients. Where investments are made – where capital flows – defines what the economy is, so it is imperative to invest assets in the future we want to see unfold. By looking at the largest holdings list, an investor can do quick research on those few companies to evaluate what each is doing to earn their revenues. What a company gets paid to do is tantamount to the company’s reasons for existing.

Investors should ask: Is there a clear market need for the product/service they are delivering? Does this investment solve that problem? How do we know if the solution works? Is the solution scalable and sustainable? How high quality is the management team’s track record with similar activities? Are they aligned financially to succeed – meaning are their incentives linked directly to performance of that investment over time? This kind of inquiry can help an investor understand exactly what a company does to earn its money.

Water scarcity is a pressing global issue that is not going away, and is, in fact, getting appreciably worse by the day. But—investable solutions exist. By engaging in some prudent research, we can ensure that our money flows toward solutions seeking to create a better and brighter future.

 

Article by Garvin Jabusch, Chief Investment Officer for Green Alpha Advisors and Betsy Moszeter, Chief Distribution and Sales Officer and a Portfolio Manager Green Alpha Advisors.

BIOGRAPHIES:

Garvin Jabusch is the Chief Investment Officer for Green Alpha Advisors, where he leads investment research; conducts macroeconomic, scientific, and technological analysis; and develops and communicates the Next Economy investment approach.

Garvin previously worked at Forward Management, LLC where he managed the Sierra Club Stock Fund and the Sierra Club Equity Income Fund. Prior to that he was Vice President of Strategic Services at Morgan Stanley, where he contributed to such projects as the integration of European acquisitions and the sale of Morgan Stanley Online. He also served as a product manager at Morgan Stanley Online, managing the launches of wireless trading and after-hours trading for the firm’s clients. After-hours trading on MarketXT marked the first time retail investors in the U.S. had the opportunity to trade in the after-close markets. His other experience includes research and analysis, trading and mutual fund sales. Earlier, Garvin studied in the Ph.D. program in physical anthropology and archeology for five years at the University of Utah. Garvin was a field Director for the American Expedition to Petra, Jordan for two excavation seasons, and served as archeologist and crew chief at many sites in the American West. Other jobs held by Garvin have included EMT and whitewater rafting guide.

Betsy Moszeter is the Chief Distribution and Sales Officer, and a Portfolio Manager for Green Alpha Advisors. She serves as the lead analyst on a portion of Green Alpha’s investable universe and is the lead PM on Green Alpha’s portfolio strategies that overtly focus on diversity and social inclusion issues in addition to the sustainability and innovations on which all Green Alpha portfolios are centered.

She first became acquainted with Green Alpha through her work at First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC. As a core part of her job, Betsy became familiar with many sustainability-oriented investment options and was particularly impressed by Green Alpha’s rigorous research approach. As the SVP and a Managing Member of First Affirmative, Betsy was responsible for building the firm’s third-party platform business and institutional account investment capabilities. Prior to First Affirmative, Betsy was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of TAMRO Capital Partners, LLC in Alexandria, VA. She participated in all aspects of the firm’s growth from $200 million to $2 billion, growing the business to include five mutual funds, a collective investment trust fund (CIT), institutional accounts, and separate accounts for high-net-worth clients, as well as separately managed wrap accounts and UMA programs where TAMRO served as an asset manager. She began her investment management career at Harbor Capital Management in Boston, MA, where she did everything from portfolio administration to new client due diligence meetings, attribution analysis, earnings calls, trading support, and FX communications.

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

NEXUS Launches Impact Accelerator - Next Gen for Social Impact

NEXUS Launches Impact Accelerator: Next Gen for Social Impact

(Above: NEXUS Impact Accelerator, Photo Credit: Teri Beardsley)

The world’s most philanthropic families provide social entrepreneurs with tools for success and growth in partnership with H/L Ventures, BNP Paribas Wealth Management, and sponsors.

