Pro-ESG forces rally to confront backlash against corporate accountability, workers rights and risk management. It took awhile, but advocates for the integration of environmental, social and governance factors in investment decisions are mobilizing their allies and their arguments to counter the well-coordinated campaign to demonize ESG. The attorneys general of 16 states and the District of Columbia wrote to congressional leaders last month rebutting the anti-ESG arguments made by 19 other attorneys general in an August letter to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. Coalitions of climate, labor and “stakeholder capitalism” organizations are coordinating their messaging, social media and state-level organizing to quickly respond to rhetorical attacks and legislative proposals to roll back ESG policies and practices at state agencies and pension funds. “Most people are on our side when you describe what ESG is about in plain English,” said Chris Jurgens of Omidyar Network. “It's about companies disclosing and managing their positive and negative impacts on workers, people, planet and communities.”
Sponsored by Mission Investors Exchange
‘We can make do, or we can make noise.’ In the pandemic lockdowns of spring 2020, many Black and Brown businesses owners in Forrest City, Ark. found themselves shut out of federal and state relief programs. “That familiar ‘here we go again’ feeling rose up in me,” Sherece West Scantlebury of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation writes as part of ImpactAlpha’s series with Mission Investors Exchange. The foundation worked with nonprofit leaders in the majority-Black region to launch and seed the Delta Owned loan fund. WRF and other funders have invested $1.3 million in the fund and facilitated a partnership with the Arkansas Small Business Administration to connect Delta businesses to SBA loans and resources. “This is what pursuing economic equity and systems disruption looks like for us,” says West Scantlebury. “As investors for impact and change, we have a choice. We can make do, or we can make noise.”
Dealflow: Inclusive Fintech
Creation Investments closes $270 million fund for financial inclusion in emerging markets. With its fifth fund, Creation will invest in eight to 10 companies in basic banking, insurance services and fintech-enabled affordable housing, education and supply chain finance, mostly in Mexico and India. Since 2007, Chicago-based Creation Investments has focused on deploying private credit and equity to microfinance institutions, small and medium enterprise lenders, banks and other financial services providers in emerging markets. The goal: expand access to financial capital and services for the 1.4 billion unbanked adults in emerging markets, primarily women, Creation’s Patrick Fisher told ImpactAlpha. Creation has local teams in Bangalore and Mexico City.
Impact Voices: Impact Management
For comparability’s sake, let’s really move impact measurement from outputs to outcomes. Designing impact investment performance instruments that actually measure outcomes was never going to be easy. But it is not impossible. “Commonly used measurement tools are doing a reasonable job of measuring outputs,” such as the number of people reached, says Tom Adams of 60 Decibels. Data remains scarce on the depth of impact on individual and household, or ‘outcome’ metrics. “It’s high time this changed,” Adams writes in a guest post.
Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent
Nonprofit Finance Fund namesBrenda Loya of Amalgamated Bank, Kris Putnam-Walkerly of Putnam Consulting Group, Gregory Robinson of Moody’s, and Joe Silver of Submittable to its board… Economist Sebastián Welisiejkojoins New Ventures as a partner… The MacArthur Foundation is recruiting a senior impact investments officer in Chicago… The Equality Fundseeks a vice president of its investment program in Ottawa, Ontario.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures, which supports ImpactAlpha’s Investing in Health coverage. In partnership with J&J Impact Ventures, ImpactAlpha is exploring the …