Nexus LogoNEXUS, a unique global community that brings together Next Gen philanthropists, impact investors and social innovators representing over $700B in family assets with a deep dedication to social impact, announced in mid-January the launch of its second annual NEXUS Impact Accelerator. To help manage this exciting program, NEXUS is partnering with H/L Ventures (“H/L”), one of the original venture studios and New York’s most active firm focused on impact and diversity. Working together, the NEXUS Impact Accelerator team is primed to bring value to impact-driven start-ups by combining powerful networks, varied experience, diversity in all respects, and potential access to capital.

“NEXUS embodies the values of impact, sustainability, mentorship, and creating positive change through entrepreneurship,” said Rachel Gerrol, Co-Founder and CEO of NEXUS. “Working with our partners at H/L and our excellent sponsors, we’re honored to help bring these start-ups to their next stage of growth. We can’t wait to see how each founder grows throughout the program.”

The NEXUS community has traditionally united powerful philanthropic leaders to discuss solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. Combining its values of learning and evolution with the support of H/L, including the firm’s dynamic ecosystem and philosophy of daily active engagement, the NEXUS Impact Accelerator is an institutionalized way for the organization to support socially responsible startups that are solving critical global challenges.

Six start-ups were selected for this year’s NEXUS Impact Accelerator cohort, including clean energy-, sustainability-, water safety-, and financial equity-focused start-ups:

  • Bloc Power: BlocPower is a climate technology startup that is making American cities greener, smarter and healthier. Since its founding in 2014, the company has retrofitted more than 1,200 buildings in disadvantaged communities in New York City, with projects underway in 26 cities. BlocPower uses proprietary software for analysis, leasing, project management, and monitoring of clean energy projects that save customers between 20-70 percent on annual energy costs.
  • CNote: CNote is a women-led fintech platform helping individual and institutional investors align their fixed income and cash portfolios with their values. Hosting a nationwide network of community finance institutions, CNote helps investors reach their financial goals while driving greater economic justice in low-income communities and communities of color across the United States.
  • LOLIWARE Inc.: LOLIWARE Inc. is an award-winning materials tech company on a mission to advance the planet towards a plastic-free, decarbonized future with products that are Designed to Disappear.  The company’s innovative technology, SEA (Seaweed-derived, Emission-avoiding, Alternatives to plastic) represents a new category of scalable biopolymers derived from seaweed – a bio-renewable, regenerative, and carbon-sequestering input.
  • Resolute Marine: Resolute Marine is developing an innovative technology that harnesses ocean wave energy to produce fresh water and electricity in off-grid areas of the world and provide relief from the harmful economic and social effects of water scarcity.
  • Solstice: Solstice is dedicated to bringing affordable solar power to the 77% of Americans who cannot install a rooftop system. Their platform connects households and businesses to free community shared solar farms–giving them guaranteed electricity savings and access to local clean energy–and manages the customer experience for the life of the 20-year project.
  • Spry: Spry is an NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) solution that meets and streamlines the unique needs of both athletic departments and student-athletes in one comprehensive technology platform. Designed by a former professional athlete (once a collegiate student-athlete) Spry empowers student-athletes to manage NIL opportunities and compliance while earning a foundational education for a “richer” future.

“We are thrilled to work with NEXUS on this exciting initiative,” said Oliver Libby, Co-Founding Managing Partner of H/L Ventures. “NEXUS and H/L, along with our extraordinary sponsors, share the belief that the nexus between growth, impact, and diversity is where truly exciting companies can be found and nurtured. The start-up economy can be a powerful engine of social change when supported by mission-driven partners like NEXUS.”

BNP Paribas Wealth Management is the lead sponsor of the Accelerator, joined by DLA Piper, Acru Solutions, and H/L itself in support of this community of founders. These sponsors play a meaningful role in the development of these world-changing ideas by supporting the early-stage entrepreneurs and sharing their expertise through customized experiences.

“We are very happy to share our industry knowledge and contacts with social entrepreneurs to help grow and scale their businesses,” said Pierre Ramadier, Global Head of Entrepreneurs and Families, BNP Paribas Wealth Management. “The six carefully selected BNP Paribas mentors will put their extensive experience in impact investing, corporate banking, sustainable finance, philanthropy and innovative business development at the service of these socially-responsible startups to help them build a more inclusive and sustainable world.”

Through the NEXUS Impact Accelerator, start-up founders will gain access to powerful networks, a plethora of experience across different industries, a welcoming and diverse culture, and potential opportunities to raise capital. The program will provide founders with a holistic experience, including a structured mentorship plan, coaching, and masterclasses with luminaries and experts. These founders will also have a platform to share their stories with thousands of NEXUS members virtually and in person at the NEXUS Summit.

Past members of the inaugural NEXUS Impact Accelerator program have gone on to achieve great success with their chosen ventures, including Sam Teicher, who recently won Prince William’s Earth Prize for Oceans restoration for his work founding Coral Vita. Other past founders include Marita Cheng, Founder & CEO of Aubot; Felix Böck, Founder & CEO of ChopValue; Katharina Sophia Volz, Founder & CEO of OccamzRazor; Ivelyse Andino, Founder & CEO of Radical Health; Emily Best, Founder & CEO of Seed & Spark; and Blayne Ross, Co-Founder & CEO of ShoreLock.

For more information visit NEXUS Impact Accelerator.

 

About NEXUS
NEXUS
is a global community that brings together next gen philanthropists, impact investors and social innovators from many of the world’s leading business families to educate, inspire and activate tomorrow’s leaders. With over 6000 Members from 70 countries, we work to catalyze new leadership and accelerate needed political, societal, indigenous, financial, environmental, and equal justice solutions. NEXUS has hosted over 40 Summits across six continents to connect the next gen with unique influence, access and resources from diverse backgrounds and link communities that would otherwise never meet.

About H/L Ventures
Hatzimemos/Libby Holdings LLC, (“H/L Ventures“) strives to help mission-driven founders build inspiring, valuable companies from inception to exit. Founded in 2009, H/L Ventures began its history as one of the first modern venture studios, and certainly among the earliest company-building firms focused on start-ups at the nexus of growth, impact, and diversity. H/L Ventures is specifically designed to deliver on Daily Active Engagement with all its portfolio companies, providing an unparalleled ecosystem of resources to entrepreneurs throughout their journey. These resources include a core studio team of more than thirty core staff and Venture Partners, the CityRock Series A fund, a Trusted Partner Network, select managed services, and more. A large majority of H/L Ventures’ studio-backed companies feature diverse founding teams, all of the CityRock fund’s portfolio companies have underrepresented founding CEOs, and 92% of every dollar invested by H/L Ventures has gone to underrepresented founders. In addition, every one of H/L Ventures’ more than thirty portfolio companies has both a strong case for economic performance and also a mission to protect and promote people and the planet.

About BNP Paribas Wealth Management
BNP Paribas Wealth Management is a leading global private bank and the largest private bank in the Eurozone with €411 billion worth of assets under management as at September 2021. Present in three hubs in Europe, Asia and the United States, it employs over 6,800 professionals who support High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth individuals in protecting, growing and passing on their assets. The bank aims at building a sustainable future by combining its deep expertise and reach with its clients’ influence and desire for impact. The bank was recently named Best Private Bank in Europe, in North Asia, in US West and in the Middle East.

 

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

GreenMoney named One of the Most Influential DEI Leaders for 2021

GreenMoney Named One of the Most Influential DEI Leaders for 2021

Mogul logoMogul, Inc., an innovative HR Tech and Executive Recruiting disruptor with a vision to unlock the world’s greatest potential, recently announced final selections for its list of “Top 100 DEI Leaders in 2021.”

The full list of winners, which includes GreenMoney and its founder Cliff Feigenbaum, can be found here.

“At Mogul, we believe it is important to recognize and reward leaders who work to improve the lives of diverse individuals. The Top 100 DEI Leaders in 2021 is our latest effort to shine a light on individuals who are driving positive change within their organizations and communities. We are proud to recognize these remarkable individuals and we look forward to seeing their continued impact in the years to come,” said Tiffany Pham, CEO and founder, Mogul.

According to Pham, Mogul’s Top 100 lists honors those who have demonstrated exceptional DEI leadership and inspire others to greatness.

Selected individuals were determined through weighted scoring, taking into account the development and implementation of new practices, support of DEI practices, and resources for employees, as well as social contributions to raise the bar for industry-wide work standards.

About Mogul – at Mogul, our vision is to unlock the world’s greatest potential. We support diverse individuals and organizations to achieve their goals and cultivate meaningful success, through pioneering technology solutions and inclusive community.

An innovator in the $200 billion global recruitment market, Mogul is a diversity recruitment platform and one of the world’s largest resources for diverse talent. We partner with the Fortune 1000 and the world’s fastest-growing companies to attract and advance top diverse talent — from entry-level to executive and board-level worldwide — through our market-leading software and executive recruitment services. Our long-time clients include hundreds of top companies and Fortune 1000 organizations such as Anheuser-Busch, Bain & Co., The Hershey Company, The Honest Company, Shopify, Stanley Black & Decker, and United Healthcare.

With our rapid growth, Mogul supports, invests in, and provides free resources for the economic advancement of individuals in need globally, through international partners such as the United Nations.

Mogul has been named one of the “100 Most Exciting Startups” by Business Insider, “Best Website for Finding Top Talent” by Inc. magazine, “Top Website for Marketing Your Company” by Forbes, and “Top Online Learning Platform” by Entrepreneur.

With market-leading HR technology, fully diversified recruitment services, and a diverse, inclusive online community of executive and board-level talent, Mogul is innovatively paving the way for diverse professionals and the companies that need them.

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

New CERES Report- Feeding Ourselves Thirsty

New CERES Report: Feeding Ourselves Thirsty

Most food companies are not taking the necessary action to reduce their demands and impacts on freshwater resources, further worsening the global water crisis, according to a new report released recently by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres.

CERES Feeding Ourselves ThirstyThe new report, Feeding Ourselves Thirsty, is a benchmark analysis of 38 food companies, that shows some encouraging signs of progress on corporate water management, but underscores that much more work needs to be done by companies to help ensure sustainable water supplies. The average company received 45 points out of 100 on water management, and the meat industry still lags considerably behind the pack, with meat industry companies scoring an average 18 points. Overall, Ceres’ analysis found companies do not have adequate practices in place across categories of water management, including governance structures, risk assessment, target setting and implementation actions.

Food companies are uniquely vulnerable to the water crisis, as growing and processing food consumes more than 70% of the world’s increasingly strained water resources. Without proper management and disclosure of water-related risks, companies increasingly face market, financial and reputational risks, and lose out on new market opportunities.

“Food companies are lagging in taking the appropriate water action, and are fundamentally unprepared for a more water-stressed world,” said Kirsten James, director of water at Ceres. “As Feeding Ourselves Thirsty shows, companies must move more quickly and more boldly to value water and better manage the related risks in their direct operations and global supply chains. Strong water management and disclosures will ensure the continuity of food production, while improving companies’ long-term profitability and return value to investors.”

The report comes on the heels of new dire predictions from the Intergovernmental  Panel on Climate Change that forecast even more intense water stress than previously predicted, underlining the urgency for companies to do their part to take necessary water stewardship action. Companies have a business imperative to act as the intensifying effects of the climate crisis places an increasingly intense strain on water resources and agricultural productivity, placing the future of the $6 trillion global food sector in jeopardy.

To determine each company’s water management practices, Ceres used voluntary corporate disclosures from CSR and sustainability reports, company responses to CDP water add climate change questionnaires, and mandatory financial disclosures in the analysis. Ceres evaluated food companies in four industries with the highest exposure to water risks: Agricultural Products, Beverages, Meat, and Packaged Foods. These industries include some of the largest U.S.-based and publicly traded companies, as well as a small number of large private and non-U.S. companies.

Agricultural supply chains, which contain the bulk of the food sector’s exposure to water risks, stand out as an area in need of critical improvement. Less than half of the companies analyzed performed robust water risk assessments (inclusive of water quality) that focus on their agricultural supply chains. Highly-stressed areas in these supply chains are not getting the attention they need from companies – only a handful of companies have implemented water use reduction targets or provided support for farmers in high-stress water basins.

This is the fourth edition of Feeding Ourselves Thirsty. Since Ceres began tracking this information in 2015, some companies have shown steady improvement. 71% of companies now consider water risks as part of their major business planning activities and investment decisions, up from 58% in 2019. More than half of companies (53%) tie executive compensation to water and sustainability performance (up from 33% in 2019), and 87% of companies are providing educational support to farmers to encourage adoption of practices that reduce impacts and dependence on water (an increase from 70% in 2019).

The top scoring companies, out of a possible score of 100, by industry were: Coca-Cola with 90 (Beverage); Unilever with 83 (Packaged Food); Cargill with 67 (Agricultural Products); and Tyson Foods with 37 (Meat); Coca-Cola, Anheusier Busch, and Unilever top the list of highest overall scores.

“We are pleased to be this year’s top scoring company,” said Michael Goltzman, Vice President, Global Policy & Sustainability at Coca Cola. “Our 2030 Water Security Strategy focuses on increasing water security for our business, supply chain and in the communities where we operate. Importantly, we prioritize our investments based on an in-depth understanding of water-related risks at a watershed level, contextualizing our targets to address local risks while focusing on the water used to produce our agricultural ingredients.”

The growing scarcity of freshwater resources is not just a material issue for our company; it is a global risk to the economic, social and environmental well-being of our communities,” said Ezgi Barcenas, Chief Sustainability Officer at Anheuser-Busch InBev. “Efforts to increase our water efficiency, which began decades ago, have expanded beyond our walls into measurably improving the health of the watersheds across our supply chain. We appreciate the recognition in this year’s Ceres report as a top scorer and, in the context of the growing climate crisis, we will continue to lead a corporate shift toward measurability and a results-based approach.”

Strong water management and disclosures will not only ensure the continuity of food production, it can improve companies’ long-term profitability and return value to investors. Water risk has become an increasing concern for institutional investors, as water management challenges create volatility in investment portfolios. Feeding Ourselves Thirsty can be used as a guideline for engagement by investor initiatives, such as the Ceres’ Valuing Water Task Force, an advisory council of major investment funds, financial institutions and banks. The Task Force has grown to 13 investors and asset managers with 1.8T assets under management since its launch in March 2020.

“My job as the Illinois State Treasurer is to prudently invest the money entrusted to my office. I also have a responsibility to the long-term fiscal health of our state and local government institutions, which rely on a vibrant and sustainable economy,” said Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, who is a founding member of the Valuing Water Task Force. “I am also committed to the well-being of the communities I represent, including the economic security and dignity of millions of workers. Given the growing threats of climate change to the companies in which we invest, as well as the ways flooding and droughts have impacted Illinois’ agricultural community over the years, I have to consider water as a material risk when upholding my duties. Investors have a direct interest in advancing better water management practices that both protect our investments and the people in our communities.”

In anticipation of COP26, Feeding Ourselves Thirsty shines a light on the crisis of water management as a blind spot in international sustainability governance. The effects of climate change are first felt on the ground through water availability and quality, suggesting a link between climate policies and water policies.

 

About Ceres

Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit https://ceres.org and follow on Twitter @CeresNews

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

Everytable is a Los Angeles based social enterprise providing nutritious, fresh food affordable and accessible to all, including many in food deserts or underserved communities

Praxis Releases its Real Impact 2021 Report

Everytable is a Los Angeles based social enterprise providing nutritious, fresh food affordable and accessible to all, including many in food deserts or underserved communities

Praxis introduces ImpactX framework to help investors better understand the real-world difference their investments can make

Praxis Real Impact 2021 ReportPraxis Mutual Funds®, a leading faith-based, socially responsible family of mutual funds from Everence Financial®, recently released “Praxis Real Impact 2021.” The report seeks to communicate the many ways that Praxis’ unique values-driven approach to sustainable investing, delivered real-world change through a range of impact strategies in calendar year 2020.

The impact report is the second report of its kind for Praxis Mutual Funds and describes the firm’s longstanding commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) integration and impact investing.

This year’s report introduces Praxis’ ImpactX framework: seven strategies that Praxis uses when evaluating potential investments. This framework of distinct impact strategies highlights how investments can support and contribute to the change we want to see in the world.

The seven ImpactX strategies described in the report are:

  • Values + ESG Screening
  • ESG Integration
  • Positive Impact Bonds
  • Company Engagement
  • Advocacy & Education
  • Proxy Voting
  • Community Development Investing

“With sustainable investing only growing in popularity, we know that many investors are wondering how to assess sustainability investments,” said Praxis Mutual Funds President Chad Horning, CFA®. “At Praxis, we believe that focusing on ‘good’ ESG companies to invest in is just the start. As part of our ImpactX approach, our team developed an impact gauge for each strategy to help investors understand which ones deliver the biggest, real-world difference to the planet and its people.”

Report Highlights

  • A look at how the Praxis Impact Bond Fund has been a leader in positive impact bond investing for more than 15 years, with more than 30% of the Fund’s assets being invested in positive impact bonds at the end of 2020
  • A review of Praxis Mutual Funds’ alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the seven ImpactX strategies.
  • A discussion of some of key shareholder advocacy and fixed income engagement initiatives that Praxis has participated in during 2020, on topics including climate change, chemical safety, human rights policy and vaccine access, just to name a few.
  • An update on Praxis’ community development investing with stories highlighting the initiatives that Praxis’ has supported through its partnership with Calvert Impact Capital. For over 20 years, Praxis has channeled about 1% of each mutual fund into “deep social-impact” investments that bring direct benefits to low-income and underserved communities around the world.

Praxis Vice President of Stewardship Investing, Mark Regier said, “For over 25 years, Praxis has been committed to partnering with our clients to integrate faith, values and investing. This report and the stories within serve as an example of how Praxis’ approach to sustainable and faith-based investing focuses on the real-world impact that our investments can make to mitigate climate change, protect human rights and lift up the least among us.”

The full Praxis Real Impact 2021 report can be downloaded for free on the Praxis website.

 

About Praxis Mutual Funds

Founded in 1994, Praxis Mutual Funds is a leading faith-based, socially responsible family of mutual funds designed to help people and groups integrate their finances with their values. Praxis is the mutual fund family of Everence Financial, a comprehensive faith-based financial services organization helping individuals, organizations and congregations. To learn more, visit https://www.praxismutualfunds.com and https://www.everence.com or call 800-348-7468.

Consider the fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before you invest. The fund’s prospectus and summary prospectus contain this and other information. Call 800-977-2947 or visit praxismutualfunds.com for a prospectus, which you should read carefully before you invest. Praxis Mutual Funds are advised by Everence Capital Management and distributed through Foreside Financial Services, LLC, member FINRA. Investment products offered are not FDIC insured, may lose value, and have no bank guarantee.

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

Esther Pan Sloane-Upping the Game of International Climate Finance-Interview by David Garrison-Climate and Capital Media

Esther Pan Sloane: Upping the game of international climate finance

By David Garrison, Climate & Capital Media

A discussion of market gaps in financing, using legacy data sources, and the risk of network biases with Esther Pan Sloane, head of partnerships, policy and communications for the UNCDF.

 

Climate and Capital Media Featured NewsIn this conversation with Climate & Capital’s co-founder, David Garrison, Esther Pan Sloane shares thoughts on these key points, as part of their Climate Leadership Interviews series:

1) The impact of climate is felt systemically. In that light, the problem we’re trying to solve “isn’t only about how energy is generated and distributed in the future; it’s also about how we restructure distribution and society to deliver some of those assets more equitably.”

2) Use the data you already have. “There’s a ton of data that leaders already track, and they may not be thinking about what sustainability elements are attached to existing data.”

3) There are known financing gaps in climate markets that must be addressed. “What I see is a structural problem with the international financial system that money is not flowing through. There just aren’t a lot of active funds there because it’s hard to generate pipeline.”

4) Leaders must develop strong networks. “Unless you deliberately try to expand and diversify your networks, you’re going to end up talking to people who think exactly like you. Even if they don’t look exactly like you, they’ll probably think exactly like you.“

5) Look beyond the leading economies. The work underway by LDCs is important too. “The LDCs are taking action, and there are things we can do to mitigate climate impacts — even if the big players are absent.”

This is an edited transcript.

David Garrison (DG) What’s the burning opportunity in climate change?

Esther Pan Sloane (EPS) – Investing in a clean energy transition. There’s a massive opportunity here to reshape the economy and also, human life.

Consider the way the global economy is structured: The biggest challenges that we see — poverty, migration, hunger — are not challenges because of a lack of resources. People are not poor because there’s not enough money. They’re poor because the distribution of money in the world is vastly unequal. They’re not hungry because there’s not enough food existing in the world. They’re hungry because they’re not able to access the food that there is, while other people are getting far too much food.

This is why the transition to the climate economy is so urgent: This isn’t only about how energy is generated and distributed in the future; it’s also about how we restructure distribution and society to deliver some of those assets more equitably.

DG – We often talk about longer-term outcomes, like an equitable and sustainable economy, but not about the transition itself. Are there actions that are disproportionately important earlier on in the transition?

EPS – It’s a great point: I do think vision is important. But we also have to look at what will get us there. It’s all well and good to have a utopian vision, but what are you doing tomorrow?

There are so many steps we can take as individuals who control resources — even at a micro level — to get to a future we want. And leaders are starting to think about the investments they’re making in people, systems, and structures to make sure they’re ready to take those steps.

We see this in the climate targets that corporations are setting. They’re ambitious — some more ambitious even than the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. AB InBev (which is going to be no-emission by 2025), for example, realized they wouldn’t meet internal SDG targets with existing technology, so they started a venture capital arm to help recycle water, chemicals and bottles.

DG – Governments and corporations consider climate risk as part of their planning or diplomatic processes. The rigor and quality of those discussions vary, whether that’s because of board competence, data quality or something else. Does that concern you?

This is all a little bit Wild Westy. “G” is a new field, and I feel a lot like I did when I was a diplomat and all these Russian experts suddenly became Iraq experts. Demand shifts and supply goes to meet demand.

One place that comes out is in the scramble to find indicators. But there’s a ton of data that leaders already track, and they may not be thinking about what sustainability elements are attached to existing data. So, if you lack data, just start with what you’re already tracking as part of your core business — materially relevant things.

You probably know, for example, how much it costs to clean up your factories and dispose of waste. As Tony Milikin, chief supply chain officer at Keurig Dr. Pepper has said, “Waste is relevant.” If there was something leftover in the manufacturing process that Tony had to pay to have picked up but that he could sell to an organic farmer to use for compost, that’s reducing waste.

Is there a danger that, as large pools of capital enter and chase opportunities, we skew the market in certain directions?

The UNCDF faces this all the time: A focus on additionality and development rationale is critical in market intervention. Because if they’re applied incorrectly, you’ll crush free enterprise and massively distort the market.

Before the recent coup in Myanmar, for example, we supported a microfinance lender there. As they were about to launch their product, a development finance institution came in and gave the competing lender a zero-interest loan. That crushed the market — there was just no ability to compete.

Similarly in climate finance, existing structures get overbought. Some funds just have so much money and are looking for a certain kind of deal that you see outsized demand for things like renewable energy credit. Do those then start to water down impact, so that we wake up to find ourselves buying airspace in Denmark to offset our Tesla and not actually impacting places like Fiji or the Bahamas that are at massive climate risk?

There’s also a risk that we’ll see more bad deals when there’s a lot of liquidity sloshing around. The bar starts to lower, not-as-good deals get funded, and more of those fail. The challenge is that there’s the risk that people look at those and say, “Oh, clean water deals are terrible.”

And, of course, there’s a risk that money ignores all the smaller deals that aren’t as flashy or aren’t as easy but that are more impactful. We already see this happening: Finance in emerging markets tends to go to big entities and large projects that are de-risked by development banks; entrepreneurs looking for less than $5 million can’t borrow money.

There’s tons of impact investor money looking for the $50 million streetcar deal in Senegal. Everybody wants the same thing, but nobody’s willing to put in the time and effort and investment to grow a pipeline with deals that aren’t as beautiful.

DG – So how do you ease the selection process to make smaller investments more interesting to institutional investors?

EPS – The UNCDF’s been wrestling with that for the last forty years. What’s needed is a pipeline to move companies from very-promising-but-no-chance-they’ll-ever-get-funded to being attractive to commercial investors. Without that deliberate support, they’ll never make it.

So, four years ago, we created an in-house investment platform that uses grant money to make loans and guarantees to small businesses, along with a blended-finance fund that takes those small businesses and gives them follow-on finance in the form of debt and equity.

Through this, we’ll do technical assistance grants and concessional loans up to a million dollars. The business pays us back, establishes a credit history, and gets another loan from a local bank. When it needs $1 million to $5 million of debt and equity, we pass them to our blended-finance Build Fund.

They’re still risky at this point — they don’t have a tremendous track record — but they’re looking better than they did when we got them, and investors in mezzanine and senior stakes are getting a start-up in emerging markets that has de-risking protection in the form of grant money in the fund. Once the company pays off that portion, they have a really good track record, and they can go into full commercial finance.

This is an excerpt of their extensive interview. Read the complete interview here.

 

Climate & Capital’s Leadership Interviews is an ongoing series of in-depth discussions with a wide range of leaders in the climate economy. It explores the nuance and tension in leading bold transformations — of individuals, organizations and markets — at the intersection of climate and capital. We hope these conversations give you food for thought and spark conversations as you lead in the climate age. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Interview by David Garrison, co-founder of Climate & Capital, where he guides the business, strategy, and brand as publisher. An advisor to leaders on the most difficult challenges of building meaningful brands, he previously founded the Brytemoore Group, a brand consulting firm focused on bold transformations, and has led teams in markets as diverse as healthcare and music, advertising, and management consulting. David speaks on topics ranging from strategic leadership to organizational empathy and writes a regular column for Climate & Capital that shares insights from conversations with leaders. A Canadian living between Maine, NYC, and Toronto, he has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Twitter: @davidcgarrison

Reprinted with permission from Climate & Capital Media, a strategic partner with GreenMoney Journal.

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

Signup to receive GreenMoney's monthly eJournal

Privacy Policy
Copyright © GreenMoney Journal 2022

Website design & development by BrandNature

Global Events Calendar

View All Events

may

10mayAll Day12Innovation Forum’s Future of Food conference – Virtual

12mayAll Day15EarthX Film Festival – Dallas

13mayAll Day15Bioneers Conference: A Window Through – SF & Virtual

X